I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: A Mantra to Fend Off Despair


So I was already in a funk this morning. Waking up, I was still affected by my dreams. I have a lot of dreams. The late Jeremy Taylor taught that dreams always come in the service of healing and wholeness. That's good to know because my dreams can be weird. Often they're the typical anxiety type (I'm supply preaching somewhere and forget how to do the service, plus I forgot to wear shoes, etc.). But others are more disturbing and/or puzzling. Thankfully, I'm in a dreamwork group where we try to work out what might be going on in that scary place called my unconscious. Nevertheless, I often wake up with a dream hangover that affects my mood sometimes for the rest of the day.


Today was one of those days. But I got up, poured my coffee, determined to make the best of it. Then I started reading the paper. Yikes! And I thought my dreams were scary. I don't have to tell you what's in the news. You're probably just as upset as I am about the state of the world. I don't know about you, but I find it very easy to descend into despair.Even though I agree with those who predicted that the resistance post-2016 would be a marathon, not a sprint, it can feel pretty hopeless.


But I had to get ready to go to my Pilates session. I definitely did not feel like doing anything at all, let along walk the mile to the studio and then exercise some more. Then - ta da! - I remembered my own advice from our last video: A Mantra for Bad Days & Hard Times. The mile-long walk was just the right length of time to go through the mantra, stopping after each phrase to reflect on where I was with that particular prayer.

This time, though, I added more to my own personal check-in. I wanted also to pray for spiritual stamina in our trying political situation.


So, "May I be happy and healthy"meant that I need to keep up my strength for the on-going resistance. My Pilates session, once dreaded, now became a way to prepare for battle. The dream work session would be an emotional girding of loins. I truly believe that we have to be strong in our center in order to be affective in our actions in the world.


"May I be grateful" reminded me of all the people out on the front lines doing a lot of hard work. We don't often see any of them in the news. But they're out there and we need to search them out and support them as best we can. Being grateful for them helped me to know that, even though under-reported, the forces of light are at work.


"May I be transformed" stirred up thoughts of issues that tend to bring me down, messages from the past that try to discourage me. I think we all have these to some degree. The goal is to be open to the possibility of healing and wholeness, in spite of whatever life may have thrown at us. As we are transformed, we have the power to transform the world.


"Loving and compassionate" spoke to my need to feel these things for my own self. I am very hard on myself. I would never treat another person the way my inner critic treats me. So this prayer is directed inward as much as it is directed outward. It is the combination of both that creates peace in the world - if only in the space that I occupy at any given time.


"Open to your Spirit; Mindful of your Presence" is a check-in of my spiritual self. It's like the first prayer for being happy and healthy, needing to be physically and emotionally strong. My awareness of my connectedness to Presence is what keeps me strong in spirit. I do believe that the Holy One is always present in me and around me. It is my own willfulness and spiritual shortsightedness that keeps me from living fully in that awareness. Bringing it to consciousness jolts me out of my despair into a place of hope and determination.

Finally, "May I be an instrument of your Peace" is a prayer for effectiveness. What should I be doing? How can I best serve? How can I help to change this suffering world?

I found this contemporary version by Chuck Hamilton of the prayer attributed to St. Francis.


May we be open and responsive to the reminders.

Remind us, Rabboni, to be instruments of your peace. 

Let us show love where there is hatred;

pardon where there is injury;

union where there is discord;

trust where there is doubt;

hope where there is despair;

your light where there is darkness;

joy where there is sadness.

May we seek rather to console than to be consoled;

to understand than to understood;

to love than to be loved.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are forgiven;

and it is in dying that we live. 

Amen


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©2019 by the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer