I am currently concentrating my studies on Pema Chödrön’s book The Places That Scare You, A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. I have many books on this topic and this one is perhaps the most readable. That is not to say it is easy.
One of the things she teaches is to bless this world and the creatures in it. It’s a sort of a fake it until you make it notion. When fear afflicts us we are likely to consider our blessings to be hollow and meaningless. She tells us that offering blessings in spite of that fear creates a shift in our sense of identity.
When I feel particularly needy I remind myself to say, “May every creature’s needs be met.” I’m one of those creatures so I am automatically included in the blessing.
Acts of courage, we are told, draw the attention of angels, perhaps like the angel in Melissa’s beautiful painting. The extended arm might be reaching toward me for all I know.
Meditation, as I understand it, often makes things worse before they get better. This is because we deliberately notice what is going on in our thoughts and attitudes. We penetrate the layers of denial. We become less interested in distracting ourselves. This shift intensifies our need to offer blessings to the world, and to include ourselves in that scenario.
Imagine if lots of us offered blessings to the world. What sort of changes might we see?