How about — to affirm our underlying oneness with all beings.
This may sound like quite a leap, but today I had an experience that brought this truth home to me in a very unique and unexpected way.
Let me explain how.
I never minded sending healing prayers after meditation when I first learned how to meditate. I would take part in daily yoga and meditation at the Expanding Light Retreat, and at the end the sadhana leader would say, “Let’s end this meditation with healing prayers.”
I would happily follow along.
After I returned home I continued to make healing prayers part of my practice after meditation — in part, I admit, because they reminded me of sadhana at Ananda Village and therefore made me feel closer to “home.”
But I never understood why we do them — and hadn’t really thought to ask — until today.
This evening I had a lot on my mind. Applying for new jobs, with a potential short-term contract coming up that would pay well but might require me to be on call night and day (and maybe distract from my still-new meditation practice) — I was beginning to be worried.
While waiting for a friend to call me, I thought I might as well meditate. Not for very long — say 10 minutes.
So I got out my little bench and set the timer on my iPhone for 10 minutes.
I didn’t think the meditation went very long or deep — my mind kept wandering to my worries.
When the meditation ended I thought, “It was so short and not very deep — why do healing prayers?” But something encouraged me to go on with them.
So I reflexively brought my hands up and started visualizing loved ones who came to mind, surrounding them with beautiful golden light, seeing them fully whole and healthy in every way and full of joy.
There is an invocation you can use if it appeals to you,
Divine Mother, Thou art omnipresent
Thou art in all Thy children
Thou art in these souls
Manifest Thy healing presence in their bodies, minds and souls
AUM… AUM… AUM…
The images that came to me were of two of my dearest friends, people I love deeply, and as I ended the prayer, I had an experience of feeling as though light were pouring through my body and my hands, bonding me and these friends, almost as though a sweet magnetic current were pouring through me.
The prayers long over, I wanted to put my hands down, but I was mindful of Swami’s caution to honor experiences when they happen because sometimes they don’t return for a long time.
Still feeling the light flowing, I kept my hands up and let the light keep flowing. It felt lovely… as though every dearest wish I’d had for my friends was blossoming for them.
Somewhere in the middle of this experience, something “clicked” in my mind and I could feel with great clarity —
— that there was no difference between the beloved ones I was praying for, and myself.
We were, on the very deepest level, completely one —
I was feeling the light because I was literally sending light to myself, even though it was their bodies I was visualizing.
This was relatively easy for me to begin to feel because they are very close friends —
— but as the clarity unfolded I realized that this deep oneness extends to everyone we pray for — even the whole world, when with our thoughts and actions surround the globe with light.
There is no difference because we are fundamentally one with everything that is.
When we send out bliss and light after meditation, we are not somehow sending away the “good stuff” we’ve accumulated, to some other destination in some other soul.
Nor are we merely focusing on light and healing, although that is good too.
Rather, we are actively affirming our oneness with all souls, all beings – by sharing what we have gained in meditation we affirm that whenever we gain, others gain too, because we are one.
I feel deeply that this practice brings us into harmony with all creation on a level I am only beginning to understand — though I see its results in the kindness and helpfulness people extend to one another in the Ananda communities.
“How can we not be kind to one another — we are one another,” I thought.
Finally, as the sense of flowing energy began to subside and I wondered, “Can I put my hands down now?” I realized something.
When I had ended my “actual” meditation I had still felt agitated.
After nearly another 10 minutes of “just” giving light to others…
I felt completely calm.
In fact, I felt pretty blissful. The worries that were plaguing me had taken flight.