Seed of Inspiration
Each Saturday we will bring you a reading from different religious, spiritual, or philosophical tradition that continues in the spirit of the Women's March. Although many of you may be Christians who have signed up to scatter seeds as your Lenten discipline, our strong commitment to hear women of all faiths and of no faith is vital to our progress as intersectional feminists. This Spiritual Saturday, we will be listening to music from the Buddhist tradition. Next week, we will share a seed from a different tradition. Whether or not your are of the featured tradition, we invite you to simply meditate on the seed with an open mind and heart.
Today we bring you a short video from the Buddhist tradition. In this video, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh shares four mantras that can transform your relationships with those you love.
Watch the very short video below attentively, and write each of the four mantras down. Then, mindfully preparing yourself for meditation as we have in previous weeks, take a few minutes to meditate on each one of the four mantras you wrote down. Imagine how might each mantra touch your life and relationships. Close your meditation with a moment of silence, gratitude, or prayer.
Seed of Action
In the spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh, we will together take time to care for our relationships this Saturday. Pick one or more of the following seeds to scatter:
- Take out your calendar. Mark days or weeks in your calendar with each of the four mantras taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, and then commit to apply them to your relationships on that day/week.
- Practice the first mantra, "Darling, I am here for you," by calling or visiting someone you love today, but haven't found the time to catch up with lately. Or maybe you simply carve out quality time with someone you love in your home.
- Just for today, when your loved ones are talking to you, make full eye contact, make sure your screens are put away, listen with your whole body, and espouse the second mantra, "Darling, I know you are there and I am so happy because you are truly there."
- Is someone you love suffering? Practice the third mantra, "Darling, I know you are suffering and that is why I am here for you," by finding a way to be with him/her by either visiting, calling, or showing your love in some other way.
- Has someone you love hurt you? Practice the fourth mantra, "Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me." Go to the loved one who has hurt you. Begin a conversation by speaking the truth in love.
Self Care Sunday
We have designated Sundays as your day off from marching for an intentional self-care practice of your choosing, so you will not receive an email tomorrow. Those of Jewish faith or with conflicting schedules may wish to take Saturday off instead, which is always okay; simply swap Saturdays and Sundays. The most important thing is not that you take up my self-care suggestion below, but that you intentionally carve out quality time for a life-giving and restorative practice on your day off to refuel you for the march ahead.
This Sunday, we suggest you give Hatha yoga a try. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. There is a broad variety of Yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The most well-known type of yoga is Hatha yoga, or just "yoga" as we call it in the west. The array of "yoga" from gentle and restorative classes to intense athletic classes that will work up a sweat. All forms, however, are moving meditations that link your breath with physical shapes.
For me personally, yoga is the most effective way I have found to practice self-care. I have tried things like going to get a pedicure for self-care, but I don't walk out changed for the better; five minutes later I've forgotten how fabulous my toes look and I'm stressed out again. I can tell you, however, that when I am regularly practicing yoga, it transforms not only my physical health, but my emotional health, spiritual health, and even relational health as well. So here's a great video by a teacher who has an entire youtube channel of free videos to get you started: