This week I caught myself getting sucked into the Ebola fearstorm that seems to be taking over our country. As I listened to myself ranting over the latest news story, I suddenly remembered the Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves:

Was I going to feed the fear wolf or the loving wolf? It is so easy for us to get sucked into fear-based thinking. Could we instead be sharing thoughts of love & compassion instead of fear? I’ve been sharing one of my favorite meditations, known simply as LovingKindness.

“Fearful mind is the mentality of those who are still taking pleasure in hibernating in the cocoon of comfort. People come up with long lists of reasons they would like to hibernate. They complain that the world has not provided enough hospitality, so therefore they have to stay in their cocoons. Philosophers, psychologists, musicians, mathematicians, cooks, and seamstresses alike — all kinds of people with all kinds of mentalities — may have their own answers as to why they should be left in their own particular cocoons.Those of us who have left the cocoon and joined the warrior’s world always treat such would-be warriors gently. We respect them, but on the other hand, we don’t just let them lie in their cocoons forever. We gently take the cocooners out of their cocoons and we place them, instead, in the cradle of loving kindness.” — from Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (Shambhala Publications), via Ocean of Dharma

As it was taught to me, you start by settling into your breath and relaxing the body. Invite in a sense of love and kindness towards yourself and all that you feel. Now, bring to mind someone you love dearly. This should be an easy relationship – not one that sometimes struggles. As you envision this person notice the qualities they possess that you love. Their actions, their words, their presence. Then start to notice how this love feels in the body. In the heart, in the belly, in the front of the forehead, behind the eyes…

Silently, wish this person:

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be free from fear

Now bring to mind someone neutral. Someone that inspires neither love nor hate. Simply someone you encounter in your daily life. At the grocer, in the elevator… As you picture this person, remember that just like you, they too wish to be happy & healthy.

Silently, wish this person:

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be free from fear

Now, bring to mind someone you struggle with – someone who pushes your buttons or carries beliefs you disagree with. Let yourself feel all that you feel towards this person. Don’t judge. If you can, bring to mind the understanding that they too wish to be happy & healthy.

Silently, wish this person:

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be free from fear

Lastly, we widen our gaze to take in all living beings. With an open heart and mind, we wish all beings everywhere to be happy and free.

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be free from fear