A friend reached out this a.m. after reading St Therese’s prayer. She has lost both her parents in the last few months. We chatted a bit about grief and asking for strength. She commented she wasn’t sure who she was talking to in her head, but that traditional beliefs did not have a presence in her life right now.
Completely understandable, we don’t feel very spirited in the wilderness.
It got me to thinking…
Faith. Does it matter what you are having faith in, or just that you are choosing to believe?
And which feels better right now– to project hope into a future positive possibility or to fear the worst?
Faith is seeing possibilities, not just problems. (What is a problem solver anyway? I think it’s just someone that believes in possible solutions.)
“The practice of mindfulness, of meditation, consists of coming back to ourselves to restore peace and harmony. The energy that enables us to do this is mindfulness, and energy that also carries with it concentration, understanding and love. If we come back to ourselves to restore peace and harmony, then it will be much easier to help the other person and restore communication in our relationships.
Caring for yourself, re-establishing peace in yourself, is the basic condition for helping someone else. You can help another person stop bringing suffering on himself and others. Once you know how to defuse the bomb in yourself, you will know how to help the friend defuse the bomb in herself. ”
~ THICH NHAT HANH
the way of metta
I love how the metta meditation starts with ourselves. Why is it in today’s society we feel guilty nurturing ourselves? Seems to me putting ourselves last is as bad as putting ourselves first. Like most things- balance is best. That means unashamedly putting our own oxygen mask on first — knowing, intellectually, that if we are unconscious, we will not be able to help those around us.
In Ayurveda there is a notion of ojas, the vital essences we take in- nutritionally, spiritually, environmentally- in order to fuel our lives. “We are what we eat” – we have choices to make- and with that comes a responsibility to take good care. Start with yourself; it’s the “Way of Metta!”
A Metta Meditation:
First for you, then for a neutral person, then someone you love, ultimately out to someone you don’t care for/the greater good.
‘Healthy’ and ‘happy’ may seem strange and even slightly tone deaf to include as we pray for those in distress Here’s the thinking, simplified- “free of physical suffering” is often translated as healthy. And “free of mental suffering” is often translated as being happy. Cured of the external influence is not as much the intention as freedom from internalized pain and suffering.
I like to repeat it nine times for each person, often done while walking and conversationally to however-you-name-your-higher power: God, Spirit, the Universe, your Self, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna…or the whole varsity team!
May I be Happy,
May I be Healthy,
May I be Holy,
May I be Safe,
May I Be Peaceful and at Ease.
May They be Happy,
May They be Healthy,
May They be Holy,
May They be Safe,
May They Be Peaceful and at Ease.
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