An Experiment in Prayer and Art

Jul 23, 2009

[ Photo of wall-sized painting by Jonathan Mason ]

Good things happen in the most unexpected places!  After a beautiful Wednesday night, with a surprise guest speaker, we were all feeling the love as Jonathan, Pancho, Sachi and I were carpooling back.  It must've been past 1AM, when Jonathan turns to us and says: "I have to tell you a story.  Everytime I think of this story, I just start to cry.  That's why, I think I should do something about it and perhaps you guys can help."  It's the story of Jonathan -- an incrediblly gifted artist  -- drawing a post-card for a terminally ill child, as an expression of his deepest prayer for the child's goodwill.  "I just feel like I melted, and I'd like to share that experience with others."

We dialogued a bit: "So you draw a post-card for someone in need of a prayer?"  "Exactly."  "I can't draw, but it's the intention that matters, right?"  "Absolutely.  You could even do stick-figures."  "Can I do a poem?"  Yeah, any expression is fair game.  Most important is to feel the goodwill in your heart."  "Ok, so, then, all four of are game!"  "Can we just implement this tomorrow?"  "Let's do it!"

"Incidentally, a friend of mine is going through a really rough patch.  Why don't we just start sending a prayer to their family?" I say as I share the letter that I had received earlier in the day:

You may or may not know this but Amit's mom has been undergoing chemo over the past several months.  She has stage 4 cancer that has spread from her breasts to other parts of her body.  Amit has been going to Phoenix--pretty much on a weekly basis to be with his mom and to give his Dad support.  The good news is that Bhanu Auntie is a very strong lady and is loved very much by her husband, Madhu Uncle, and her two boys, Amit and Tushar.

Early yesterday morning, Madhu Uncle had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance because he had a stroke and an aneurysm!  The details are sketchy at the moment since none of us are medical professionals, but we do know that Madhu Uncle (a prominent and busy pediatrician himself) had at least one surgery yesterday to relieve pressure to his brain.  The prognosis is unknown at this point, but he remains in a coma.

As you can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family.  I guess I am writing to all of you to keep Uncle and Auntie in your hearts and prayers for a speedy recovery--as well as Amit and Tushar to give them strength to get through these challenges.

Amit didn't ask me to send you an email, but I took it upon myself because I just figured the more good vibes they get the better.  I wish we could give him a million Smile Cards right now.  (I love you Amit).

By 4AM in the morning, Jonathan had already gone home and emailed us how this would work:

Get info on the person who needs help, the particulars of the situation perhaps a picture of them.
Next step is to do a Metta practice -- a Buddhist meditation in which loving kindness is sent to all beings in all realms of existance -- for the person(s) in which you see them clearly in your minds eye and then imagine surrounding them with intense love, positive healing spiritual energy and light.  Hold this intention for a little while until you can feel the flow continuously.
Then you can create a physical creation of this blessing in the form of a get well card, a poem, a collage, any form of art that can inspire.  Your level of artistic ability doesn't matter; if you put enough love and postive energy into the object you create,  even stick figures will have a uplifting effect on the person. This object can also serve as a reminder of the transmission that occured during the metta practice actually reviving the energy every time it is viewed.

The primary key to this practice is creating a strong intention/energy of love to flow towards the person. It has been shown that sending such powerful healing energy of love has the ability to not only create a positive impact of the person, but it changes your neural activity too.
Have fun with this.  It is a beautiful practice that I have benefitted from.  And thank you so much for your intentions!

So we decided, right then and there, to make this happen the next day itself.  Four of us were going to hold Amit's family in our heart, express our goodwill through a post-card, scan it in and post it up on this blog entry, and maybe even mail it directly to the family.

If you feel moved to join, please do!  Simply leave us a comment below and we'll write back to you with info on uploading your expression of art.  In the next day or two, we will post four of our expressions in the comments below too.

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."