As we begin to turn toward the season of forgiveness, for ourselves and others, there are several practices we can learn that help soften our souls. One beautiful (and effective) practice that helps us cultivate compassion in and for ourselves and for others is called Blessing (or Lovingkindness) Practice. My teacher Sylvia Boorstein teaches about the Buddhist practice of Metta, which in Judaism, translates to cultivating lovingkindness – chesed. Sylvia’s language for this practice is (loosely):
May I feel protected and safe.
May I feel content and pleased.
May my physical body provide me with strength.
May my life unfold smoothly with ease.
In “Jewish” language and Hebrew, we might say something like this:
May ________ feel safe (ba’too’ach) בָּטוּחַ
May ________ feel content (see’fook) סיפוק
May ________ feel strong (ozi) עוזי
May ________ I feel peace (shalom) שָׁלוֹם
Notice the ____________ That’s because the practice begins with the “I” – May I feel safe. But then, you direct your intention to someone you love, then someone who you feel “neutral” about and then the hardest of all – towards someone you have conflict with. Try it.
To see and hear Sylvia talk about this practice with Krista Tippett of On Being (incredible podcast):
** For a wonderful understanding of this practice through a Jewish lens, Rabbi Jeff Roth’s book “Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life” has a full chapter on this. Here is Jeff’s website, which has many great resources as well for contemplative Jewish practice:
AND – they are offering his book FREE with a donation to cover shipping. GET IT!!