These three simple words have changed my life dramatically. I first came across this straightforward mantra: “I have arrived” in a novel by Paulo Coelho. In this compelling text, he discusses using it daily as a reminder that each of us, in each moment of our day, is exactly where we belong. “Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to the goal. The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive. Repeat that to yourself every morning: ‘I’ve arrived.’” (The Witch of Portobello). I followed this suggestion and now use it as a tool at the end of my morning prayers-reflection-meditation. I pause, take a deep breath, open up my arms to the world, palms up and say, “I’ve Arrived!” I say it with gusto. I say it with conviction.
I didn’t begin this practice feeling overly confident about these three words. Could they really make that much of a difference? But, at the same time, I realized that it couldn’t harm anything by trying. Now, after some 40 odd days of this daily practice, I can see that it has clearly made a difference. It is a
not so subtle reminder that my only “job” is to be fully present in each moment. We’ve all heard this before, in one form or another. But it’s an abstract concept, one that’s difficult to grasp in the rush of everyday living. They are words that can easily be said, but are not often truly felt. I have now crossed this barrier and in doing so, have developed a deep desire to share this technique with others. I encourage you to try it, even if you feel silly or cynical. What do you have to lose by giving it a go?
The concept behind the mantra “I’ve arrived” is a deceptively simple one. By stating these words, you bring yourself, mind, body and spirit back to the present. It’s almost impossible not to. In the beginning, it may only be for that one moment after the words leave your lips. But after repetition, those moments become minutes and then hours, until this thought fills your days. I now find myself walking through life with an inner smile; I feel like I have my own little secret. And when I find my mind drifting into the future (which it naturally will do) I remind myself to repeat the mantra, “I have arrived.” I think there is a key in repetition; in not changing the words or the format, always repeating the same mantra until it becomes your own calling card.
As I was sharing my “revelation” with a friend, she said she was familiar with this practice, but from a different source: Thich Nhat Hanh. I researched this and discovered he takes this process a little deeper and incorporates it into the daily activity of walking. He speaks of walking meditation as a way to connect body and soul with the here and now. Through intentional, mindful walking, “We generate peace within our body, our consciousness. We embrace and heal the pain, the sorrow, the fear in us, and that is the ground for helping peace to be a reality in the world.” He takes two natural processes; walking and breathing and adds a third element, the mindful mantra. His suggestion is to measure your breaths to your gait, pacing as such; breathe in, take three steps; breathe out, take three steps. As you get the rhythm going, add these two mantras: on the inhale: “I… Have… Arrived.” And on exhale: “I… Am… Home.” But what does this all mean you may be wondering. By saying “I’ve arrived,” you are reminding yourself that you have arrived in the here and now, the only time where life is fully available to you, which is you one true home. I like to think of it as bring my soul home. And whenever I think of the word “home”, I think of solace, peace, comfort, and love. This is the gift you are giving yourself.
This practice, in just over one month, has helped me with my fears and anxiety with my physical pain and mental burdens. If I have already arrived, then I have nothing to worry about! The future doesn’t matter, as long as with each step, or each breath I take on this earth, I arrive. I am naturally going in the direction I am meant to be. I am keeping my focus and attention ”where my feet are.” And my feet are always right there, in my present space and time. The Buddha said, “the past is already gone and the future is not yet here.” Thich Nhat Hanh likes to remind us that we have an appointment to keep with our life and that appointment takes place in the present. When we separate ourselves from the present, by either dwelling in the past or projecting into the future, we create a space (a chasm, really) between ourselves and the here and now. This “space” fills up with fear, pain, anger, grieving, and despair. But when we bring ourselves back, to live fully in the now, we fill up that space with peace.
“I have arrived. I am home.”
As these words become practice, you may want to add more lines to the mantra, just one line at a time. There is no hurry. We’ve all spent many years far away from “home,” now that you’ve arrived and come back to your Soul Home, there is no rush. Time is endless.
“I have arrived. I am home.
In the here. In the now.
I am solid. I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh