Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meditation for Helping Others

I'm admittedly not a very religious person at least not in the traditional Western sense. My parents were great about introducing us to different churches and religions growing up so that we could make our own decisions about it, but I never found a church that I felt totally comfortable in. I never really knew my own faith, my own version of believing in something to help cope with life. Everyone has their own version of faith, some have a religion and others are more spiritual. In the midst of our infertility challenges I discovered that my version of faith is more on the spiritual side. I got very into meditation and yoga for dealing with the stress and sadness during that time. I'm not sure what I would have done without it to get through it. What I also discovered then was my own version of prayer. It's a little different than the Western prayer but it's still prayer and still has to do with focusing all my energy on the person or people I wish I could help. I think that prayer of any kind is an incredibly powerful and productive way to deal with worry - rather than focusing energy on worrying about people, focus that energy on sending healing and strength to them. I discovered a great book a few years ago called Meditation as Medicine, by Dharma Singh Khalsa. The book gave me so many great ideas for prayer and meditation. I highly recommend it, especially for people dealing with a challenge they are overwhelmed with.

The reason I write this is because my dear, dear Aunt and her family are going through a terrible time as they struggle with my Aunt's battle with Leukemia.  My incredibly spirited and social Aunt's immune system is so weak that she can't even see anyone, she's basically in isolation unless her visitor is perfectly healthy and wears a mask to protect themselves. Even if I wanted to help, I couldn't see her because she can't be exposed to the germs that my toddler would expose her to. I feel helpless, like I can't do anything to help her and my cousins deal with this struggle. When I feel helpless like this, I turn back to my yoga and meditation. One of the best prayers/meditations I found is the Meditation to Heal Self and Others. When I feel helpless and worried about someone I love, or others in the world who are suffering, I do this meditation several times. When I do it I feel like I've at least done a little something to help. I feel like it's the best as I can when I can't physically do anything, and it's better than just worrying.

Here's the chant and the breathing for the meditation I do - see the book here for more details about what the meditation means for sending healing to people and how it physically impacts your own body body, but here's at least an abridged version:

Tune in and take several deep breaths to focus.
Posture: Sit in an easy pose or in a chair with your back straight.
Breath: The breath will come automatically as you chant. Inhale before you start chanting.
Mantra: "Ra ma da sa, sa se so hung." The mantra should be sung in one complete exhale and should be done several times up to 11 minutes. As you chant the first "sa," your navel point is pulled in so that the syllable is abbreviated. You should rest for 4 beats between the first "sa" and the second "sa." While you are doing this mantra, visualize the person you want to send healing to. Make that image in your mind very clear and see a glowing green light around the person. Keep that vision in your mind and continue to exhale and inhale deeply. As you near the end of your mantra, see the person very clearly, and see the green healing light bathing the person, bathing every cell in the body.

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