SAFE and EFFECTIVE FINANCIAL DONATIONS to HAITI
My web home page is the New York Times, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that the images of injured children, devastation and large numbers of bodies being scooped and dumped by trucks have not taken their toll on my heart-mind. This is a most challenging time for Haitians all over the world. This is most likely an understatement and one that I may never, and definitely hope to never, understand the true depth of. The New York Times has a list of organizations currently accepting donations and you can access it here: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/haiti-disaster-relief-how-to-contribute/?scp=12&sq=giving%20and%20haiti&st=cse
I want to offer Yoga Matrika blog readers some links to organizations that are accepting donations:
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
PARTNERS in HEALTH
Obviously, there is GREAT need and money is a type of energy that we can send directly to these organizations who can make sure that care is provided to the almost 3 million survivors of this most terrible earthquake.
What else can be done? We can meditate.
There is a very important kind of Buddhist meditation that can be practiced by anyone, of any religion, any time, any place. Human suffering in Haiti (you can read this Human Rights report to find out more) did not begin with this earthquake and there is suffering all around you—sadness, hunger, violence, inequity, pain. While it is easy to focus on the pain and suffering that is shocking and remarkable, this meditation asks us to to focus on human suffering in general. This meditation gives us power to acknowledge our own suffering, to wish something better for ourselves and to extend this wish to everyone, everywhere who is experiencing suffering.
It can be overwhelming to accept that last week, before this earthquake, in Haiti, there were children being kidnapped (according to the Human Rights Watch report, as many as one kidnapping daily) and food riots as so many people were starving to the point of violence. The United Nations estimated in 2008 that there were 170,000 children employed in domestic labor and only 50% of primary school aged children go to school with only 2% of the population finishing high school. The reality is that there is great need and tremendous suffering in Haiti and around the world. Rather than turn away, we have an opportunity and an obligation to face this pain and draw on the strength of our practice to build compassion and create peace and beautiful wishes for all living beings.
MAKING A WISH: Loving-Kindness Meditation for Haiti and all Living Beings
STEP 1: Sit quietly in a chair or on the floor (if this is comfortable for you)
STEP 2: Notice the quality of your breath and do a scan of your body from your toes through the crown of your head, just noticing how you feel, any sensations in your body and places that feel open or closed.
STEP 3: Make a sincere wish for your own safety, happiness, health and well-being. You can use phrases such as: May I Be Free of Fear and Harm; May I Be Content as I Am; May I Be at Peace with What Comes. Or, you can just make an honest wish for yourself in your own words that is meaningful to you.
STEP 4: Extend this wish gently to all living beings starting with the people that you care about the most, see them all bathed in the light of your sincere wish. Then, extend this wish to all the people that you know, including neighbors, friends, colleagues, the person who serves your coffee in the morning. Then, extend this wish to everyone in your city, state and country. Take your time. Be honest in your wish and sincere in your desire that everyone be granted this wish.
Step 5: Call into your mind’s eye Haiti and the world. See the light and energy of your beautiful wish bathing Haiti and the entire world in a beautiful light. Be sincere in your wish that all living beings in Haiti be granted peace, health and freedom from pain and suffering.
This is different from prayer in that you are sending energy not from a higher being, but from your own heart and mind to everyone who might need it. Although our American culture has made a commitment to certain beliefs about time and space, this meditation teaches us that we are also humans with energy that knows no boundaries and we have power to release energy in ways that defy these artificial boundaries we have created or believe in.
To Haiti and to everyone in the world who is in pain, suffering, sad, lonely, thirsty, hungry or in need. Please know that there is a little woman and a strong community of yogis here in Pittsburgh who sit in the quiet power of our minds and send you light, love and happiness. May you receive our solemn wish for relief and may it give you comfort and strength as you move forward into life.