It’s winter. The warm, inviting Earth pulls in on itself. Cozy indoors, but being out on the streets, away from the safety of a warm home, is more threatening during these dark days. As families are forced to leave their homes in Syria, crowd onto dangerous vessels and face unimaginable peril in an attempt to save themselves and their families, the land ices over. I watch mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, helplessly. It wasn’t that long ago that my people were forced to leave their homes in the dead of a Russian winter.
I’m not sure what I can do to help ease the suffering of the refugees, or the troubled boys with guns who do not see the preciousness of life, or an Earth that is drying up here while flooding there. The question, how can I serve, is with me everyday. I remember having had a similar feeling after giving birth to my daughter under the shadow of nuclear proliferation. The urge to be of service got so strong, I finally went out to the back yard and prayed, use me, as a soulful brown eyed cow looked on. Soon after that morning the groundwork laid by the prayer appeared as my book, Buddha Mom. As the days grow darker and the year comes to an end, I am ready to make another prayer.
Years ago, when I was a Religious Science Practitioner, I learned the mechanics of affirmative prayer. Affirmative prayer is not about begging some supernatural being to make things go our way. It’s a way to open our heart, to affirm the what Buddhism calls the vastness and Western religions call God, and putting ourselves in alignment with this vastness. It’s a way to remember that we are not separate from life, from the person living on the street or the refugee desperately seeking safety. Affirmative prayer has a lot in common with meditation, the difference being that during meditation we sit in the vastness without interaction. In preparation for the New Year I share this prayer with you.
Vastness, the all that is, that which is my true life and the true life of everything animate and inanimate, I speak into you. I know that, underneath personality and physical appearance, I am this vastness, without boundary or limits, connected with everything from the smallest weed to the largest elephant, to the family on the street and the powers that be in mansions and estates. Any separation is an illusion. Speaking past that illusion into the all that is, I send a heartfelt wish for the well being of all, for the planet that is our home, for all the families, young men and women who feel separate, for the CEO’s who make decisions about resources and for the plants and animals that feed us and bring joy. May they all awaken to the bliss of their unity with all things, may their joy spill over into their lives like a great sea of nurturance, abundance and love. Into this vastness I speak my word. Use me in this new year for the good of all. Knowing that this prayer is spoken into the all that is, that it is reverberating and coming into being in this very moment, I release this word into the law and celebrate its unfoldment. And so it is.
I wish you all a beautiful holiday season, wherever you are and whomever you’re with. Thank you for sharing your life with me.