A practice to heal suffering from within.
Are you getting burned out on all the conflict in the media? It feels like everything in the news is one-sided and inflammatory. Perhaps it always has been, but for some reason, after over a year of COVID and political messes everywhere, I feel now more than ever like the world is coming apart. Far apart. The two sides of the vaccine argument, liberals vs conservatives, climate activists vs climate change deniers, arguments are much more prevalent than discourse. I feel like I remember a time when people came to the table and talked through their differences. A time when politicians debated and listened about concerns and voted based on the desires of those who elected them, instead of voting based on what party they belong to regardless of the issue.
My sister lives in Israel, she called this week during the conflict to tell me what was going on from the inside. She knows that the information I get from US news sources probably leaves out important facts at best or reports incorrect information at worst. Reporting on Israel, and unfortunately, the country herself is usually a mess. Regardless of what your feelings are about Israel as a political state, I hope you can pray with me for the safety of all who live there, and the ultimate resolution of this modern and ancient crisis.
All of this conflict can be unsettling and upsetting! Think about a conflict in your own life. Perhaps the crisis that is upsetting you at this moment is across the world. Or maybe there is a person in your life that you love but is avoiding conversation with you, so resolving the conflict with them is currently beyond your ability. These situations can lead to helplessness.
When you feel overwhelmed or helpless, ask yourself:
Is there anything I can do right now at this moment to take steps toward resolving this conflict?
If the answer feels like no, keep reading because there is always something you can do that will help.
There is a way to find inner peace and to nurture yourself, even if the conflict you are suffering from cannot be outwardly resolved at this time. You can resolve it within yourself with the following practice:
Metta or lovingkindness meditation is a practice from the Buddhist tradition. You may recognize the concept from Matthew in the New Testament or Deuteronomy in the old testament, they both speak of “love your neighbor.” One of my favorite modern sources for this conflict ‘cure’ comes Marianne Williamson who recommends that if you have a conflict with someone who will not communicate, pray for them for 30 days. After 30 days of praying for the well-being of the person, Marianne advises, either the energy will have shifted and your suffering will be minimized, or the conflict will be resolved.
Imagine how difficult that practice is! I mean seriously, the last thing you want to do is pray or send love to someone you are angry with or you feel is causing you suffering!
It may seem impossible, we are wired to feed anger and conflict with anger and conflict. But if you practice this mediation, and/or pray for the person you are in conflict with, it will release you from suffering. Doesn’t that seem worth a try? Remember it’s a practice so even if it’s a struggle, keep trying!
I practice Metta or lovingkindness meditation when I am struggling with internal conflict, unsettled feelings about a loved one, or if I feel helpless about an injustice I see in the world. It empowers me and calms me, and changes feelings of sorrow and helplessness into love and compassion; lovingkindness.
Look for more meditations coming soon to my website!