For the month of February, we are pleased to offer you a “guest blog” by Olivier Clerc, from his book J’arrête de me juger, Day 6, on the topic of blessing (I stop judging myself, our translation as the book is not available in English). A link to his site is at the end of the blog.
“The principle of this practice (blessing) could not be simpler Instead of letting our heart and mind unconsciously combine their talents to judge everything and everyone at every moment – in the street, at the office, within the family, etc. – we consciously engage both in a simple task, but one that can totally transform our inner state and infect those around us: blessing everyone we meet, blessing everything and everyone.
If the words “bless” or “blessing” (bene dicere: etymologically, it simply means “to speak well of”) bother you, because they evoke religious notions that no longer suit you today, replace them by their equivalent in your belief system, in your philosophy. You can imagine that you are sending light to the people you meet, that you are nourishing the best in them, that you are connecting them in thought to a universal source of love, etc. It’s not the words that count, it’s the intention behind them. Blessing, in this perspective, is simply having a positive intention for each one: wishing them the best, offering them something bright, warm, beneficial, through your thoughts, feelings and intentions. It’s as simple as that.
An effective antidote
…Instead of being subjected to our mental chatter, instead of ruminating without even thinking about it all kinds of negative thoughts and feelings, instead of having our brains in “automatic judgment” mode, we take back the controls and voluntarily give a positive and benevolent direction to everything that comes out of our head and heart. Instead of our two inner companions behaving like poorly trained animals that trample on the neighbor’s flower beds and leave the odor of their passage, we train them to come and pour pure water into everyone’s inner garden, to make the best seeds grow there.
When I “bless” others, my mind feeds luminous thoughts and my heart cultivates warm feelings. As a result, I am the first to benefit! It is impossible for me to measure the impact of this practice on others, but even if it were to be zero (which is not true of many studies on the power of long-distance prayer, for example), the effect it has on me is very convincing and would be enough in itself to motivate me to continue.
I invite you to give it a try on purpose. Get out of your house and go for a ten-minute walk, with the sole purpose of silently offering your blessings to every person you pass. Do it! And see how you feel when you return. Don’t take Pierre’s or my word for it: test this tool, see for yourself, put it to the test! Want a little more of a challenge, a little more stimulating, now?
Decide to practice the simple art of blessing for a week, from morning to night, in every context you find yourself in, no matter who is around you. Don’t tell anyone! Let it be your secret, your hidden practice! When you buy your bread in the morning, bless the baker. On the bus, in the subway: bless those around you. At work, on the phone, in all your exchanges: bless the person with whom you are in contact. At home, fill your looks and gestures towards your loved ones with wagons of blessings! Then, take stock. What has changed in you, in your life, around you?
Etymologically speaking, blessing is the opposite of cursing. In our society, where it is so common to gossip, even slander and backbite – so common, in fact, that we are no longer surprised by it and do not see what a relational poison it actually is! -We can spread the antidote to all these curses by multiplying our silent blessings, in the way that feels best for us.
Blessing, finally, is similar to the repetition of a mantra, like those that the rise of Eastern religions has made very popular in our country: Om mani padme hum, Om nama Shivaya, etc. Indeed, repeating a mantra continuously, hundreds or thousands of times a day, is also the way to “give a bone to chew” to our mind and our heart, to use them, to put them at the service of something positive, rather than letting them brood over any feelings and thoughts.
So why not make the practice of the art of blessing your own mantra for a few days? I’m willing to bet you’ll be amazed at the changes such a simple tool can bring about in your life and relationships!”
Olivier Clerc, Olivier Clerc, author of The Gift of Forgiveness and Healing the Wounds of the Heart