Back in October a gifted Buddhist teacher, Sharon Salzberg, offered a “Ten-Day LovingKindness Challenge” course online—recommended by my friend, Diana Lopez, who draws upon the wisdom of multiple faith traditions. Salzberg’s accepting, compassionate voice guiding me through a series of increasingly challenging scenarios, by the tenth day, I could inwardly whisper, “May you feel safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease,” to, as Salzberg prompted, “someone filled with anger, jealousy, fear, greed.” (Can you guess who I chose to be the recipient of these metta prayers, Reader? Hint: He was still in office at the time.)
“Your mind will wander,” Salzberg noted, both her words and her gentle voice assuring me that this was okay. It’s the intentionality, she explained. When we bring our consciousness back to the repetition of the four lovingkindness statements, back to the practice, back to the center, again and again and again, that matters.
I don’t understand how this re-direct works but its Mystery intrigues me—and tapers my disbelief. Still intrigued, I pondered this Mystery at meeting for worship yesterday. In that Zoom quiet, the phrase “The peace that passeth understanding” came to me. (At some formative stage of my life, I’d internalized King James language, apparently!)
Mystery: it’s all one thing, right? All of a piece/peace?