By Sharon Gannon
Many years ago, I received a letter from a person who was considered by many to be a saint. The letter didn’t open with a normal, “Dear Sharon,” instead it was: “Dear me in the form of you.” Wow that really rocked my world for a while, plummeting me into a deep contemplation on the age-old questions: who am I and who are you?
No matter how many good deeds you do or the many profound and intelligent thoughts you have or words you may say, what people will remember most about you is how you made them feel. If you really want to be loved by others, it is helpful to learn ways to make others feel good. Learning how to give blessings is a powerful means to transform your world and the world of others. When you say their name and give them a blessing in a sincere, loving way you both fall into love—dissolved into the universal heart, your own true eternal being. Uttering the name of someone gives you tremendous power. Most people can’t help but respond when their name is called. When you daily give blessings to specific people, over time you can transform those people and yourself in into holy beings.
The best way to offer blessings to others is anonymously, because then you don’t run the risk of inflating your ego, which could happen if you were to give the blessings in person. Also it would probably prove to be an impossible task if you were to actually contact people “in person” or even by phone or email to bless them. But since they live inside of you anyway, the most direct means to contact them is to go within your own mind and heart to connect to them.
There is great power in giving blessings, not just for the recipient of the blessings, but also for the one giving the blessings—you! To bless someone is to enchant them. Through the act of blessing, unconditional love is transmitted energetically from one body to another. By blessing another you can transform them into an angel-like holy being. When you give a blessing you become a channel for Divine love, and because the blessing has to come through you first, you also become blessed in the process. When Mahatma Gandhi gave his advice, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” he was reminding us that there is no reality that exists separately outside of us.
Here is how the “Blessing Meditation” works: Set aside some time; morning is usually best for most people. Sit down comfortably, close your eyes and become aware of your breathing, feel each time there is breathing in and breathing out. Start with the people you know and love, as it is easier to give a blessing to them. Silently say the words, “Blessings to” as you inhale, and as you exhale say the name of someone. Continue for several minutes, extending your blessings to include your family, friends, teachers, employers, employees and even past boy- or girlfriends. You will find that as you say their names their image will appear to you. With consistent practice, after a while you will be able to not only see them but also to feel their presence when you name them. Over time difficult issues that you may have with them will begin to resolve. Eventually you will find that when and if you do encounter them physically, like running into them on the street or in a grocery store, your relationship with them has magically and dramatically changed—you will feel that there is a new ease and mutual respect in your interactions with each other. They will seem friendlier towards you. You will be surprised to find that even when they make an appearance in your dreams they will appear as a benevolent, positive presence.
But don’t expect immediate results. Patience is important when you are cultivating your new reality. Every action, whether it is as subtle as a thought or more formed as a word or deed is like a seed being planted in soil. Seeds take time to grow. When the seeds you have planted begin to sprout you will enjoy watching how the people around you will begin to grow and blossom into the people you wish them to be and you will discover yourself as the person you always knew you could be. Ultimately, your whole world can become populated with holy, blessed beings.
Sharon Gannon is the co-creator with David Life of the Jivamukti Yoga Method, a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings. A student of Brahmananda Sarasvati, Swami Nirmalananda, and K. Pattabhi Jois, she is a pioneer in teaching yoga as spiritual activism and is credited for making yoga cool and hip—relating ancient teachings of yoga to the modern world. Sharon is a musician and is a featured vocalist on many CDs including Sharanam, which is her solo album. She has produced numerous yoga-related DVDs and is the author of several books, including Jivamukti Yoga, The Art of Yoga, Cats and Dogs are People Too!, and Yoga and Vegetarianism. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Toward 2012, Arvana V: Music, Magic and Mysticism, What comes after Money, Semiotexte and Yoga Journal. She writes a monthly essay called the Focus of the Month, which can be read at: jivamuktiyoga.com