Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blessing or stressing?

Another cool concept that came from my conversation with Mary (which I wrote about on Monday) was a simple three word phrase—“blessing or stressing?”

We were talking about how we walk through the world. Do we walk through it stressing, or do we walk through it blessing?

I wrote about blessing just before Christmas, referring to The Gentle Art of Blessing by Pierre Pradervand. Always worth another look if you have a second.

But let’s talk today briefly about stressing. Juxtaposed with blessing, it’s occurring to me that stressing is actually deeply selfish, and I’m speaking as one who is frequently guilty of this mindset. When I’m stressing about something, I’m totally focused on my own problem, whatever it is, almost to the exclusion of anything else. It’s like being fixated on a snake coiled to strike, but the snake is behind a transparent piece of glass. I sense danger, and can’t take my eyes away. I feel fear accordingly. Yet the snake is harmless.

For really, when something comes our way to stress us out, there’s not much we can do about it by stressing. Stressing itself doesn’t get us anywhere toward solving the problem. In fact, it paralyzes us. Sometimes when I’m stressed, it’s all I can do to find some innocuous computer game like solitaire or mahjong and just mindlessly play for a while. But of course this gives me nothing but wasted time. The problem remains.

So eventually I have to face it and regain peace. And I can do that with internal reasoning, with prayer, with study and meditation. I can rearrange my thought into neatly rational tracks to bring calm back into the situation. Or, I can do something much more proactive. I can bless.

Blessing is instantly outward. You can’t bless alone. There has to be an object of blessing. Blessing is something you send forth, in the hopes that it will settle graciously on someone else. Blessing is good wishes for others, seeing them deserving of good, and knowing that the Divine is sending them all good all the time. Achieving this mindset puts one’s own problems into perspective. Problems are a blip compared to the enormously fulfilling activity of blessing.

I think then the pinnacle of blessing would be the ability to turn this graciousness toward the perpetrators of whatever it is that is stressing you out. This, often, is the hardest step for me, but essential to peace. If I’m blaming my stressed-out-edness on the actions of others, my quickest path to peace is to release that and instead visit blessing on them. To know that they, too, are a part of this universe of blessing, and deserve goodness as much as I do. Not always easy, but very effective at getting me to quick clicking on those computer games.

What’s the potential for blessing? If it spreads from person to person, there’s no telling how this world can change. I looked at this passage from Mary Baker Eddy differently in light of these ideas:

Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name, and never fear the consequences. … Those ready for the blessing you impart will give thanks.

--Science and Health

I caught this vision today: If I make it a point to bless millions, and they then are empowered to bless their own millions, and so on, and so on, the world will become one immeasurable ball of resonating blessing.

Today I’m realizing that I *can* bless millions. I can hold entire countries in my thought, with love and good will.

And I’m also finding it’s the best stress relief ever.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/04/2006 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often tell myself I am "too blessed to be stressed!"


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