How often do we consider the true significance of our words? Every time a person sneezes, someone will inevitably say, “bless you”. But what does this mean?
Recently, I shared with a friend that when I walk by a person asking for money, I often respond with a blessing. His response was: who are you to bless someone? As in, am I somehow ordained to do so? Am I a priest?
I am not.
But what does it mean to offer a blessing?
Yogic tradition has the concepts of Bhakti and Shakti. Bhakti is devotional and revolves around surrender. Shakti is power. It is the creative force of the universe. Offering a blessing can be understood as both devotional and powerful.
In the devotional sense, a common way to understand blessing is asking for God’s favor and protection. But in the frame of all-powerfulness, you could consider blessing as the ultimate expression of omnipotence. Imagine yourself as the creator of everything around you. From that vantage point, it would be easy to envision that you have genuine good will towards everything you have created. It’s yours. You created it. Of course you want it to be well.
Buddhism has a practice called Metta meditation, also known as loving kindness. It is simply projecting your wishes for the well being of another. You begin with yourself and gradually expand to the people around you. Extensive research shows that this practice reduces depression and increases positive emotions.
Blessing is a similar concept and is deeply humanizing in the way that it offers a response that is both powerful and humble. Confronted by the human condition, you may indeed be helpless to do something for every person suffering on this planet. But you have the power to be fully present with each person you encounter. You have the capacity to respond with a genuine desire for their well being. This is incredibly empowering, heart opening, and uplifting. And, similar to the Metta practice, it can help you find joy in the darkest of your own challenges.
Today’s video explores the power of blessing.