This means opening our hearts; A how-to guide

July 13, 2016

71HIn Dallas this week the President asked us all to open our hearts to one another.  He asked us to remember that each person brings their own inner story to the stories of protest and violence we’ve experienced, seen or heard about this past week.

It’s not an easy thing to open our heart to another when our own heart is  wounded, fearful and angry.  If you’ve felt the impact of systemic racism as a person of color and have lived with a dream long deferred it seems unreasonable and dismissive to be asked to open your heart.  If you are someone who sees the context of violence, poverty and despair that we ask police officers to labor in each day it is difficult to open your heart and see the least of these as our neighbors.  Yet, in spite of these challenges, many of us want to seek solutions and take action to heal the divisions between us.  This means opening our hearts.

One first practical step to an open heart is to consciously express our intention to be friendly and compassionate toward ourselves and others.  One way to strengthen this commitment to an open heart is to practice the well known loving kindness meditation.

Simply sit comfortably, place your hand over your heart, close your eyes and say softly or silently these four statements:

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be at ease and happy.

Then repeat the statements bringing to mind first a loved one, then an enemy, and then finally, the nation and the world.   Practicing these statements helps calm our minds and bodies and is one starting point to connecting to others.