If you’ve read through my website, you know that one of the things I love is Mary Morrissey’s Dream Builder Program. It’s a psycho-spiritual approach to how to achieve our dreams while letting go of the “condition-based thinking” so prevalent in our culture. (“Oh, you can’t do that because you’re not tall enough…. Or because you don’t have the money…. Or the education…. Or the right connections… Or, or, or….") Mary outlines many things to do to advance us in the direction of our dreams, including emotional work to clear us of energy that can interfere with our goals. It makes sense, right? -- that if we’re expending a lot of energy in resentments or overwhelm about emotional issues – whether old or current – there is not nearly as much energy available to us to apply towards what we want to achieve in our lives.
Coming from this approach, Mary devotes several CDs to the topic of emotional resolutions. In one of them, she tells a story about the power of prayer that I want to use to illustrate how using prayer, even if it’s towards people we are sure we just can’t stand, can create a shift.
Her story is about a man who had a history of responding with violence to things or people he didn’t like. As a result of this pattern, he ended up serving prison time. As Mary recounts it, the man was in prison at one point and realized, “If I keep doing the same things over and over, I am going to keep getting the same results.” He made a decision to change and, while in prison, embarked on a program of self-help. It was successful in creating a change in him that he wanted to maintain.
On release from prison he found a woman with whom he fell deeply in love and they married. After many years, the marriage began disintegrating. They separated. But even with the separation, his intentions were to do whatever he could to get her back and save the marriage. He persisted in this endeavor despite the wife telling him she was over the marriage and didn’t want to reconcile.
As life unfolded, the man found out that during the time of their separation, and even for while before it, his wife had entered into an affair with his best friend.
As you can imagine, this was a HUGE blow to him! His first response was to revert to old behavior: “I’m gonna find him (his friend) and take him out!” Yet he was able to reject that course of action and seek out Mary instead. Even while deeply embroiled in his emotional reaction, there was still a part of him that wanted to deal with it in a different manner.
Mary says that after hearing what had happened, she ended up telling the man, “If you don’t want to risk going back to prison – and that may be actual prison if you act on your immediate reaction to this – or, if not that, you will remain locked in the emotional prison of your rage, betrayal and negative emotions – you have one way out. You have to pray for your best friend.”
Of course he was outraged. “Pray for that SOB? I don’t want to pray for him! I want to cause him serious harm!”
Mary’s response was that yes, he wasn’t going to WANT to pray for his friend – but that he must do that if he was to get through the intense unpleasant emotions wracking his existence at the time. And she told him this: “You can start the prayer any way you want to. Just fit in there, even if it’s at the end, that you wish him well and want him to be happy. Why? Because that is the energy you want for yourself! YOU don’t want to stay bitter and hateful, right? That’s why you came to me seeking a different way. Just remember, you can start the prayer any way you want to – but put in there somewhere that you wish him good things.”
So the man (who must have swallowed very hard to take action on this suggestion), went away from his session with Mary and started to pray for the man who’d betrayed him with his wife. After a couple weeks he returned to Mary – who says she could see a real change in him. The rage and tension that had been visible in him at the first visit were gone. He told her what had transpired:
“I did like you told me. And this was how I’d start my prayer: ‘If a truck doesn’t smash him flat first, may he be well and happy.’ Or, ‘If a train doesn’t run over him and break both his legs, maybe he could be happy and do well.’ And after a couple weeks I began to realize that he really had been my best friend and there were things about him that I really liked – not that he’d been dishonest with me and gone behind my back with my wife – but several other things – so why would I not want him to be happy? And I really did love my wife, so wouldn’t I want her to be happy and to do well in life? My thinking and feelings began to change -- the hatred and rage I was feeling decreased and the sting of the whole thing that was so intense at first had disappeared.”
Well…. What a profound change! And Mary claims it happened in just a few short weeks! AND… he didn’t even have to start out the prayers lovingly for that shift to occur!
