"Gathas are short verses that you can recite during the day to help you attend to the present moment. In Buddhist literature, gatha is sometimes used to mean a verse from the sutras (Buddhist scripture), but it also refers to little poems that can be used to encourage mindfulness. Some gathas are found in Zen and some belong to Buddhism generally.
"Unlike a mantra, which is the same for all occasions, we can have specific gathas for specific activities. I've designed the original gathas in this book to focus on the activities and concerns of modern everyday life. Gathas help you stop for a few moments and check in with your body, mind, action and intention. In this way, you can weave a meditative rhythm and sensibility into your daily routine, no matter how busy it might be. . . .
"Gathas focus on the small everyday things of life and express how all beings and things are interconnected. The gatha form can become a very meaningful way for you to reconnect, to feel an interconnectedness in any situation. We spend our lives individuating, separating making me, you, separate and distinct. . . .
"A gatha is not a mantra to be memorized and repeated. A gatha should be held, like a precious baby, and cuddled. If used judiciously and mindfully, a gatha can offer you great energy and power. A gatha can heal and soothe. Most of all, they are reminders on the path. They are mini meditations."
Here are three examples:
Opening the Curtains
"I open the curtains to a new day. I look upon this morning as a rebirth and understand that only this one day exists."
A Stop Sign
"When I see a red light or a stop sign, I smile at it and thank it. I see it as a friend, helping me to resist rushing. The sign says: Stop, Return to the Present Moment. May I meet the present moment with joy and peace. I breathe and smile."
Entering a Room
"Entering this room, I see the present moment. I bow to the room and breathe. I vow to enter with calmness and awareness."