Fourth Sunday after Penticost Old Testamenst Readings
Genesis 42 : 28 - 36
Acts 21: 27 - 46
1 Corinthians 5 : 6 - 13
St. Luke 18 : 18 - 27
Isaiah 43 : 16 – 25 Please click on the references to view the passages
Positive Energy through Compassion Meditation.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The early spiritual atmosphere that prevailed in the church or even in the world has on its ‘progress’ of alterations. Everybody is after different kinds of spiritual ‘modulations’ ignoring the ‘self’ within them which imperatively needs something ‘special’. In fact, we are trying to donate it, but in vain, because we know that we are still thirsty within ourselves in spite of all the providence to ourselves. Early spiritual fathers had dedicated their time and energy in acquiring the positive energy by availing themselves in meditation and silence. They could imbibe the beauty of silence through proper meditation and practice of yoga. Silence is not a state where one keeps his / her mouth shut, rather it is the self abstention from unwanted negative elements into the human soul that creates negative energy within and thereby hearing, understanding and communicating to the sound of nature. In this ‘busy’ world, the practice of meditation and yoga may not be as easy as we think as it is. Nevertheless, there are a few things that can bring positive energy within us by our own committed efforts and will power. 1. Try never to criticize anyone or anything. It just accumulates negative energies within our being. However, healthy criticisms are welcome, but only after a good rapport between the two parties, ie, the criticiser and the criticised. 2. Compassion is not exactly kindness. Kindness needs a doer. A doer is always there to take credit of the kind deeds. Compassion is a quality that arises from our being spontaneously and no prompts or props are needed for that. Just try to be in a space where you can feel this quality inside you. Meditation is just a way of becoming aware of this space within you.
3. The regular meditation can generally be done by just focusing on our breath and a practice of being present in the moment, the here and now. To mix it up a little bit, decide yourself to direct your attention to compassion; or rather when you meditate on the present, your soul would definitely turn to a state of compassion. 4. I may also tell you that one should not exactly be an ‘Olympic athlete’ or an expert when it comes to meditating. Our mind wanders; Initially we may face a hard time sitting still......but not anymore and longer. 5. Use a generic “compassion meditation”. Every morning for 20 minutes, Just sit outside or inside wherever you are comfortable and relaxed and send positive thoughts to people you know, to yourself, to people you see occasionally, to people you find difficult and to people everywhere around the world and finally to the entire creation. This is the best thing that you can do to the world every morning. When we meditate like this and transmit positive energy to an individual or thing, we will notice the change within that person or the thing without moving a single finger of yours. That could have been one of the reasons for Christ to ask us to pray for our enemies where positive energies are transmitted. When we pray and worship, the whole creation is sanctified through transmission of such energies. The compassion meditation works very well. We will notice a shift in our mood. We will stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Instead of feeling envious of others whose lives are going well, we will feel happy for them. How to practise compassion meditation?? Compassion meditation involves silently repeating certain phrases that express the intention to move from judgment to caring, from isolation to connection, from indifference or dislike to understanding. You don’t have to force a particular feeling or get rid of unpleasant or undesirable reactions; the power of the practice is in the wholehearted gathering of attention and energy, and concentrating on each phrase. You can begin with a 20-minute session and increase the time gradually until you are meditating for half an hour at a time. If your mind wanders, don’t be concerned. Notice whatever has captured your attention, let go of the thought or feeling, and simply return to the phrases. If you have to do that over and over again, it is fine. To begin, take a comfortable position. You may want to sit in a chair or on cushions on the floor (just make sure your back is erect without being strained or overarched). You can also lie down. Take a few deep, soft breaths to let your body settle. While closing your eyes or leaving them slightly open, start by thinking of someone you care about already — perhaps he / she’s been good or inspiring to you. You can visualize this person or say her name to yourself, get a feeling for her presence, and silently offer phrases of compassion to her. The typical phrases are: “May you be free of pain and sorrow. May you be well and happy.” But you can alter these, or use others that have personal significance. After a few minutes, shift your attention inward and offer the phrases of compassion to yourself: “May I be free of pain and sorrow. May I be well and happy.” Then, after some time, move on to someone you find difficult. Get a feeling for the person’s presence, and offer the phrases of compassion to her. Then turn to someone you’ve barely met — the supermarket checkout woman or the DHL man. Even without knowing his or her name, you can get a sense of the person, perhaps an image, and offer the phrases of compassion.
We close with the offering of compassion to people everywhere, to all forms of life, without limit, without exception: â€œMay all beings be free of pain and sorrow. May all be well and happyâ€?. And by degrees, be in this state of compassion not just 20 minutes in a day but the rest of 23 hours and 40 minutes!
Prayers, Fr. John Samuel St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, London.