At the moment, there are 76 names on our well-being list, an oft-updated roster that’s read every Tuesday morning in a service dedicated to the “well-being, equanimity and recovery of our dear friends.”
Actually, there are 6 billion names on that list.
Imagine what might happen if we started each day with the 15 seconds that it takes to say to them:
May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you be free from fear.
May you be free from suffering.
If we said that to the other drivers in traffic, to our fellow riders on public transportation, to the shoppers ahead of us in line -- they’d do their best to pretend we didn't exist. So we’ll just say it silently, and offer a quarter-minute of peaceful abiding to whatever fraction of humanity happens to be in range. They don’t have to know. It can be our little secret that we wished them well. They don’t have to know that we just saved all beings … from us. From whatever less-benign thoughts we might have been tempted to cast upon the driver who cut us off, the oaf who spread out over several bus seats, the cad who cut in line. For the length of an inhale, we’re not going to honk, glare, scold. For the length of an inhale, we’re going to stop suffering.
Now, shall we try it on the exhale, too?