I’ve written a number of times about themes such as gratitude and kindness, qualities that are deeply needed in our personal and collective lives at this time. For this week’s practice, I want to share some thoughts about the practice of blessing as a form of subtle activism.
For many of us, there may be times when we feel overwhelmed by all the negativity, anger, incivility, and harm unfolding all around us, seemingly everywhere on the planet. For some of us, various forms of subtle activism represent something we can do to contribute even as we attend to our everyday responsibilities and activities. Many people turn to prayer as a form of subtle activism, while others come together in groups to practice with healing images offered to individuals, groups, non-human lifeforms, and the planet as a whole.
One of the things I have found very helpful has been to engage in an active practice of offering blessings—usually silently—as I move through my daily activities. For example, I bless my home as I come and go from it, I bless my office when I come in the morning and before I leave in the evening. Along with these blessings, I express gratitude and this has been a habit over many years now.
You may have noticed that particular environments carry particular qualities and that the qualities in a space or place are powerfully affected by the tone of those who inhabit or move through these spaces and places. Think about buildings, parks, cathedrals, public and private spaces, places in nature that you’ve moved through and been moved by, both positively and negatively. Especially in places where humans have spent time, the tone and quality of the thoughts, emotions, and actions expressed in these places leave what can be thought of as “energy imprints”. These “imprints” my be positive or negative in nature. It is this energy dynamic that makes it important to move through the world with kindness, generosity, gratitude, and good will.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what you become aware of if you were to move through your world offering blessings along the way. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate ritual. For example, when I clean out the water dishes of the cats who share their lives with me, I bless the water that comes through the filter on my sink. I also bless all the people involved in bringing that water to me. I do the same with their food (and mine). These brief blessings include expressions of gratitude, as well. I do this each morning and one of the benefits of this practice is the way it affects me as I do it. It sets a tone of awareness of gratitude and relationship with everything around me and I find that this is a positive and nourishing way to move into a busy day. Resonating with these qualities also have a tangible effect on the environment around me, as is true for every one of us.
There’s no right way to do a blessing practice. Feel into yourself and notice what is most natural to you. The key thing is that offering blessings radiates a positive a healing energy into yourself and the world around you and that is a powerful form of subtle activism, a constructive contribution to the collective life in which we all participate.
As with all these practices, there’s no right way to do this one. Rather, it’s one more opportunity to be even more consciously aware of how the choices you make, moment to moment, have an impact on the quality of your inner life. Remember to bring along curiosity as a constant and engaged companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without having to do anything with or about them.