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Overview of the Mantras


The mantras offered here will be immediately recognized and their functions are obvious. However, there are alternative formulations in all cases, and some of these are provided. (If you have other favourite phrases, then propose them.)

The mantras can be divided into two groups based on an oscillation related to triggers and to temporal perspective:

Impersonal Spheres

Accept Reality-R"G26

The mantra's function is to insist on the value of whatever is given or unchangeable in a situation, even if you do not like it or it does not suit you. The reality to be accepted may be anything: intrapersonal, interpersonal, social, physical or a mix. Other versions:  ●It is what it is. ●If you are in a hole, stop digging.Accept the unacceptable. ●Resign yourself to the inevitable. ●Cut your coat according to your cloth. ●Make the best of things.
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Use the mantra and strength comes surging into you as you abandon hopeless efforts that can only lead to failure and self-exhaustion. Your egotistical urges weaken you when they drive you to view reality in terms of your own desires, fears, hopes, fantasies and preferences. It is easy to forget that reality doesn't care what you want!

Note that even if current reality seems to be as I prefer, it is impossible to know that this is objectively beneficial for me. As the example below shows, it is not possible to evaluate reality in terms of its goodness.
ClosedExample: Is it Good? Is it Bad?

The temporal orientation is to the present because, as the example illustrates, what the future will bring in psychosocial terms is unknown and intrinsically unknowable.

Stay the Course-R"G25

The mantra's function is to bind yourself by a self-imposed commitment that is sustained despite adverse events. Related forms of this mantra include:  ●Keep promises. ●Stick to your guns. ●Don't be seduced off your positionBe a man of your word. ●See it through.
The promise (or equivalent device) seems to have been developed to bring divine authority to bear so as to bolster self-control further.
There are so many terms similar to «promise»:Closed●oath, ●vow, ●bond, ●avowal, ●contract, ●compact, ●pact, ●pledge, ●word of honour, ●covenant, ●guarantee, ●warranty, ●declaration, ●undertaking.
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Staying the course may apply to commitments to another (e.g. marriage vows, a service contract) or to yourself (e.g. to face a challenge, to further your cause) or to an impersonal entity like a firm, the Church or God (e.g. a vow of celibacy). 

Use the mantra and strength will return to your commitments despite changes in the situation i.e. the mantra exists to handle pressures of unexpected events. The events are typically experienced as posing a threat to your well-being, causing losses or costs that are emotional &/or material. Your anxiety may rise to panic levels until all you want to do is to escape the original declaration. However, if events easily knock you off course, you will lose out over time, and others will perceive you as unreliable.

Note this does not proscribe review and reconsideration of choices: just the reverse. The mantra is not opposed to rationality: it exists to prevent you abandoning a position egotistically, due to emotion, herding pressures or selfish desires.
ClosedExample: The Stock-Market 

The temporal orientation is self-evidently to the future, in the full knowledge that what will happen is uncertain and never totally under personal control.

Interpersonal Spheres

Be of Service-R"G24

The mantra's function is to enhance social relationships by meeting specific personal needs when attending to someone, typically beyond what might be conventionally expected as routine in a relationship. Other versions:  ●Take care. ●Perform beyond the call of duty.Put yourself out for others. ●Offer what money cannot buy.
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Use the mantra and strength will be infused into your relationships. Focusing on another in detail at a particular moment means removing attention from my own needs. The mantra exists to handle my reflex egocentricity and frees me to apply my limited energies to another's cause.

The temporal orientation is to the present because the service must commence in some form when the need is perceived.

Give an Account-R"G23

The function is to share an understanding of a situation so as to help. This mantra also occurs in various forms according to the context: e.g. ●offer advice, ●bear witness, ●be answerable.
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Use the mantra and strength will emerge as you handle social developments. The mantra exists for handling events where it is known that I have past experience or have participated in some way, even simply being present by chance. In any case, it means that I have relevant knowledge useful to another. However, telling the story to be helpful is not simple, because a listener must be capable of assimilating what I have to say. So there is always a pressure of acceptability in regard to both the style and content.

Attention to the helpfulness-RL"4 component can reduce ego-based intrusions like: inflating my value, avoiding blame, promoting biases and preferences, and taking advantage of another's vulnerability.

The temporal orientation is to the future because, even though the matter concerns a past or current event, the primary issue is how the account will affect what others think or do going forward. There is also the issue of whether what I say might rebound on me at some point.

Intrapersonal Spheres

Reach the Truth-R"G22

The function is to have sufficient confidence in what you know, whenever and wherever it matters. A longer version: ●Get to the bottom of something.
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Use the mantra and strength will develop. You will start to become dissatisfied with half-truths, with self-deceiving excuses, with explanations that are little more than superstition, with hidden assumptions, with conventional wisdom, or with gossip. While there can be never be a guarantee that the truth is indeed obtained, in many cases the conclusions are sufficiently convincing, useful, and relevant that you are willing to believe. That is all that is necessary. The mantra exists to handle egocentric tendencies due to knowledge that has a disturbing or painful quality for oneself or others, and a corresponding urge to conceal, deny or avoid knowing. It is dangerous if your truth generates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The temporal orientation is to the present because the requirement for truth always exists in the now, even if the truth may change over time or have implications in the future.

Do What You Love-R"G21

The function is to obtain a deep and intense gratification from personal activities. Popular current versions include: ●Find your passion. ●Love your work.
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Use the mantra and strength will develop. You will start looking differently at how you spend your time and work possibilities. Your interests and talents will come to the forefront of your mind. You will start to explore and read. You will be willing to try things out, and to practice so as to get better at what you do. You might like to teach. You will be able to tolerate effort, frustrations, boring aspects and the discomfort intrinsic to most activities. The mantra exists to handle situations, especially in your work or domestic life, where you become demoralized, where you feel dominated and exploited, or find yourself in a rat race for social approval and status.

The temporal orientation is to the future because the process requires time, and the benefit only comes following successful engagement with an activity.

ClosedSummary Table

The primary stressor is shown in wine to emphasize the oscillation.

Originally posted: 13-Apr-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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