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Gatha on Looking Deeply into Violence and Hatred

photo by Paul Davis

This gatha was written on July 9, 2016, in response to the killings a few days earlier of two black men by police officers: Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile of St. Paul, Minnesota. These shootings were closely followed by the killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith.

Breathing in, I am aware of my breath in my body.

Breathing out, I am really here to the violence and hatred of today.

Breathing in, I follow my breath fully and see clearly into the heart of this moment.

Breathing out, I am aware that my breath and my body unite me with all beings.

Breathing in, I am aware of my feelings.

Breathing out, I hold these feelings gently.

Breathing in, looking deeply, I see that my tears are the tears of many others.

Breathing out, I am home here and now, embracing this suffering tenderly.

Breathing in, I breathe in for all those who cannot.

Breathing out, I breathe out for all those who cannot.

Breathing in, I listen deeply in this moment. 

Breathing out, I recognize the energy of compassion is born from my suffering.

Breathing in, I know love has the power to heal and transform.

Breathing out, I know love has the power to heal and transform.

–Valerie Brown

If at the beginning of your meditation you do not feel ready to face the violence and hatred in the world you can practice simply being aware of your breath and calming your body and mind for some minutes before you bring to mind the violence in the world.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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