POEM: Metta at Midnight

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Awake again
mulling over
painful events
& poor decisions,
I know that
relatively speaking
of course I am lucky
to have such paltry
problems in a week
when tornados, cyclones
and earthquakes
have killed tens
of thousands and left
five million homeless,
but I don’t want to
need the misery
of others to
make my life
seem good.
Still, the switch
with which I beat myself
temporarily loses its sting.

But I am still awake, so
I begin to send blessings
over the mountains and across the plains
to flattened towns, where suddenly
small found objects mean so much
and so little.
May you be well, may you be at ease.

I send blessings across the Pacific
to families waiting and watching
piles of shattered concrete slabs and
twisted rebar for signs of life:
May the ache in a Sichaun mother’s chest be eased.

Under the rubble, may a small pool of rainwater
be keeping a child alive until rescue comes.

May arms open to receive those
wandering aimlessly, whose homes
and worldly goods have crumpled into nothing.

May the seeds of happiness already be planted
amidst the wrenching pain.

Blessings know no boundaries,
so I am not surprised
to find I am now sending them to those
who live in war torn communities,
where fear is a constant companion:
May you find ease,
may your heart know peace.

And to those who see violence as a necessary evil:
May your hearts be softened,
May you sense your connection.

And blessing fly to lands stricken by drought
to those who sleep to forget their hunger,
and to all people everywhere who
are suffering pain in their body or mind,
to those who have recently lost the one they love best,
and those who have never had a love to lose,
and those who are sleeping in cars, under bridges,
in shelters, and those who have been abused,
and those who have lost themselves
and…oh my god, it just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

But as I breathe in the pain of the world
and breathe out loving kindness,
the hardened armor I carefully crafted to keep
the endless misery of the world at bay,
becomes porous, allowing the blessings to pour
through all the holes in a tidal exchange
until there is nothing but blessing.

So I send blessings to the leaders.
May you sense your connection to all of life
and respond with wisdom.

I send blessings to the ravaged earth.
May you heal. And to its inhabitants:
May you live in peace and know joy.

I bring my blessings home
to my own neighborhood.
On this hot night with windows and doors open,
I feel how all of us are resting together:
the birds, lizards, deer, squirrels, raccoons,
insects, and the humans behind screens
snoring or lying wakefully worrying, or
feeling a pain magnified by the night.

May we all find ease and
take comfort in knowing
that there is someone, maybe many people,
who, even though we are unknown to them,
are sending us loving kindness even now.

The threads of infinite blessings
weave a dense brilliant web,
a hammock of light.
And at last I rest.

Stephanie Noble
May 2008

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