Breathe – Love – Pray for Inner Peace
Creating a bit of inner peace in this crazy world takes a bit of effort on my part. Here are three of my favorite contemplative practices for peace. Each of them are simple and require nothing fancy or expensive. Breathe – Love – Pray!
When I say ‘breathe’ I mean meditatively focusing on my breath. I collect and create guided breathing meditations like some people collect curios. If you like, try this simple and peaceful opportunity to breathe.
At your own pace, begin by breathing in deeply …
and breathing out completely…
Breathing in … and out…
Noticing your breath
as you gently breathe in as deeply as you like…
Then breathe out completely…
Breathing in… and out…
Gently breathe in … and out …
in a slow comfortable rhythm.
Sometimes it’s easy to be loving, and other times, not so much. That’s when I practice a simple loving kindness metta I learned ages ago. The intention of loving kindness practices is to deepen one’s ability to be compassionate. It is unconditional love, offered to all. I was taught to begin with one’s self, then extend lovingkindness to someone or a group of people who are challenged or difficult to love, and then to offer loving kindness to all beings. As written below, try to repeat each stanza three times. Personalize the second stanza with your own challenging person or people.
I send lovingkindness to me. I send lovingkindness to me. I send lovingkindness to me.
I send lovingkindness to _________________. I send lovingkindness to
_________________. I send lovingkindness to
I send lovingkindness to all beings. I send lovingkindness to all beings. I send lovingkindness to all beings.
For more about loving kindness, you might enjoy these resources:
- Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
I don’t think it is possible to write about prayer in a way that honors everyone’s beliefs and traditions. Your practice will depend upon your personal beliefs. My prayer practices are best described as inter-faith. Here’s my favorite prayer for peace:
The Peace Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Source: Peace Prayer of Saint Francis, Loyola Press, retrieved 4/11/19.
Breathe – Love – Pray
What do you do when you need to bolster your sense of inner peace? I hope you will share your practices and insights with us, in the comment section below.