Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
We continue our exploration of the Monk in the World Prayer Cycle Video Podcasts with morning and evening prayer for Day 3: Community. The reflection below comes from my new book Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everyday Sacred which was released in the US and Canada on Oct 12th.
I see you with love
for who you are.
How often do we really see another person as the beautiful gift they are? Perhaps this happens sometimes with those we love, where we are caught in a moment of grace and see them in all their wondrousness and you feel full of gratitude for their presence in your life.
Maybe you have a moment where your eyes meet and you hold each other’s gaze for a few breaths as an act of seeing each other with love.
When I work with individuals in spiritual direction, I actively try to see them through God’s eyes and knowing how deeply loved they are. I try to bring that loving presence into our time together.
We can intentionally bring this gaze of love to others. You can practice this with a beloved one or very dear and close friend. You might try setting a timer for one minute and just sit together, eyes softly receiving each other while breathing together and praying quietly in our hearts.
Breathe in: I see you with love
Breathe out:gifted, cherished.
Breathe in: Grateful
Breathe out:for who you are.
This can be a very intimate and vulnerable moment because we so rarely spend this kind of time simply looking at another person with love and care.
We can also bring this practice out into the world. How often do we really see another person beneath their role, under our expectations? What if we paused at the grocery store and for a moment brought eyes of love to the stock clerk or the cashier. They don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to stare, just take in their image, then close your eyes for a moment, breathe, and bathe them with love. Pause and see the other person as beloved and beautiful as they indeed truly are.
We do not want to violate their personal space by holding an uncomfortable gaze, but we can have an encounter with them and then pause afterward to hold them with love in our imagination while repeating the breath prayer through a few times.
This can be such a beautiful way to really start to see people who are often invisible to us. We can see them as gifts to the world. We can cultivate a deeper kindness within ourselves too as we begin to widen our appreciation for others.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD REACE