Friday, July 29, 2011

Norway Tragedy: A Lovingkindness and Compassion Meditation

May I be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May I experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May my family and friends be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May they experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May everyone I know be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May they experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May the victims and families of the Norway tragedy be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May they experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May Anders Behring Brivak and his family and friends be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May they experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May all who suffer from hate and ignorance and mental and physical illness, poverty, injustice, and oppression be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May they experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.

May all beings be well, happy, safe, and harmonious.
May all beings experience lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and peace.
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It is common in reacting to tragedies, such as occurred in Oklahoma City, on 9/11, and now in Norway, to experience the full range of emotions – sadness and compassion for the victims and their families; disgust, anger, and a desire for revenge toward the perpetrators; and surprise, fear, and a sense of helplessness that comes from the realization that such horrific crimes do happen, are unpredictable, and could happen to us. Forgiveness is an emotion more difficult to experience and comes much later, if at all, particularly when the victims are children who symbolize for us our innocence, purity, and hope.

The practice of regular sitting meditation and specific Lovingkindness and Compassion Meditations or Prayers can open our hearts to understanding how the fear and suffering, caused by desire, hate, and ignorance, can lead to the acting-out of our instinctual and learned aggressive tendencies. Anders Behring Brivak acted his out by killing government leaders and their children. We act ours out by wanting him punished. Compassion and lovingkindness are the antidotes to fear, anger, and the desire to punish, retaliate, and get revenge. Certainly, we need to protect society against convicted criminals by incarcerating and, if possible, rehabilitating them, but we should do this compassionately.

I use the above Lovingkindness and Compassion Meditation and will share it with the Des Moines Meditation and Mindfulness Group. I’m putting it on the website for anyone who might want to use it personally or with a group.

As with any lovingkindness and compassion meditation, feel free to modify it and use any other words or phrases you prefer. In Buddhism the primary purpose of these meditations is to strengthen our own innate capacity to experience lovingkindness and compassion for ourselves and for everyone else, including our enemies and those whom we fear or distrust.

For related information, click on my essay under "Articles" on the right: "The Rendering Harmless Doctrine of Compassion." You can contact me at charlesday1@mchsi.com or 515-255-8398 with questions or comments.

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