Tibetan Buddhist nun Ani Trime Lhamo was always a gruff, plain-spoken West Virginian with the world’s biggest heart. For the better part of four decades, she practiced Buddhist meditation, encountering many of the tradition’s rich teachings on wisdom and compassion. She found them life-changing and thought they should be accessible to everyone — so she made it her life’s work to share them with people in an ordinary, everyday way.
You can plant different seeds in your mind and see what grows.
Among all of the Buddha’s teachings, the one Ani Trime loved best is “With our thoughts we make our world.” When you wake up on a gray morning with a full agenda and dread the day, you generally get a dreadful day. But you can train your mind; you can learn to see what you’re thinking and cultivate ways of thinking that are healing, positive, and helpful to you and to others. You can plant different seeds in your mind and see what grows. In fact, that’s she called our meditation group “The Garden Club.”
Ani Trime developed a series of simple, straightforward affirmations to teach people to plant different seeds — a “toolkit” for cultivating a freer, healthier, more open mind. Over the years, she refined the affirmations working hard to make them practical and clear.
A few months before her death in 2016 at the age of 88, Ani Trime set out to preserve these affirmations. She wanted to offer one affirmation to work with each week in the year, a tool to tend the mind’s garden. Although she couldn’t complete her book of affirmations, those of us who knew and loved her did, and we continue to use it in meditation. Now, thanks to a group of talented artists gathered by Marzena Torzecka, an illustrated edition of Trime’s 52 affirmations is available to everyone: Ani Trime’s Little Book of Affirmations.
To work with these affirmations, begin by sitting in meditation for 5 to 10 minutes. Then bring the affirmation to mind. Say the first part of the affirmation in your mind as you breathe in; and say the second part of the affirmation as you breathe out.
As you say the affirmation, you might let yourself connect it to some situation in your life, but resist the urge to analyze it much. Instead, just stay with the affirmation and let it ease your way through whatever comes up.
After you have done a number of breaths — 7, 10, 21, whatever you like — let that effort go and return to silent meditation for a few moments. Notice what your mind and heart feel like. If you find a particular affirmation useful, you might like to repeat it at various points during the day, to keep it fresh.
—Beverly Sanford, Princeton Buddhist Meditation Group
1. As everything changes, I remain at ease.
2. I am willing to let go of any thoughts of negativity.
3. In this moment I can be open, spacious, and kind.
4. I love and approve of myself; I am at peace with myself.
5. In this moment I choose not to create suffering.
6. I am willing to see that everyone seeks happiness.
7. I plant the seed of joy in the world.
8. I am willing to be present just in this moment.
9. When I open my heart, my mind is free.
10. I move forward with confidence; all is well in my life.
The article above has been excerpted from Ani Trime’s Little Book of Affirmations by Ani Trime, © 2019. Published by arrangement with Storey Publishing.