The Parisian tragedy continues to make headlines. Internationally, compassionate waves abound. When pain rages, words are missing, questions invade our minds, I believe it is more important than ever to stop, and meditate.
I still have much work to do on meditation, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Meditation and suffering
Why meditate when it is often the last thing we want to do? First, not to spread even more suffering. It’s too easy when we are angry to talk and act too quickly, spreading even more seeds of suffering to others. I think about reactions that condemn too quickly religions, or social movements with petitions that ban entry to my country, Canada, for people who might be in need of asylum, based on a fear reaction.
We should also meditate to try to understand our pain and live it. Not to be indifferent. Doing so opens the doors of compassion for all other beings who are suffering.
Meditation also brings inner peace. We become at peace, and being peace, we propagate its action.
Lastly, to act with zen, compassion, and courage. On a personal level, we have to look at where we can improve in non-violence, and avoid spreading suffering through our consumption and our actions, becoming a little better every day. Then, together, we can act peacefully such as signing petitions that go toward that direction. We can show our disagreement with forms of violence and war. There was a G20 meeting where we heard echoes of a “very strong, very hard” response, and we should not adopt measures that will generate even more suffering.
Some ways of meditating with suffering
1. A few times a day, we should stop to live our suffering. Let our emotions come and go. If we feel like crying, we do it.
2. Analyze if suffering comes from our ego or empathy. If this is the ego, we could do our best to put it aside. For example, I did not know about the tragedy and I posted a joke on Friday the 13th. I felt bad when I heard the sad news moments later, but I forgave myself, for I didn’t know, I erased it, and concentrated on the real drama.
3. Live peace here and now. Give our comfort the best we can to the victims’ relatives. And continue to live. We are incredibly lucky to be alive, we should savor it.
4. Transform our suffering for a better planet. We can think about the suffering beings, offer our thoughts and acts of compassion, and offer true solutions.
Meditation is an internal and external tool for peace. We could all benefit from it.
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