I imagine that, like me, most of you are living with the mix of fears and sorrows that appropriately come with a global pandemic. In the face of real danger and loss, it’s crucial to honor the intelligence of these feelings, and to meet them with as much mindfulness, gentleness and compassion as you can.
In the Buddhist tradition, the Bodhisattva (an awakening being) has a classic prayer or aspiration: May whatever circumstances arise serve to awaken a heart of compassion.
Perhaps in the midst of this unfolding pandemic, you can feel this possibility of awakening. The possibility of who you can be when you respond to crisis by calling on your deepest resources of wisdom, courage and love. And the possibility that, collectively, we can respond in a way that makes kindness and compassion go viral.
If each of us, in our own way, consciously holds the intention to have this great crisis of our lifetime awaken our heart, we can move toward creating the world we believe in.
Many of us are maintaining social distance by staying at home in what has been called a lockdown. You might instead consider that this is a retreat, and take the time to nourish your heart—love those you’re with, connect (online or by phone) with wider circles of dear ones, and offer your help to our world however you can.
This is the time to intentionally deepen mindfulness and compassion. IMCW is offering a great number of online meditation classes… please join in as many as you’d like. Another possibility is doing a home meditation retreat.
This era of collective suffering is what we’ve been training for—we have practices and teachings that can help us find an inner refuge of peace, clarity and openheartedness. And we have a dharma that guides us in bringing a loving presence to others.
May we remember to be deeply kind. We are all living with uncertainty, fear and loss—everyone you meet is struggling hard. And may we remember to celebrate the good, savoring the beauty of spring, the care in others hearts, the joy that comes from real, tenderhearted connection during such vulnerable times.
With loving blessings, and prayers for our world,
The Insight Meditation Community of Washington
For more resources on home retreats, please see Creating a Home Retreat.