This weekend I attended a weekend retreat with Rami Shapiro, a Jewish Rabbi from Tennessee (is that possible?) focusing on the art of Loving-Kindness. Having grown up Catholic, I relate my church experience with fear and guilt. Because of this, I tend to stay away from religious figures, but I suspected Rami would be different because I was assigned to read his book, “The Way of Solomon”, when I was going through a two year spiritual training with my teacher Matthew. The book is non-denominational, it speaks of Truth, not as a God separate from us, but that we are all a manifestation of Life/Spirit/Source (whatever you want to call it).
I was hooked from the moment he started speaking! He had us laughing about our beliefs, himself and his beliefs, and challenged us to questions what we believe. It was so refreshing and fun to be a part of his audience. He then went on to explain his belief that we are in an age of a world wide transformation of consciousness. He says that it is happening because the world is experiencing great stress, and is crying to come back into balance.
Whether you believe this or not, living from consciousness or awareness creates a life of peace and happiness, instead of fear and reactivity. I’m speaking from personal experience here, and still do my share of suffering, but it is minute compared to what it used to be, and I live from a more consistently happy place.
Part of what has made this possible is getting out of my head believing that life is happening “to me”, that I’m a victim, and the only one that suffers. When I learned how to feel for others through compassion (this is not pity, which implies that what someone is going through is wrong), my life view changed. And through developing compassion for others, I developed it for myself as well. Rami explored this topic through meditation, chanting, and dancing; the actual “doing” of compassion instead of it just being on the cognitive level.
In my own practice, I say a loving-kindness prayer every day. I’m not saying this to boast, but to express how affective this is in seeing the world as interconnected vs. being separate, or us vs. them. You do not need to go to church to do this, or drop your life and go live on a commune. It is available every day, whether it’s while you are brushing your teeth, driving your car, or taking 5 min. in your day to connect within.
Try this loving-kindness contemplation and experience the joy of knowing you are an important part of a bigger source called Life. Know that we are all connected through our hearts, minds, energy, feelings and life itself.
May I be open to all of life’s challenges
May I be free from suffering
May I be blessed with Joy
May I be blessed with Peace
May my parents be….
May my friends be
May my community be….
May my enemies be….
May all beings be….
You can put in whatever words resonate for you in this contemplation such as love, happiness, clarity, awaken, etc. There is no “wrong” way to do this. There is so much power in making this a part of your day. If you believe you don’t have time now, when will you?
Categories: Heart Centered Living