Being in Harmony in Difficult Times
I have been thinking of you all during these challenging and crazy times.
First let me say that I cancelled all my face-to-face appointments and am currently available only for online consultations. Previously I reserved online consults only for people far away who couldn’t make it to Massachusetts. Although not perfect (since I can’t take a pulse or use any hands-on external therapies) the online consultations have been working out well and I am extremely grateful for our digital capabilities.
What can we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones and use this time wisely as we stay at home? According to ancient Tibetan medicine texts pandemics were predicted as a result of humans being out of balance, both balance of their bodies and mind and also with the elements, nature and the external world. If we look around we can see a great deal of evidence to support this. The most obvious is climate change with more fires, rising sea levels, and extreme weather but also an epidemic of mental health issues, depression, loneliness, anxiety, insomnia and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.
It is not just our politicians telling us to stay in place it is nature. This time at home can be a blessing for us all. How can we begin to balance our relationships, our minds, our bodies and our connections with nature? I have been hearing from families with children that the children are actually happy to be at home spending more time with their parents. We can embrace this new opportunity when we are forced to be together to connect with our kids, play board games, have a dance party, do an art project, read a book out loud or take a walk in the woods (if possible or appropriate). Connecting with friends, family and those who are alone is now possible with social media in a way never before even dreamed of (except perhaps in the Jetsons). Tonight we are attending a virtual cocktail party on Zoom!! Others are having virtual dance parties and singalongs. Let’s use this time to be considerate, generous with our time, offering help where we can to those we know and those we don’t know yet. Let’s be kind and appreciative and use gentle words to the people working in the grocery stores or clinics, those who have to be there even though they may not want to. Let’s try to keep our hearts and minds open and think more about others than ourselves. It is healing.
Reach out to those of us dealing with the stress of not knowing whether they can pay rent or buy groceries and offer assistance or just kind words. And those of you who may be in that position take a deep breath and know you will get through this. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
After consulting with one of my teachers, I would also like to offer this practice for anyone interested. There is a Buddhist ritual ‘sang offering’ that is done to mend connections, purify any obstacles and balance the elements. Even without knowing the prayers or liturgy or being Buddhist any of us can do this practice in a way that is meaningful to us individually. This is usually done in the morning, sometime before mid day. This is often done outside but can also be done inside with an open window. Take some incense, usually this is juniper but any kind of fragrant smoke such as sage or stick incense will work and a small container of fresh water. First invite and visualize in the sky in front of you any enlightened beings that you are connected to (Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc), imagine below them all the spirits of the earth, spirits of the water, fire, trees, protectors of the land and personal guides. Imagine them all like a rainbow appearing in the sky. As you light the incense visualize that the smoke becomes vast and fills the whole of space as an offering and becomes a shower of food, clothing, drink, jewels, medicines, anything that could be desired. You can say out loud or in your mind that you are offering this freely and wholeheartedly to all of these beings that they may never be in want, that you are making these offerings to purify and mend any connections between them and you. Offer some sprinkles of water every once in a while and keep imagining the smoke as multiplying exponentially to become vast and filling the whole of space with this purifying offering. Offer to all six classes of beings (gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings), or if you don’t believe in that, just a generic offering to any beings seen and unseen that may exist anywhere. The final lines of the liturgy go something like this: “In this auspicious, joyful and virtuous place, through this offering of sang, May good fortune and excellence be gathered here and throughout the ten directions. May the three parts of the day blaze with auspiciousness like the shining sun. May the three parts of the night radiate with auspiciousness like the glowing moon. Throughout day and night may everything be auspicious, blissful and excellent, and may an abundance of auspiciousness and virtuous signs be spontaneously present.”
I hope that you may find this healing and it brings some peace to you and those around you.
Sending lots of love,