May you be free from danger
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease

I think “may” is a fine word.  It’s about sending out a wish that the powers of the universe allow something to happen.  I’m not gritting my teeth and muttering “This will happen” or “I’ll make it happen”.  No, it’s a completely different type of energy, hands open rather than fisted, a deep letting go.

The Buddha taught the world the phrases you see above, and they’ve been voiced by countless people over the centuries.  The practice is called “metta”, and has been described as a warm rain falling gently upon all of us – no one left out.  It’s also referred to as lovingkindness.

I’ve practiced metta in many locales, including between periods at London’s hockey arena.  I wander the concourse, past the long lineups for burgers and beer, and simply say the words silently, wishing everyone well.  Only the occasional person looks back, and that’s fine.  I don’t need to be recognized and acknowledged for what I’m doing.  It’s not about anything good coming back to me.  But of course good does return my way, as an effortless flow.


May you be free from danger

Every day I inject a syringe of Fragmin into Jody’s stomach to dissolve her blood clots.  And many times Jody has been in pain as a result.  It makes me very sad, and scared about the next time.  I do my best and sometimes that’s not good enough.  Jody, may you be free from pain and the danger of cancer.  I pray.  And there is a kind of benign response returning to me from … somewhere.

May you be happy

I have a friend who’s depressed.  Trevor is sad about some poor decisions he’s made in life – financial, interpersonal, self-critical.  His conversation is often peppered with little digs at himself.  He doesn’t like being around other people, especially large numbers of them.  He’s lonely.  Trevor, may you see that you’re a struggling human being, just like the rest of us, no better and no worse.  May you forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and look to the future with a smile.

May you be healthy

My friend Marie suffers from multiple sclerosis.  She used to host Jody and me at dinner parties, where she’d smile up a storm and regale us with tales of life in France.  Now she’s in a nursing home where she has little shortterm memory and needs heavy care.  Marie, may health return to your body and soul.  Even if the disease continues its progression, may you enjoy good times with your family and friends.

May you live with ease

I know a man who supervises many employees.  Whether as a result of his childhood or more recent traumas, he wraps himself up with tension, and feels the need to restrict the freedom of others.  As powerful as he is, fear follows him everywhere.  Peter, may you come to breathe easy and trust the gifts of those around you to get the job done.  And may you walk softly in the world.


Hand in hand
Heart to heart
Soul to soul
Come what may

Silent Poet Klaus

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