So… If the outcome of the 2016 election and the direction the new President is taking the country cause you undesirable emotional turmoil, I’ll encourage you to consider dealing with your feelings from the level above where they exist. Do some prayer -- start it any way you want, but add in the intention for the best for us all at some point. Do some visualization. See all people living with respect, cooperation, understanding and goodwill towards each other. When you breathe, on the exhale send out lovingkindness and benevolence to all. Maybe even try some forgiveness, if there’s a situation in which it would be appropriate.
And always remember: Every little bit counts! Trust that it’s having an effect even if you can’t see it.
Thanks for doing your part.
So perhaps you’ve been reading my blog and you think, “Wow, there’s no way I could possibly pray for, or hold good intentions for, our President (or whomever else might be challenging you)!" This is a very understandable and human emotion. We typically don’t want to do kind things for people we dislike or whom have hurt us. We want to get back at them -- usually in a way that will hurt them at least as much as they’ve hurt us.
I know that reaction; I’ve been there. I imagine all of us probably have at some point or another.
But before you close the blog thinking, “Aha! See? I don’t have to do any of those visualizations or prayer for that idiot. She says my feelings are understandable!” I’ll ask you to pause for a few minutes.
Einstein has been credited with saying that a problem cannot be solved on the same level on which it was created. It is necessary to approach it from a higher level. Am I taking you on a wild goose chase here? Read on….
The problems our country is dealing with are emotional and mental. Our thought patterns (fear, insecurity, anger, greed, lust – we want it all and are resentful of anything that stands in our way) fuel emotions. Intolerance, rage, hatred, fear become our way of life. And of course, we teach those patterns to our children. We hang out with others who think the same way we do -- or who are open to those belief systems. So the numbers of people believing that way and the intensity of the emotions grow.
The levels of human beings are usually seen as three or four. I prefer the four: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. (Sometimes people leave out the mental level, which is important to me as it’s our thoughts that result in our emotions.) If our country’s problems are happening at the emotional and mental levels, there is only one level above those from which it would be helpful to work towards a solution, and that is the spiritual level.
This is why I’ve been suggesting the meditative and visualization options to help with what American is currently going through. Is it the hardest? Perhaps. Unfortunately, we usually don’t see the results of spiritual practice. But that doesn’t mean there are no effects. In the cases where we don’t experience tangible evidence of our good deeds, continuing to practice them anyway is a matter of faith.
Of course, if you have no faith in a spiritual dimension or that aspect of yourself either as a human or above the human level, this may be out of the question for you. But I will share a story with you that may shift your perception….
Looking for another possibility to ask for help for ourselves, the new president, and our country?
I often say this one for the president, for his advisors and cabinet, for both houses of Congress, and for all the judges in our land, from the Supreme Court down -- including appellate courts, circuit courts, district courts, county courts, city courts, and even drug courts, mental health courts, veterans courts and any other court I can think of at the time I’m praying. That said, I always try to start with myself, so as to keep the playing field level, so to speak. I need the Light, Love and Purpose as much as any others – indeed, if I am praying for others, it is my belief that I should do my best to offer those prayers from as best a place of integrity as I am able.
Here's Alice Bailey's Great Invocation. Those of you who know this prayer will see that I have tweaked it a little. Here’s what I say:
“From the point of Light within the Mind of God,
Let Light stream forth into the minds of man, (and when I recite this I specify whom: into my mind, into the mind of the president, into the minds of his advisers and cabinet, into the minds of those in Congress, both the House and the Senate, and into the minds of all judges),
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God,
Let Love stream forth into the hearts of man, (and again, specifying if that feels right for you),
May Christ return to Earth.
From the center where the Will of God is known,
Let purpose guide the wills of man, (and I put in, that we may treat each other with respect, dignity, kindness and cooperation so that we may live together in harmony and for the benefit of all),
The purpose that that the Masters know and serve (which sometimes I leave out, as I’m not sure what purpose the Masters walking the Earth at this time hold intention for.)
From the center which is called the race of man,
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out,
And may Love, Light, Peace, Truth, Wisdom, Compassion and Balance move through this dimension, shifting us to a higher level of Being on Earth and aiding our spiritual evolution.”
(This verse my biggest departure… but very true to my sentiments.)
