Tag Archives: metta

mothers day blessings

woman drinking ginblessed is the mother who gave up her daughter for adoption.

blessed is the mother who chooses daily between cocaine and breastfeeding.

blessed is the mother who drags herself to an abortion clinic.

blessed is the mother who is mortified with guilt over having beaten her sons.

blessed is the mother who can’t give up smoking.

blessed is the mother who makes more kraft dinner than broccoli.

blessed is the mother who works two jobs.

blessed is the mother who works in the sex trade.

blessed is the mother who can’t pay the rent.

blessed is the mother who died while driving drunk.

blessed is the mother who is afraid to leave her abusive husband.

blessed is the mother who has disowned her parents.

blessed is the mother who soothes her pain with valium.

blessed is the mother whose only babysitter is the TV.

blessed is the mother who hears voices.

blessed is the mother who is fighting anorexia.

blessed is the mother who is afraid she’ll abuse her daughters the way she was abused.

blessed is the mother who yells too much.

blessed is the imperfect, suffering, bewildered, overwhelmed, underpaid, lonely mother.

may she be happy, may she be peaceful, may she be healthy, may she be free.

 

image by zoe

thanksgiving, peace, metta

no more war“may there be peace” – what a strange and faraway thing to say about mumbai in the middle of this destructive chaos. and yet. may there be peace.

may there be peace in iraq. peace like i have among my friends, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in the congo. peace like we have in our family, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in afghanistan. peace like we have here in canada, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in thailand. peace like i have at work, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for all those frightened by the current economic upheavals. peace like the peace i have in prayer and meditation, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my neighbours who are going through divorce. peace like i have in my loving household, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my clients restless with worry whether they will find a job. peace like i have in the walks through this beautiful city, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my writer friends, who are using words to dig themselves out of desperation. peace like i am given by watching our beautiful cat, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for everyone, right now, this moment, who is pacing the floor agitated by mental illness. peace like i get from many good nights’ sleep, peace i am grateful for.

may the blessings of peace that have been given to me so abundantly flow over, into the nooks and crannies of my neighbourhood, onto the city, the continent, may they join with everyone else’s overflowing blessings and touch the world.

may our friends and enemies, all humans and animals, all created beings, may we all have peace, freedom, health and happiness.

the image of the hiroshima peace memorial park comes from hira3

loving kindness for our unknown neighbours

our meditation meetup meeting on wednesday was at the buddhist peace fellowship here in vancouver. a great big thanks to my friend jennifer for arranging this!

at the end, we did a bit of metta practice. metta is a buddhist loving kindness practice directed literally at everyone in this world, starting with oneself.

i was astonished and pleased to hear that something similar to what i have been practicing on and off was also recommended there as metta practice. you see, part of the magic of metta is that one extends good will to people one does not really know. however, there can be a bit of a difficulty with this because opening one’s heart to someone who you don’t know can feel a little flat and academic.

so here’s something that i’ve been doing that helps to overcome that. i usually do it at the end of the day. i go through my day and look for feelings, events and thoughts that catch my attention. the other day i was riveted by an image of chocolate, for example! today i am thinking of the people in gaza whose power has been cut off. and a little while ago i was browsing through some research on shyness, so that’s been on my mind a bit.

chocolate, gaza, shyness: things that have held my attention today, things that are emotionally charged for me today.

for metta, then, i might do something like this:

i might imagine someone in my neighbourhood who is struggling with chocolate addiction. i conjure up an image. perhaps a woman sitting in the kitchen, the table littered with chocolate bar wrappers.

may this neighbour of mine who is struggling with her food addiction be healthy, happy, peaceful and free.

then i think, there’s probably someone not too far from here who has relatives in the gaza strip. they must be worried. i imagine them sitting in front of the TV, sighing.

may this brother of mine who is worried about his relatives, may he and his relatives be happy, healthy, peaceful and free.

i can also imagine that someone not too far from here, probably even somewhere in my block, is painfully shy. i imagine that person – you know what, i’ll even give her a name: cindy – sitting in front of her computer, surfing the net, trying to distract herself from the terrifying thought of the meeting she has to attend tomorrow.

may cindy be happy, healthy, peaceful and free.

prayer

there’s a new web site, prayer 2.0, with an interesting discussion regarding different ideas about prayer. my reply turned out to be quite long so i figured i’d simply post it here. one contributor said this, among other things:

in my mind, “pray” is something you do when you don’t want to do anything yourself. it is a way of unshouldering responsibilities …

another problem with prayer is that it is not about conversation: prayer is one way. it is an odd sort of monologue, in that it is subservient, but it is still soliloquy. it has none of the back and forth that characterize reason.

here are my thoughts:

prayer, as it is conceived in various traditions, is very multifaceted. at its most basic level, it is engagement with a benevolent other-than-ego, non-corporeal other. (how’s that for theological mumbo-jumbo? i hope the next words will shed a bit of light).

what form that engagement takes and who that other-than-ego is – well, that’s an interesting question.

let’s take two extremes. feeding monkeys on your birthday to ensure prosperity is a form of prayer: “hey big power, i need/want more money, i’m doing what your priests have told me, so let’s make it happen!”

on the other extreme, there is work as prayer and the buddhist metta or loving-kindness meditation, in which we ask, among other things, for good things to happen to our adversaries.

in the first instance, we have a desire for something that is not essential, and we try to persuade whatever forces “out there” to get it for us. that would come close to what you described as shirking responsibility.

mother teresa saw her work as prayer. few people would call that unshouldering responsibility.

whether there is a god or not, prayer focuses. for example, when i make an effort to ask for good things for my enemy, next time i meet that person, i will be more inclined to act kindly towards that person.

deep prayer is often more like a conversation. it is engagement with god – whatever/whoever god is/stands for. and there is absolutely nothing that says that prayer has to be without reason. i think that’s a misconception by people who are under the mistaken assumption that god is only the the very limited god that is being talked about in some christian churches.

but god, or the concept of god, is much, much bigger than that. he/she/it/they ranges/range from the very human gods as, for example, envisioned by the hindu gods, to the immanent human goodness envisioned by some unitarian universalists – and anything in between. i don’t think it’s useful to judge spiritual practices only by what happens in one form of practice of one religion.

(this post can be found on the carnival of life, happiness and meaning)