In these troubled times, which for many of us seem to be the most disturbing times of our life-span, having words to focus ourselves may be a help. Some have religious and meditation practices that already do this. Others of us may be searching for new words and new ways, either in compliment with other practices or as a new way of being. I have worked on writing a message to help me begin my day and have arrived at these words which I share for others who would find them helpful. The words in italic are personal, designed for others to adapt to their beliefs and circumstances:
“I will move through the day looking for sources of good, even as I traverse the minefields of human suffering.
I will not expect to change myself today, but if I find a path to transformation, it will be because I first met myself where I am. My journey is in my own company, not in the company of the person I may want to be.
As I look for the good in the day, for ways to be part of spreading kindness, I may be challenged by pain. I ignore that pain at risk of becoming fearful or even hateful.
When sorrow, trouble and pain accompany me on my journey, by acknowledging their presence, I can begin to make my way without their strangling me. I can say, ‘Oh, there you are. Now we will see how we can move together until we come to a parting point.’
Troubles, sorrows, and pain do return, sometimes for the same reasons and sometimes, for new reasons. My concern today is what to do in the here and now. Old troubles, sorrows, and pain teach me nothing, if I simply allow them to whirl about me and through me without honest examination.
If today should prove to be one where trouble, sorrow, and pain are at a distance, rather than pressing in on me, I will seek to be aware of the time of rest that is mine to enjoy.
When my friends and others I encounter feel differently from me, I will seek to understand that difference where knowing about it is helpful. However, I will be aware that digging for explanations of difference that don’t tell me anything new or merely remind me of something I had forgotten, even if deeper knowledge of the differences may reveal details I’d previously not known, can be counter-productive. Prying for the details can hurt friendship, when the details are sought in the name of one-upmanship, trying to bring home the point of my way of being the right way.
There are times when the sorrows that occur are so tough it would seem that we can’t survive, and that may be true. The pain may burn through us, breaking us, which in some traditions of belief, gives us opportunity to be born anew.
For myself, I do not know about other lives, but from my past when I’ve experienced extraordinary pain, I do have the sense of having been changed into someone stronger because of finding a path through that pain. So, I am a believer in new life, at least in the sense of a metaphorical resurrection.
My transportation in life is my integrated body-mind system. Even though we are used to speaking of body and mind as two separate parts of a whole, I have come to understand them as integrated and intertwined. I believe my spirit inhabits my transportation. I think of my spirit as the essence of me, the birthright with which I came into the world. I believe each spirit born into this world is as intrinsically worthwhile as every other spirit. It’s our transport that has different set-points, set-points established through circumstances beyond our control.
I believe I receive spiritual visitors. The Christian tradition, in particular the tradition of the Episcopal Church, is part of my life. I now consider myself a pluralist, one who sees many paths, both secular and religious, to whatever the source of kindness in life is. For me, I experience this source as a mystery. Using language from the Episcopal tradition, I experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and my being when I am invitational to that presence, guides me and holds me up. That presence has seen me through times that I alone could not have expected to weather.
I will move through today, on the outlook for visitors that bring me a sense of the kindness and goodness in the world, so I can draw hope and generosity from that.
As I reflect on my transport for the essence of me and the spiritual visitors who may come through, staying a while or passing along to others, I see my integrated body-mind system for what it is. It has many miles on it. It has been fed more chardonnay and fewer apples than advisable. It has walked and ambled more than skipped and run.
Everyday I have some choices about how I care for the transport I have been given. Because the essence of me has to communicate with a body-mind integrated system that has been shaped by nature and nurture, the essence of me is subjected to my body-mind history.
What will I do about this today? Will I enjoy the ride? Will I try to take over the steering wheel and take my body-mind in another direction? If so, will my body-mind be equipped to shift to the new path I attempt to nudge it towards?
In this moment, I can commit to look out the windows of my transport, using the different senses of my body-mind system, ready to experience the companionship of awe, wonder, and joy as I encounter sights.
As my transport equipment, with its estimated twenty-five feet of intestines secured under the largest organ of my transport, my skin, makes its way through this day, I will love it, flaws and all. I will hope to give it the care it needs.
I will look for chances to be generous, knowing that the ability to give and receive love, not based on worth or merit, but based on being in the midst of so many spirits – each unique and all born with the same level of intrinsic worth – is the healing tonic of our lives.
Along with love, the material help that I can provide expresses and cultivates love. I cannot use generosity to fix others, but I can use it to express love for what is, this very moment.
When I turn my face and don’t render generosity to others or to my body-mind transport, I hope to remember to call upon forgiveness to flow through me, so I can reset and find generous behavior.
I can’t seal myself off from the bad, but I can keep looking for what is good. I don’t need to invite the bad inside. When I encounter it near me or in me, I can look for what is and begin to deal with these unwanted visitors.
When the waters of sorrow, trouble, and pain press against me, I will look for a path to the surface, so I can collect my breath and feel breath’s healing flow again.
May I do my part in spreading kindness.”