Washing Hands

There is a lot of frequent hand washing these days.  I think it is a practice that will be done more often even after the threat of the pandemic eases.  The idea of time spent washing hands has made me think of Thich Nhat Hanh.  In his book “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment” he talks about making even the most benign tasks a meditative moment and a moment to be in gratitude.  His suggestion for washing hands is: 

Water flows over these hands,

May I use them skillfully

To preserve our precious planet

He also suggests that each time we turn on the facet to have a moment of gratitude for fresh water flowing out of the facet. It is a gift that is often taken for granted and it is life sustaining. 

Another idea that he presents in his book “Peace is Every Step” is to really look at your hands and see your ancestors.  He tells the story of a friend who was parting from his mother.  She held his hand and told him:  “Whenever you miss me, look into your hand, and you will see me immediately.” Washing hands could be that moment of contemplation.  Do you have hands like your mother or more like your father? Think of all of your ancestors who have come before you to create the hands you have in front of you. 

 It could also be a moment of gratitude for all that we can do because we have these hands.  The hands are truly one of the most amazing tools in the universe.  I hope these ideas give you something new to think about the next (more frequent) time you wash your hands.

To discover more about Thich Nhat Hanh go to http://www.plumvillage.org

Metta Meditation

One of the most beautiful ways to meditate is by doing a metta meditation.  Metta actually means ‘loving kindness’.  It can be done as a way to nourish yourself or a loved one.  It can also be done for someone you don’t know well like your favorite barista or grocery clerk.  It is also done for the world at large. At a time like this it really resonates with me and I am not alone in feeling this way. I have been generously included in a daily metta with a group of yogis from Prairie Yoga in Lisle, IL.  My dear friend, Jen Botka, has been leading her senior yoga class via text in a daily moment of metta which also includes 3 OMs and 3 deep breaths since the quarantine began. It’s a 5 minute pause in the day to send love and wellbeing out to the universe.  If you would like to join us, set an alarm for yourself for 3:00 pm central, 4:00 pm eastern, 2:00 pm mountain and 1:00 pacific.  Find a quiet place and place hands at the heart.  Connect to your breath and allow the mind to quiet.  Repeat these phrases to yourself and add 3 OMs and deep breaths if you like.  

May all sentient beings be mentally happy

May all sentient beings be physically happy

May all sentient beings be safe

May all sentient beings have ease of well being

On any given day you could change the wording to accomodate what you need.  If you need some lovingkindness for yourself, change the wording to: May I be mentally happy…

If you know a loved one that is in need change it to: May John Smith be mentally happy…Etc.

Let me know if you are joining in and spread the word! It’s what the world needs right now