This past weekend I had a rather distressing experience. It all started on Thursday morning when my best friend Olga called me from Florida to ask if I had heard anything from our other best friend Alfiya (yes I am lucky to have so many ‘best friends’!). You see, Alfiya lives in Japan and Japan had just registered a massive earthquake. Besides Alfiya I have two other very dear friends, Osho and Fergal, who were in Tokyo. As cliched as this may sound everything changed in that one moment. The realization that we could loose our friends so suddenly, with no warning knocked the air out of me.
Eventually we heard from them. They were very scared but alive and safe. Feeling utterly helpless I promised my friends I would pray for them and hung up. And at that moment I realized I didn’t even know how to pray. Having grown up in Belarus, a country that was formerly communist, I did not spend my Sundays in Church. And then as I grew older I began to lean more towards meditation rather than prayer. What was I to do? How could I help my friends?
As with everything in life the answer to a question will come to you when you need it. And with that faith in my heart I headed to the Sivananda Yoga Center in Manhattan for my Sunday night Satsang session. When I got there I was told that we would be dedicating part of our evening to praying for the continued safety of the people in Japan and for the easy transformation of the ones who were not so lucky. The Swami who led us in prayer was generous enough to provide people like me with a structure. Being able to pray helped me feel present and connected to the people of Japan and it made me feel like I had in some small way contributed to things getting better.
If you are like me and do not know how to pray but want to start here is what I suggest. Watch this video on Youtube Om Tryambhakam. It provides instruction on setting an intention and then suggests connecting with the Universe by chanting a Sanskrit Mantra. My two bits – try not to get too hung up on the accuracy of the Mantra because your intention is what matters.
From Sivananda Chant Book, page 80
Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
Om Tryambhakam – Moksha Mantra
The Om is a life-giving Mantra. In these days, when life is very complex, accidents are an everyday affair: this Mantra wards off death by shake bite, lighting, motor accidents, fire, cycle, water, air accidents of all kinds. The mantra should be repeated 3, 9, 27 or 108 times.
Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Mrityor Mushiya Maamritat
it is a prayer fro the peace of the world and well-being of all. Praying fro others opens the heart, and fills our mind with compassion. The positive vibrations created by Mantra help to lift up the psychic atmosphere, and bring peace and solace to all.
Om Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu
Om – may auspiciousness be unto all
May peace be unto all.
May fullness be unto all.
May prosperity be unto all.
We can pray, we can provide support financially, or we can just send out a positive caring thought to people in Japan. It is all good as long we do something
Here is the link to donate money : Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief www.globalgiving.org
And for all of us who are alive and in a safe environment let us celebrate each other here and now
This blog post is co-written with Radhika Vaz www.radvaz.com