I finally was able to do the workshop I had planned for the New Year. I was able to do it one week later after recovering from being ill. The practice of compassion is needed more than ever now. Everywhere we turn there is another story of division, hatred, greed, and harm. I had a discussion about this with my teenage kids who are all on the brink of losing faith in humanity as they learn and read about the state of the world today. It is so difficult to restore faith and trust in the teenage mind, which naturally divides into good and bad, to begin with, let alone after they learn of another terrorist killing somewhere.
The bottom line is I told them for as many people that hold hatred in mind there are triple that amount, if not more, that hold compassion and love in mind and deeply wish and want that toward themselves and others and in the world. It does come down to what we want to see, what we want life to look like and be like. That is where intention comes in. The Buddha taught that before action comes thought, before thought comes intention. What do you want to manifest? If it is peace and love than we are responsible for watching the thoughts we hold. Do they follow this path? Are you manifesting peace and love and self-compassion for yourself? If we live in self-harming thoughts and/or behaviors you can bet that eventually those thoughts and behaviors will find their way out and about into the world. Eventually they will influence how we act.
Compassion is quite the opposite energy. It is the holder, the mover, and the action-former. When we hold compassion toward ourselves, we allow for our human nature, our foibles, and our fears. Because we allow for them, we are able to face them, look them straight on and intend for something better. Intention and compassion go together. I call self-compassion the “re-set” button. It is the thing that allows you a “do-over.” You have a human right to fall. You also have the right to get back up and start over, and let go of what once was.
This week the embodied practice is Metta. Metta means love in Pali. It is a meditation that engages you in the repetitive words of care, compassion and love. It holds the intention that with continued practice, and with the intention of kindness that overtime that is exactly what will grow. Metta should be practiced daily. The full practice takes approximately 20 minutes. If you can only do one portion than do that. As always, some is better than none.
Words of Metta:
(repeat each set of phrases 5x for each category)
Begin with offering the words to yourself:
May I be safe, protected
May I be healthy and strong
May I find may way through life’s suffering
May I live in peace and ease
Call to mind a teacher, mentor, someone who has influenced you. Repeat the words holding him/her in mind.
Call to mind someone you love. This can be animal friends as well as people. Repeat the words holding him/her/them in mind.
Call to mind someone neutral, someone you do not know very well. Repeat the words holding this person in mind.
Call to mind someone who annoys, angers, triggers you. Even with the most difficult of emotions see if you can offer out the words of kindness to him/her.
May you also…
The last category is all living beings. Include in this our environment, our earth, our universe. All that is seen and unseen knowing that we are all connected.
May all beings…
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE IN PEACE AND EASE