Updated: Aug 17, 2021
By Sabine Grunwald
Another shooting, terror right in my face, a toy lying on the street, a blast of a bomb, blood, shock, angst, fear, people in despair. Global news travel fast – Orlando, Baton Rouge, Nice, Munich, it goes on. It seems like random acts of heinous cruelty. But they are not random. They happen at places people go and have fun, celebrate and enjoy ordinary pleasures of life. I feel the suffering of those who lost loved ones or were injured. I hear the cries for help from those in pain. Compassion is flooding through my body. I feel a sudden release of the heaviness that was draped over my body. Then my mind asks ‘why’ is terror happening to peaceful people? I instinctively turn my head, am I safe where I am? Will I be safe tomorrow? Do I know who the person standing next to me in line really is – a friend, a loved one, an ordinary stranger, killer or psychopath? I am flooded with a rainbow of feelings – helplessness, anxiety, compassion, anger, love, indifference, and more. We all have it in us to be peaceful but sometimes peace is clouded and covered by frustration, fear, anger or anxiety that close our hearts, we blame others or worse.
I turn to the cushion and start meditating. My breath slows down, I breathe into the lower belly and my mind settles. Then I practice tonglen, a #loving-kindness #meditation. This is a practice of giving and taking (or sending and receiving). I visualize taking in the suffering of myself and of others on the in-breath. Then on the out-breath I give/send out #compassion, #kindness and well-being starting with myself, then an intimate loved one, a neutral person, a person suffering, and a person who brought harm to others. I breathe in, I #breathe out. I breathe in, I breathe out. My mind is peaceful in this moment. There is loving-kindness pouring out of my heart. This open heart is available anytime, anyplace. After the meditation I see on the Insight Timer app on my phone that while I was meditating over 5,500 people were practicing mindfulness as well. And likely hundreds of thousands others on this globe were having a mindful and peaceful moment as well. I smile and recognize that there is so much #peace, kindness and goodness in people in this world. At the UF campus we will celebrate together the International Peace Day (September 21, 2016) sponsored by #UF Mindfulness. “Peaceful mind, peaceful world.” Come and join us.