Praying for me or thee

By Presearch (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What a day for prayers for peace.  I participated in the Global Meditation Project’s prayer for peace at noon EDT and then chanted again for peace for Collective Prayer Sundays–lovely.  I tried an experiment based on my challenge to those of you who are participating in CPS:  yesterday I chanted (the lovingkindness chant) for myself, at noon today I chanted for Earth, and late this evening when I participated in CPS I first chanted 10 minutes for myself and then 10 minutes for Earth.

The challenge grew out of my experience over some years with the lovingkindness chant.  As previously mentioned, traditionally the chanting is done in a series, first chanting for yourself, then loved ones, then people you don’t like, then enemies (with my students I divide that into people you know and don’t like and people you don’t know but don’t like [such as president, dictator, actor, etc.], then the world, then all sentient beings.  For the first years that I chanted, I spent very little time on chanting for myself out of some sense that a “good” person should chant for others and not so selfish as to chant for self.

Five or six years ago I had a sort of epiphany that led me to chant only for myself most of the time.  So many things changed for me with that one small shift.  First of all, I soon realized that chanting for myself expanded my heart so much that it really changed the quality of chanting for others for the better.  For a long time when I chanted for myself I’d become choked up or openly start sobbing.  I realized I’d just about never been that kind or caring toward myself and it tapped into a deep well of emotions about my worthiness and need for love.

The more I expanded and felt my heart glow and vibrate from the chanting the more I understood that oneness means there’s really no difference between chanting for myself and chanting for others.  So my basic experience in the chanting I did the last two days was that there was very little difference for me in how it felt to chant only for myself (20 minutes) or only for Earth (15 minutes) but when I chanted first for myself (10 minutes) and then for the Earth (10 minutes) I felt much more expanded and full when I came to the second part, where I chanted for Earth — and I would say I was much more expanded by the end of 20 minutes total than I was last Sunday when I chanted 30 minutes just for Earth.

Like I said, there’s no right or wrong to this.  All of that is just my experience.  I’m very interested to hear whether anyone tried the challenge and, if so, how it felt to you.  As always, please tag with CollPraySun — and mentioning the page: so that people can get the skinny on this effort to spread prayers for peace around the world will be much appreciated!

2 thoughts on “Praying for me or thee

  1. Leigh,
    I love this journey you took with chanting. I am studying Kristen Neff’s Self-Compassion which echoes many of the realizations you had.
    I did my meditation for CPS, but I keep forgetting to write and publish a post to direct people here. I’ll set one up for this Friday. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

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