I don’t think it is overly pessimistic to say that we are living in very truobled times.
War, environmental devastation, terrorism, racism…not to mention douche-bag politicians leading our nations who seem to be operating at the basest level of humanity.
Sometimes the problems seem so huge and insurmountable it can be easy to feel sad, overwhelmed and powerless in the face of them.
You may think, what can one little person like me do?
Well, here’s what I really believe.
As well as getting active in your community in a more practical way, go DEEPER into your spiritual practice.
These issues we see being played out on the world stage are magnifications of the issues we deal with in our personal lives. The world ego is no different from our own small egos. We express our division, fear, judgements and hard-heartedness in our own small lives and minds every day.
What the world needs more than ever, are awake humans.
Humans in the process of transcending their egos, who are living with open hearts and eyes.
The world needs your meditation practice.
Every time you sit down on your cushion, bit by bit it you will not only soften your own heart and develop inner peace but you will start to effect everyone you come into contact with in subtle but far reaching ways.
As the Dalai Lama says:
If there is light in the soul,
There is beauty in the person,
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house,
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation,
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
And if you want some more concrete evidence, have you heard about the meditation and crime study done in Washington in 1993?
Four thousand Transcendental Meditation practioners collectively meditated over the two-month trial in Washington with the express intention of reducing violent crimes by 20% in the area. The Chief of Police was extremely skeptical at the time, saying that the only thing that could reduce the crime rate by that much would be 20 inches of snow. By the end of the trial, violent crime had been reduced by a whopping 23.3%! The statistical probability that this result could reflect chance variation in crime levels was less than 2 in 1 billion. Yeah, pretty amazing.
When I did my Vipassana retreat in May this year, we were taught how to offer our practice up to the greater good using metta (lovingkindness intention). Now, when I finish my meditation session, I say these words in my head and imagine the inner peace I feel readiating out in all directions:
May all beings be free from suffering,
May all beings be free from hatred, anger and ill-will,
May all beings experience peace and liberation,
May all beings share in my peace,
May all beings share in my merits.
The last line about sharing merits means that I acknowledge that my meditation practice is not just for me. The more peace I generate in myself, the more it affects the world around me – it serves as a reminder that taking time to meditate is not selfish or unimportant but part of something that is bigger than me – and that as I benefit and grow from my practice, so do those around me.
If you would like to add metta to your current medtation ractice, I encourage you to do so…and the next time you feel like skipping your meditation session just remember, the world needs your peace.