It’s the 4th of July and with everyone’s attention turned towards freedom, flags, and independence, I’m thinking about freedom, prayer flags, and interdependence… and sending these wishes out to all beings.
This is the classical mindfulness practice of loving-kindness or metta meditation. Mindful Schools translates this practice as, “heartfulness.” Susan Kaiser Greenland calls it, “sending friendly wishes.” You can see kids practicing in this short video.
We begin by picturing someone who loves us and feeling their love flowing into us. Stay with this feeling for a moment. Then repeat short verses such as:
May I be peaceful.
May I be safe.
May I be free.
Now that we are filled up with this warm, safe feeling, we’re ready to share it. Imagine sending out this feeling — from your heart to someone you love. Picture the person or animal you’ve selected and repeat the verses for them. May Prudence be peaceful, safe, and free…
But we can’t stop there! Because my freedom, safety, and peace is inextricably tied to yours, next we send loving-kindness to all beings: May all beings be peaceful, safe, and free…
One way to bring this practice into your home is by making metta prayer flags. We’re using this fun, kid-friendly tutorial from Future Craft Collective:
We’re writing short words and phrases on the white panels: kindness, peace, love, homes, clean air, fresh water, joy. Then repeating our wishes/verses as we stitch them to to the colorful panels:
May all beings have clean air.
May all beings have fresh water…
We’ll hang them in the garden and let the wind carry our wishes out into the world. We’ll also share this project with the Children’s Program at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center this Sunday… and hope to see you and your family there. In the meantime, may you and all beings enjoy peace, safety, and freedom this 4th of July.