Friday, November 27, 2015
Being a Chaplain in a Psychiatric Hospital and not a parish pastor has led me to develop a bit of a niche adapting to the Spiritual But Not Religious seekers. With Thanksgiving just past and Christmas on the horizon, I was asked to develop a seasonal practice for a mother to share with her daughter to focus in gratitude and compassion.
Below, I’ve outlined a two part practice that based on an adaptation of Loving-Kindness Mediation combined with a focus on service and justice for them to share in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Part I. Nightly Loving-Kindness Meditation—I know this looks long on paper and can seem long at first but with regular practice it’s about 10 minutes. You can play Native American flute music or some other background music—youtube is full of music for meditation, find one you two like. You can also use chants, Christmas music…. Light a candle, have a little pine bough and flower in a vase, invite the dog…. Whatever makes it a Sacred and special time for you both.
Lead her in this guided breath meditation:
Have her focus on her breath…. In-out-in-out. Relax…. Relax… Relax…. Have her picture in her mind’s eye a person, pet, place or activity where she feels safe and compassionately held. Focus on your breath in this place of safety and compassion…. And,….. relax……
Now wish for yourself, or pray for yourself: May I be safe, may I be well, may I be happy, may I be peaceful.
Focusing on your breath….. and…. Relax…..
May I be safe; safe in my own mind, safe in my own heart, safe in my own body, safe in my own life. May I be safe……
Now wish for yourself, or pray for yourself: May I be well; may I be in healthy relationship with myself; free from suffering and anxiety, free from grief and fear, free from loneliness and pain. May I be well in my relationship with myself. May I be well.
Now wish for yourself, or pray for yourself: May I be happy; may I know the happiness that is my birthright, the happiness that comes from living deeply from the most authentic part of my being. May I be happy.
Now wish for yourself, or pray for yourself: May I know the peace that passes all human understanding; the peace that lies in the deepest and most silent recesses of my soul, that deep secret place where the Divine dwells. May I know peace.
This pattern is then repeated calling to mind her family, loved ones, good friends (pets can be included too).
Then the pattern is repeated for all those struggling and suffering in the world. You can name specific groups, like children living at Home of the Sparrow or PADS, children living in violence in the Westside of Chicago or among refugee families.
Part II. Called to Serve With Compassion and Gratitude.
Find a focus for each week before Christmas (this time in the Church is called Advent, a season of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus)— children living at Home of the Sparrow or PADS, children living in violence in the Westside of Chicago or among refugee families. You will tie this into the loving-kindness meditation above. Just to get your started check out: http://www.rlcw.org/ Look up their “Ministries” tab. http://www.diaperbankni.org/events.aspx or, Woodstock Bible Church Food Bank and Soup Kitchen, http://www.woodstockbiblechurch.com/
Hope this is what you had in mind. Hope you and all those you love are happy and well.
Take good care,