Archive for March, 2009

Discourse on Good Will

Friday, March 27th, 2009

To all those who participate in supporting the healing process for others, thank you for all you do every day.  Thank you for your contributions in your communities, with your families and friends.  Thank you for the gifts you give people you don’t even know. Thank you for your good work in so many arenas.  Thank you for staying constant in this net of support we continue to weave for those who need healing.

I wanted to share the following Discourse on Good Will, from the Metta Sutta, part of the Sutta Nipata, a collectioni of dialogues with the Buddha said to be among the oldest parts of the Pali Buddhist canon.  This version is found in Eknath Easwaran’s  God Makes the Rivers to Flow, p. 60-61.

“May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak,
The great and the small,
The mean and the powerful,
The short and the long,
The subtle and the gross:

May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.

Let no one deceive another,
Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.

Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its heights, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then, as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.”

May healing blessings be there for everyone.

How does non-local healing work?

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

What is the act of holding someone in your thoughts, intentions and prayers as a hopeful contribution towards healing?  We talk about holding someone in the light, holding them in prayer, holding them in our energetic loving embrace.  This “holding” has become a very precious and sacred act for me – and I believe and experience an exchange of positive energy within this act of holding – no matter what form it takes.

I’m not sure if you are aware that there is quite a debate in the worlds of science and spirit about how nonlocal healing “works”.  One view is that energy is literally and measurably transferred from one person to another.  Another view is that a healing message is sent to a Divine energy source which then sends healing energy to those for whom it has been requested.  Still another perspective is that the energy of the inner healer within each person is somehow enhanced or enlivened by the energy of those around him/her.

In “Miracles of Mind:  Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing”, authors Russell Targ and Jane Katra (p. 245-246) explore the debate:

“So, if a healer is actually sending a healing message, does that mean that he or she is not sending any healing energy?  Not necessarily – it’s just that no one has reliably measured this ‘energy’ yet, though many have tried.  The existence of a nonlocal consciousness does not necessarily mean that some sort of energy exchange is not occurring when people are near each other. . . There are ample reports of the successful detection of a variety of effects of energy healing modalities.  Healing practitioner Paul Dong, who has co-authored a book on Chi Gong reports that Chinese scientists have detected a wide spectrum of effects from Chi Gong masters generating external chi. . . Eventually, we may be able to document the existence of some flow or transmission of (energy) that promotes healing by evoking resonance among minds in living cells (DNA). . . At this time, we believe that mind-to-mind connections and loving, caring intentions on the part of the healer are the primary precursors to healing effects.”

While I find these discussions and debates interesting, my view is that probably there is an element of truth in all assertions and, ultimately, that healing is brought about as energy becomes increasingly coherent within the person who is seeking it and within those who are aiding the process.

I send all readers my energy of love and I bow in gratitude for all you continue to do in support of those who need healing.

Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush on Service

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Recently I have been thinking about how constancy and continuity in one’s practices seem to generate a unique and palpable energy.  This is, of course, what all the great spiritual teachers tell us.  But experiencing the energy generated by the constancy of practice makes the teachings of the great teachers all the more real to me.

This morning, I was reading in a book by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush, Compassion in Action:  Setting out on the path of service.  On pages 227-228 they discuss some of the qualities and experiences of putting ourselves in service to others.

“When our hearts open, when we know that we are in fact the world, when we experience the pain of others in our own blood and muscle, we are feeling compassion.  It begins as gentle love and acceptance of ourselves, and it extends to include our family and friends and, eventually, all beings, those we know and those we do not, as well as all of nature – rocks and raccoons and stars and water.  We begin to reflect that, although the suffering of others may not be our fault, it IS our responsibility, not in a heavy sense of having the world on our individual shoulders but in a natural way, as if we were all part of the same body; if there is an itch, we scratch it; if one part of it hurts, we try to heal it.

We also begin to understand that everyone wants to be happy, all of us, everywhere – the vulnerable and oppressed among us as well as the militant and oppressive.  We would all like to eat when we are hungry and sleep without fear when we are tired, to do work that is productive and satisfying, to honor the spirit each in our own way, to watch our children grow up in a healthy and peaceful place.  By acting compassionately, by helping to restore justice and to encourage peace and healing, we are acknowledging that we are all part of one another.”

I believe that all healing is also my healing, and that my healing on all levels belongs equally to all people.

e. e. cummings

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I thank you God for this most amazing
day:  for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky, and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

e.e. cummings

Mitchell Krucoff, the MANTRA Project and Inter-being

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

One of the many things that inspires me about the concept of non-local mind and how prayer and intention lead to non-local healing results is that it does not seem to matter WHICH form of energy or intention-sending is used.  Larry Dossey’s work points this out as does a study done by Dr. Mitchell Krucoff at Duke University Medical Center. (This is the MANTRA study which focused on the proven positive effects of prayer for patients with heart disease.)  The energy of healing is shared by all spiritual traditions and exists even for those who do not have a particular spiritual orientation.  It seems to me that the power of healing is a Divine gift available to anyone who wants it.  This inspires me and gives me great confidence in the power and connection within our universe – and beyond.

As you’ve probably gathered, an important teacher in my life is Thich Nhat Hanh.  His book, Living Buddha, Living Christ, is very meaningful to me.  I was raised in the Christian tradition and now draw from the teachings of many traditions, looking for the commonalities rather than the differences.  Pardon the rather long excerpt from this book which follows.  In it, Thich Nhat Hanh is talking about prayer and meditation and his understanding of how they work.  (p. 167-168).

