“The word mantra comes from the Sanskrit language of India, which is used in many Buddhist texts. 'Man' translates as 'mind.' 'Tra' translates as 'vehicle.' Thus, a mantra is a vehicle for the mind, another option to use as an object of meditation.

“In mantra practice, you repeat a word or phrase either silently or out loud in a rhythmic fashion. Use simple, clear phrases that are easy to remember.

“My favorites include: 'here now,' 'tall strong,' and 'no skunks.' I mean, who knows? Maybe it will ward off skunks [when I'm running].

“I also use a mantra I learned at a Shinzen retreat: om mani padme hum. It translates to ‘Hail the jewel in the lotus,’ and comes from an ancient Buddhist text. That’s lovely, but I chant it because it reminds me of pleasant time spent with other meditators.

“If you play golf, silently chant a mantra while you’re waiting on the slow foursome ahead of you. When I run, I time the mantra with my steps or my breath. In tennis, silently exhale a word while you serve. Or shout it. What the heck!

“Mantra practice builds concentration and cultivates healthy mind states.”