February 22, 2013 | 3:36 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Due to stress, I can’t fall asleep. I don’t want to use Ambien, Melatonin, or alcohol to put me out. I’m counting on a mantra.
Repeating a mantra is a helpful way to gain inner peace. I use a mantra when running up a challenging hill in the neighborhood. Battling exhaustion I repeat to myself, “Los, Los Feliz. Los, Los Feliz. Los, Los Feliz.”
I repeat this over and over again until conquering the hill. It’s also helpful other times. I whistle the mantra on the way to Coffee Bean. I try to stay loyal to this mantra, but occasionally during sex I repeat “Go, Go, Go.” When that doesn’t work I revert back to “Los, Los Feliz. Los, Los Feliz.”
Strangely, my Los Feliz mantra does not work for sleep even though I sleep in Los Feliz. Not knowing where to turn I asked my father for advice who imparted the following nugget: “Whenever you want to stop thinking say to yourself ‘STOP THOUGHT’.”
“STOP THOUGHT” works if you have only one thought. I have too many thoughts to stop. Once one thought is stopped another appears.
I told him, “STOP THOUGHT” doesn’t work. I could sense his disappointment.
“Turn off the TV before bed. Don’t play on your cell phone. Don’t eat before bed.” He advised.
That eliminates my entire pre-bedtime routine. I need a mantra that is more forgiving.
I was up late thinking about work. I heard rumblings that my job would change. I considered every scenario and how my new role would impact my day to day. I visualized my outlook calendar and thought about how I could better delete my junk mail. “STOP THOUGHT” I shouted in my head, to no avail. With nowhere else to turn I tossed and turned, pulling half the sheets away from my girlfriend.
“MIND CLEAR!” I demanded.
More thoughts entered my mind. Why can’t I sleep? I’ve been doing this for 28 years. Shouldn’t I have this down?
“MIND CLEAR!” I demanded again. Because all my thoughts were focused elsewhere I didn’t quite realize what had happened. It struck me. I developed a new mantra. It didn’t work, but I was that much closer.
I asked my mom if she ever used a mantra. “I have one,” she said.
I was relieved to hear. “Great.” I said. “What is it?”
“I’m not telling. It’s personal.”
Even my own mother doesn’t care if I sleep at night. I don’t need her mantra, whatever it is. I’m guessing “QUINOA. ”It’s only a matter of time before “MIND CLEAR” works. When it does it would be great if this mantra could remove other things I don’t like student loans and Chris Brown.
Taking a hot bath at night and cutting out pretzels in bed is helping. There is no need to think about work in bed. I'm there 40 hours a week. I don't need to be there another 40. I will find a mantra. I'll let you know when I do.
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