"The best way to develop a mind-training slogan is to work with it initially on your meditation cushion. The technique is simple enough: sitting calmly with breath and body awareness, simply repeat the slogan silently to yourself again and again, reflect lightly on it, breathe it in with the inhale, out with the exhale. The point is not to sit and think about the slogan as much as to develop it as an almost physical object, a feeling in your belly or heart. Doing this repeatedly will fix it in your mind at a level deeper than is possible with ordinary distracted thinking.
"After this initial fixing of the slogan in the mind, you can think about it more, journal about it, talk about it with friends, write it down, repeat it to yourself — maybe when you are walking or driving, or any time you remember to do it — committing yourself to holding it in your mind during the day as often as you can. You can post it on your refrigerator, float it across your computer screen. When you suddenly notice you have forgotten it and your mind is muffled with anxiety or worried rumination, use the very moment of forgetting as a cue to remembering rather than as a chance for self-judgment. This is, after all, mind training. Of course you are going to forget! But noticing that you forgot is already remembering. Mind training requires commitment, repetition, and lots of patience.
"If you practice with a slogan in this way, soon it will pop into your mind unbidden at various times during the day. Hundreds of times a day instances will arise that seem germane to the slogan you are working with. In this way, you can practice a slogan until it becomes part of your mind — your own thought, a theme for daily living.
"Which slogan to practice with and how long to stay with any one slogan? Be serious, attentive, and flexible. It is most important to keep the practice lively — disciplined but lively. Approaching the slogans systematically and in the order given in the book may not always serve. Read the book sequentially, but rather than dutifully beginning to practice with the slogans in order, it may be best to pick a slogan that jumps out at you for some reason, one that seems particularly relevant for the conditions of your life right now, even if you don't know exactly why. And once you find a slogan you want to work with, stay with it for a while — weeks, months, even years. You will find staying with one slogan over time surprising: the meaning and flavor of the slogan will change as events of your life develop, as time advances and the seasons change. It may yield a surprising variety of insights. So it is sometimes good to stay with a slogan even when you feel restless and want to move on. On the other hand, staying with one slogan too long, and too doggedly, will be counterproductive and discouraging. Especially when another slogan calls out to you. A few weeks may in most cases be enough, unless you are inspired to go on longer. And, of course, it is perfectly okay, and recommended, to come back to a slogan you've already worked on. It will certainly yield new insights the second, third, or fourth time around.
"Working with phrases is an ancient technique for mind training in almost all literate cultures. In serious Jewish, Muslim, and Christian practice, as well as many versions of Buddhism, texts are chanted daily. They are also studied, memorized, and used as sacred instruction to shape and illuminate conduct and thought. Understood as the word of God (or Buddha), such texts are not to be taken lightly or at face value. There is always more meaning than meets the eye. With this spirit, a line from a prayer or psalm can become a slogan either intentionally or spontaneously, a living treasure for the practitioner, as if the words were a gift for you alone. In early Buddhism the many lists of positive and negative qualities to be developed or abandoned were memorized and used for repetitive practice, and in Zen there is the technique of meditating on a koan, a brief Zen story, that is often, for practice purposes, reduced to a phrase or two. Although the IndoTibetan practice of slogans is perhaps more psychological and intentional than these and other practices, it is in its essentials quite similar."