A prayer for peace, within and without

I want to share this metta meditation, today, because “praying” these words does not ask you to believe in anything, nor does it ask you to give up your personal beliefs. You don’t have to be practiced at prayer. It doesn’t matter, either, if the word “prayer” triggers a strong reaction or aversion.

We can simply utter these words.

And if we all utter them, at the same time, there is a growing body of science that suggests, they will have some kind of effect. Is this effect simply inwards – calming my own nervous system? Is the effect also outwards – generating some kind of energetic wave that can amplify when it’s met by a similar energetic wave, building momentum, a growing swell of genuine love and concern?

Take a deep breath, or two or ten – however many it takes to settle yourself into your body a little.

Then, say:

“May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”

As many times as you want.

Art by Molly Costello

Then offer the same desire for lovingkindness outwards – name someone you love, name someone you know, name someone you appreciate, name someone currently driving you crazy… Swap “you” for as many people as you’d like to send a lovingkindness lovebomb to.

“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”

Extend it everywhere to everyone and everything.

“May all beings be happy. May all beings be well. May all beings be safe. May all beings be peaceful and at ease.”

I long to stand with my community on this day, with my kid leaning his back against me and my partner by my side, keeping each other warm against the chill. I love the feeling of solidarity and connection and wonder I always feel when we manage to put aside all our differences, and come together – not with an agenda to push – all with different reasons and motivations – and with this palpable open-heartedness, willingness to play a part, to be one among many, to be guided by a song, a ceremony. It always makes me cry. I will miss this today. And I will offer my words as a kind of prayer, for your peace, your wellbeing, your ease, in these strange and challenging days…

Art by Molly Costello

Art by Molly Costello.

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