If the use of "man" bothers you, substitute what you'd like -- humanity, people, men and women.... I believe the intention carries more weight than the actual word.
When you feel ready, you can extend your practice of this technique to a stranger (in my case, the student I shared about a couple posts back was basically a stranger, as all I knew about her was her name). Picture the stranger as sitting across from you who has blackness surrounding his/her heart. Fill yourself with Love, then breathe in the darkness from the stranger to your Light and love-filled heart until you feel that darkness has been transmuted. Repeat as many times as feels appropriate.
From there you can progress on to “someone you hold in judgment” – and for those experiencing this response in relation to the 2016 election, this a great way to pray for the new president.
Remember that Dr. Borysenko adds that we can use Tonglen for areas of the world where there is suffering. So…. For those who are currently holding our country in judgment for the results of the 2016 election, this could be a great method for releasing anger, fear and judgment about what happened. See our national Shadow (the greed, fear, hatred, lust, violence, rage and other aspects you feel are occurring) as the black cloud around America’s heart. Breathe in that blackness to your own heart that is full of love, light and compassion (take those moments to center and fill yourself with loving kindness that radiates outward right after you start this meditation! -- That is the point from which the rest unfolds), and hold the blackness in your Light until the undesirable qualities feel like they’ve been released. Repeat as desired.
My experience has always been that I feel better when I do this. It’s a wonderful non-visible way to feel you are helping – which brings me around to the affirmation that Jacquelyn Small, LMSW, always used in her Eupsychia work:
“Let Reality govern my every thought,
And Truth be the heart of my life.
For so it must be – especially now (yes, that was part of the affirmation before the 2016 election, but could be seen as very pertinent during this post-election fall-out time),
And help me to do my part.”
Here are the ways to practice Tonglen meditation as taught by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. in Pocketful of Miracles, © 1994, pg. 422-423:
Dr. Borysenko takes us through stages of using Tonglen – starting with self, then using it with a loved one, then using it for a stranger. You can also use it with “someone you hold in judgment” and even extending into areas of the world where there is suffering.
Let’s start with using it for ourselves and for a loved one:
Start this meditation with an open heart. If you need assistance getting into this feeling state, it may help to recall a happy or sacred time you experienced. Perhaps a baby’s smile or laugh; a beautiful place in nature; an animal that is dear to you (either wild or a pet); a moment of beauty (a sunset; waterfall; rainbow; ocean waves breaking over a rocky shore; the view from a mountaintop or a beautiful garden of flowers). As you recall this experience, notice a warm sensation in your heart area and allow this to expand. Breathe in and out gently, allowing yourself to be fully present in the sensation of peace, beauty and love.
When doing Tonglen for yourself, after you have accessed the open heart, you then imagine yourself sitting facing yourself. Observe how you appear in this moment of love and beauty – radiant, peaceful, compassionate. Then become aware that there are pains, illnesses or beliefs that keep you out of touch with this sacred loving being. See that aspect of yourself as the being sitting across from you. Picture all this pain, in whatever form it may take – physical, emotional, mental or spiritual – as a thick, black smoke that surrounds the heart in the picture of yourself sitting across from you. Breathe the dark smoke into your own heart – the loving, compassionate, heart filled with beauty – then exhale, sending the peace, love and happiness into the smoke you are releasing. For me, often the dark smoke becomes light and sparkly, or sometimes even a fireworks-sort of energetic release occurs – but it may be different for you. Perhaps you just receive a “knowing” that the release has happened. At this point, that portion of the black smoke you inhaled has been transmuted into positive. You can then repeat this as many times as you wish (personally I don’t think I’ve ever done more than five times).
When doing this for a loved one, the loved one is the person sitting across from you and you visualize the black smoke around their heart. As you inhale, take in part (or all, if it all comes) of the smoke from around their heart, filling it with the love from yours, then releasing this smoke into Love and Light until it shows you in some way that the darkness is released. Repeat as you wish.
Susan C. Moyer, MSW
Is a sound healer and transformational coach. She has 25+ years experience in using alternate states of consciousness to access deeper healing on all levels: physical, psychological, mental and spiritual.