The Practice of Blessing

To offer a blessing, is a spiritual practice. It is perhaps, one of the highest...

The Talmud says, "It is forbidden to taste of the pleasures of this world without a blessing."

While some traditions teach that only certain persons can offer blessings, the truth is, everyone can offer one. And when we do, everything becomes a blessing...

I thought of this, as I drove around, and saw a man suspended up high, doing pole utility maintenance. This work is dangerous - and it is a service this man renders to us to make our lives more comfortable. I spontaneously offered him a blessing, and asked that he be kept safe - that he be returned to his loved ones.

I also thought of this, when my breath was taken away as a driver cut me off on the beltway this afternoon, as I was returning home from the most delicious class in restorative yoga. I restrained my first reaction, and offered a blessing instead, thus choosing to remain in the beautiful energy of my class, where my teacher invited us to become intimate with the Divine...

I found myself blessing all the animals I walked by, and even the people on the news. Truly, everyone needs a blessing...

When we meditate, pray, practice yoga, or offer our services - we can enrich these practices and bring more meaning to them, if we wrap them in our blessings...

For those of the Jewish faith, a blessing prayer is called a "brakha." Observant Jews offer a blessing for everything under the sun, and I thought to myself, what a beautiful world this would be - if we all did this...

I have a dear friend who offers blessings all the time. She once shared with me, that her mother goes out into her garden and blesses her plants and flowers every day.

When we bless others, we are as much transformed by the blessing - if not more - than our recipients are. Blessings have the power to shift our consciousness profoundly.

The last chapter of the book, An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor, was appropriately titled, "The Practice of Pronouncing Blessings." This world needs our blessings, but so do we - because we are as much enriched by them as anyone else is.

We should bless beginnings and bless endings, and that which is animate and inanimate. We should bless the living and the dead. We should bless our teachers, our friends, and our family - those we love - but most especially those who challenge in us in so many ways - for they bring us blessings wrapped up and disguised as needed lessons.

The more we practice, the more we realize everything is connected - and the more we become aware, as I taught many students recently, that "life is practice, and practice is life."

Barbara Brown Taylor ends her book in this way:

"...I hope you can think of at least...many more ways to celebrate your own priesthood, practiced at the altar of your own life. As the love poet of all time [Rumi] reminds us both,

Today like every other day we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Love and blessings to you!

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