I wanted to share with you a direct experience I had of the power of compassion. This week we acknowledged Vesak – The birth, life and enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, with our annual Buddha Day celebration.
I had experienced a particularly challenging morning as most parents do from time to time with trying to get children out the door to school. I was consumed with self cherishing and that all too familiar “why me?” dialogue in my head to the point that it was all consuming.
I arrived at school much later than I had hoped and was really struggling to shake off the mornings experience, to the point where I wasn’t sure if I could participate. But the show must go on…
As part of the celebration I was to lead those gathered in 108 recitations of the Buddha of Compassion’s mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. Part of my instruction to the group before me was to try to generate loving, compassionate thoughts and send them to others as we chanted the mantra. Little did I know that this instruction was also for myself.
As I began to recite the mantra an overwhelming energetic shift came over me that I found hard to stay with. As I fought back the waves of emotion and tears and continued to recite the mantra, I felt my emotions transform from grumpy and self cherishing to peaceful, buoyant and free. An overwhelming relief as if a large black cloud had lifted leaving a warm fuzzy feeling.
I remember Jack Kornfield relaying a story of one of his students who wrote to him to say “Hey this loving-kindness stuff really works”. I can say from direct experience this week I wholeheartedly agree. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.