All Will Be Well
Week Fourteen Summary and Practice
Sunday, April 4—Friday, April 9, 2021
Resurrection and renewal are, in fact, the universal and observable pattern of everything.
Our sister and ancestor Julian is eager not only to speak to us today but to shout at us—albeit in a gentle way—to wake up and to go deep, to face the darkness and to dig down and find goodness, joy and awe. —Matthew Fox
And so what I saw most clearly was that love is his meaning. God wants us to know that he loved us before he even made us, and this love has never diminished and never will. —Julian of Norwich
We must take comfort in the essential article of our faith that teaches us not to give into our negative impulses, but to draw strength from Christ, who is our defender against all harm. We need to stand up against evil, even if to do so causes discomfort. —Julian of Norwich
Julian speaks out about womanhood and about mothering and about the Divine Mother. She insists on the feminine side of God as imbuing not only God the Creator, but God the Liberator, and God the Spirit. —Matthew Fox
All those who are on the spiritual path contain the whole of creation, and the Creator. That is because God is inside us, and inside God is everything. And so whoever loves God loves all that is. —Julian of Norwich
Buddhist loving-kindness (or metta) practice counteracts the sense of powerlessness that contributes to the anxiety of not experiencing that “all will be well.” Metta practice also awakens compassion and reminds us of our interdependence. It can be an antidote to the usual selfish sense of happiness which prioritizes our wellbeing and ignores or denies responsibility for the wellbeing of others. I offer this version of loving-kindness practice adapted from meditation teacher Steven Smith.
We begin with loving ourselves, for unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it is difficult to extend it to others. Then we include others who are special to us, and ultimately, all living things. Gradually, both the visualization and the meditation phrases blend into the actual experience, the feeling of loving kindness. . . .
Take a very comfortable posture. . . . Begin to focus around . . . your “heart center,” breathing in and out from that area. Next, evoke a kind feeling toward yourself. Drop beneath [any areas of self-judgment or self-hatred] to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.
Continuing to breathe in and out, use either these traditional phrases or ones you choose yourself. Say or think them several times.
May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be happy.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.
Next, move to a person who most invites a feeling of loving kindness in you, and repeat the phrases for this person:
“May she/he be free from inner and outer harm and danger. . . . ”
Now move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel tenderness, loving care for their welfare.
Now, repeat the phrases for someone you have difficulty with—hostile feelings, resentments. . . . If you have difficulty doing this, you can say before the phrases, “To the best of my ability I wish that you be. . . . ” If you begin to feel ill will toward this person, return to the benefactor and let loving kindness arise again. Then return to this person. . . .
Finally, extend loving kindness out to all beings, using phrases such as these:
May all beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously.
May all living beings be healed and whole, content and fulfilled.
May all individuals have whatever they need.
May all beings in existence have safety, happiness, health, joy, and peace.
Abide in silence for a few more breaths, then journal about your experience, if you like.
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
Adapted from Steven Smith, Loving-Kindness Meditation, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.