Don't you just love pictures of dolphins splashing above a kaleidoscopic sun?
Me too. So much so.
Today, these dolphins are here to bring you a very special public request, however, and not just for their own mischievous and cavorting delight.
Today, me and these dolphins would like to ask you to offer something big to the world, something that perhaps you haven't done this week or this month or even in this year so far, at least as a conscious mental maneuver.
One of the great shamanic tools that may be applied to healing and personal growth is the practice of blessing the world as we come into contact with it; the bestowing of 'holiness' or spiritual importance upon the people, places and incidents that we experience. We do this through our minds and hearts, intentionally seeing the people and processes around us as something 'bigger' than their immediate appearance, and trusting that they are holding within them great spiritual meaning in exactly the state they are in right now.
In direct contrast to how we usually see others/the state of the world/the uncomfortable experiences that occur on our path, the practice of blessing puts us in touch with both mindfulness, divine love, and faith.
In mindfulness, we slow down--even just for a second--to notice what is really going on in our interactions, both within ourselves and to assess what is happening for people around us. We stop the chatter in our head to notice with full sensorial perception what might be happening at that moment.
From mindfulness we can then choose how we want to see the situation, and in the case of engaging with blessing we intentionally direct our thoughts to assuming that this person and this process is doing what it needs to do at this moment.
That everything that is happening is some necessary part of the process, and we can love it with the same kind of impeccable affection that we would bestow upon the absolutely innocent.
Is this not true, when you think about it? Are people not doing the best that they can at every moment, given the tools, trauma and training that they have experienced in their lives so far?
We seem to (according to facebook) love the saying "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about" from Wendy Mass, and yet do we actually apply this, across the board? Or is it only possible to offer this kind of universal compassion when we can understand the pain the person is going through, as well as their particular style of responding to that pain?
Blessing asks us to expand our compassion to include all people, even if they're being complete shitheads and doing things we couldn't fathom ever doing ourselves. To bless is to assume that you can't know how they should be acting, but to trust that they are trying their best given that perhaps their mother is dying, they were intensely abused as a child, or they're currently going through repossession on their house...and that's why they're acting that way.
Sure, we can ask people to step up and act differently, but lasting change never results from starting with judgement. It starts with kindness.
Intending to cultivate divine love then brings us to the experience of faith, naturally.
Faith not in some single omnipotent being or many beings, even, but in the perfection of the process at hand. The extent to which we can do this for the world around us, blessing those we come into contact with and offering them our compassion will be equal to the extent to which we can offer the same to ourselves.
Do you have faith in your basic goodness? Your right to be here and to express yourself without inhibition as an individual? Do you trust that you are going to make mistakes, but that those mistakes will be exactly what you need to go through on this particular journey?
No? Well, you're not alone.
The way out of this experience can be to look deeply into ourselves, certainly, and that may bring about great revelations about who we are and what we are meant to be here to do.
But the practice of offering that perspective--through blessing--to the rest of the world opens our hearts and expands the possibilities of our minds in ways that deep self reflection will often not offer. And, oddly, it's far easier to offer compassion and kindness to others than it is to ourselves..
So today, be a person of blessing. Bless the ground, the sky, the greyness or the sunshine. Bless the birds, the plants, the water that you drink. Bless the people you speak to, the work you do in the world, and the difficulties you encounter.
(this is the hardest part, but...just try.)
Make it all holy. Offer your compassion and open heart to the world and challenge yourself to see it all in a different light, and if it feels right and good and available to yourself, try looking in the mirror and doing the same.