“Christians emphasize Prayer of the Heart, and Buddhists speak about one-pointed mind (cittasekagata).  Christians and Buddhists both realize that without concentration, without abandoning distracting thoughts, prayer and meditation will not bear fruit.  Concentration and devotion bring calm, peace, stability, and comfort to both Buddhists and Christians.  If farmers use farming tools to cultivate their land, practitioners use prayer and meditation to cultivate their consciousness.  The fruits and flowers of the practice spring forth from the soil of the mind.

Buddhists and Christians know that nirvana or the Kingdom of God is within their hearts.  Buddhist sutras speak of Buddha nature as the seed of enlightenment that is already in everyone’s consciousness.  The Gospels speak of the Kingdom of God as a mustard seed planted in the soil of consciousness.  The practices of prayer and meditation help us be in touch with the most valuable seeds that are within us, and they put us in contact with the ground of our being.  Buddhists consider nirvana, or the ultimate dimension of reality, as the ground of our being.  The original mind, according to Buddhism, is always shining.  Afflictions such as craving, anger, doubt, fear, and forgetfulness are what block the light, so the practice is to remove these five hindrances.  When the energy of mindfulness is present, transformation takes place.  When the energy of the Holy Spirit is within you, understanding, love, peace, and stability are possible.  God is within.  You are, yet you are not, but God is in you.  This is inter-being.  This is non-self.”

It is this energy, I believe, that we draw upon for all those whose health and well being concern us.

I am grateful for the gifts of prayer, meditation and energy being sent daily towards healing.

Separateness is an Illusion

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Our collective ongoing efforts of sending healing love and support are very present in my thoughts each and every day.  It strikes me, as it has so often, that what we are doing individually and collectively is helping to break down that pervasive illusion of separateness.  And I am so gratified for the direct experience of connection that this healing work provides me.

This morning, I found the following quote – again from Eknath Easwaran (Words to Live By, p. 73).

“When we think of ourselves as purely physical creatures, we believe we stop with the outermost layer of our skin.  Inside that boundary is home territory: there I have to consider my comforts and conveniences, my pleasure and profit foremost, because this is home.  But beyond that, “It’s not my problem,” we say.  “It’s Bob’s.  That’s his home, not mine.”

When we live more and more for physical satisfaction, driven by this sense of otherness, we cannot help feeling alienated from others.  We feel estranged from others simply because we are estranged from ourselves.  If we can break through to a deeper level of consciousness through the practice of meditation (and prayer), we will no longer think of ourselves as merely physical.  Then we will find the gap of separateness between ourselves and others becoming narrower and narrower.  We get a sense of nearness to people.  Where formerly we saw a chasm, now we see only a little creek; with courage, we can jump right over it.”

“What is here is also there;
what is there, also here.
Who sees multiplicity but not the one indivisible Self
must wander on and on from death to death.”

Katha Upanishad

Thank you, everyone, for your constancy and energy in support of those who need healing. As we feel ourselves connected to all others, our thoughts, prayers and energy will makes a difference!!

Eknath Easwaran, Meditation and Prayer

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

This morning I am thinking about the journey of healing and how it can appear to be both complex and simple at the same time.  Miraculous cures happen to many people, so we know it is possible.  Suffering and difficulty can fade away.  The body, spirit and soul can be rejuvenated and brought in to the light.  We know of countless stories where this happens, so we know – from our own experiences – that it is true.

Still, I think we all wonder at one time or the other whether we have the “right” to expect healing; whether it is presumptuous of us to even ask for it.  As I experience the questions and the occasional doubt, for the most part I am trying to cultivate a mindful, humble belief that healing is a gift which we can ask for and anticipate receiving.

A spiritual practice – any spiritual practice – can offer us a great deal as we try to understand and support the mystery of the healing process.

Recently, I came upon the following page in a book by the spiritual teacher, Eknath Easwaran (Words to Live By, p. 76).  I like the simple and straightforward way in which he writes, as well as his quote from Mechthild of Magdeburg.

“There is nothing on earth like meditation.  Each day it is new to me and fresh.  I find it difficult to understand why everyone does not take to it.  Millions dedicate their lives to art, music, literature, or science, which reveal just one facet of the priceless jewel hidden in the world.  A life based on meditation on the Lord of Love within penetrates far beyond the multiplicity of existence into the indivisible realm of reality, where dwell infinite truth, joy and beauty.

In meditation I see a clear, changeless goal far above the fever and fret of the day.  This inner vision fills me with unshakable security, inspires me with wisdom beyond the reach of the intellect, and releases within me the capacity to act calmly and compassionately.”

Meditation is one way to connect with the ineffable that is healing.  Prayer is another.

“That prayer has great power which a person makes with all his might.  It makes a sour heart sweet, a sad heart merry, a poor heart rich, a foolish heart wise, a timid heart brave, a sick heart well, and blind heart full of sight, a cold heart ardent.  It draws down the great God into the little heart; it drives he hungry soul up into the fullness of God; it brings together two lovers, God and the soul, in a wondrous place where they speak much of love.”  Mechthild of Magdeburg.

Let us together, in whatever way feels right, direct our energies towards healing, allowing this to grow out of our love, commitment and a belief in the possibility AND reality of healing for all.