Healing from Tragedy


Echoing prayers of support for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, the hurricanes. Clearly we need to come together now and not waste the opportunity to pass better gun laws (seems pretty obvious nobody needs a machine gun) get funding faster to Hurricane victims.
To do this it’s essential to act. To act it’s essential that we not just shrivel up into despair.

But no matter how thick your skin is, it’s really difficult for the human brain and body to take in non-stop news like this. So I thought I’d share this variation of a Buddhist practice of Metta (loving kindness) I use to keep a little sane and stay afloat during tragedies. You can add your own religious prayer variation or make it just a secular visualization that is a way to build compassion in your brain (which we know actually works, by the way). I think it will do good either way. The important thing is A.) get out of your own way and don’t worry about this seeming wu-wu or hokey. Try it and you’ll be surprised. B.) generate actual warm-heartedness.

Ok. Here it is.

1.) First, just breathe for a few minutes and feel grateful to be safe and secure. Focus on the sensations of breath, in and out. When you notice yourself thinking about the tragedy or work, just come back to the breath, the feeling of being alive.
2.) Picture a little lotus flower in your heart. As it blooms in your heart, you feel peace and gratitude emanate into every part of your body. (And even if you don’t, imagine you do. It’s fine to fake-it-til-you-make-it.)

3.) Now imagine that your heart can grow more of these peace lotuses and send them out to your friends and family. Picture the flower actually land in the other person’s heart. When it does they instantly feel that same peace the lotus gives you. If you want, you can combine each flower with a prayer – “may you be happy” or an “Om Mani Padme Hum,” a prayer to the bodhisattva of compassion who could be described as the infinite power of love inside each of us and in the universe.

4.) Send out more flowers to each of the victims of the shooting and the hurricanes and their families. Picture this flower helping both the living and the dead as they move on.

5.) If there’s anyone you’re angry at – politicians, the shooter – send them flowers too and picture them remembering their own true nature and wisdom and compassion. They’re lost in their own anger and delusion, something that happens to all of us to varying degrees. Feel compassion for them and wish them well.

6.) Take all that goodness you’ve generated and see if an idea comes to bring a little love into the world today. Could be calling your senators. Could be calling your grandmother. Could be donating or taking some more time to grieve and recover. The important thing is to do it.

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