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Become an instrument of love

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By Ingrid Crane

Primitive tribes throughout the world have great reverence for the Earth and a deep connection to the Source of All Life. We, on the other hand, are so sophisticated that we have forgotten who we are.

We’re so caught up with our ego-self and getting and spending; greed has consumed us and no one is ever satisfied. We criticize and judge and create disharmony within and around us. This impacts our immune system.

Creation is ever-abundant and yet we think in terms of lack. As a New Year dawns, may we wake up and pay attention. We have the ability to choose how we think.

Think in terms of cooperation rather than conflict. Get back to basics. Simplify on all levels and then study yourself.

This is called svadhyaya in Sanskrit. It is a valuable practice of observing our thoughts and behavior, our habits and patterns. This is how meditation deepens.

One of the great 20th century meditation teachers was Ecknath Easwaran. He suggested that before sitting for meditation, you read a short passage of inspiring spiritual literature from any of the world’s religions. Concentration on these sacred words drives them deep into the mind, and whatever we drive deep into consciousness, that we become.

One of my favorites, which I recite often, is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, which begins “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

Contemplating these words melts your heart and you are filled with compassion and serenity.

As you integrate meditative awareness into regular daily activities, practice generosity, kindness and love. Cultivate patience. Acknowledge every good deed. Forgive shortcomings. Be grateful for everything and everyone.

And most of all stay connected to the Source of All Life. Worship. This gift of life is precious and the beauty that surrounds us is abundantly present – we just fail to notice.

Dare to expand your awareness on the positive side of life. Whatever change you want to see in the world – be that.

Let us put aside our differences and elevate our consciousness to a level of harmony and peace. That way our energy raises the collective consciousness, another reminder of how we are all interconnected, woven together in this beautiful web of life.

As we inaugurate a new president, let us be open to the possibility that he will serve us well. The name Barack in some African and Arab languages means “blessing.”

May we be blessed with peace and prosperity.

Ingrid Crane practices yoga, Thai massage and Reiki and conducts free classes in Sholom Park from May to November.