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Dharma Connect: Tornado in Oklahoma

A tornado in Oklahoma killed dozens of people Monday and flattened whole neighborhoods in certainly the most destructive tornado in decades. Winds faster than 200 miles per hour were recorded, and at one point, the tornado measured over two and a quarter miles wide as it ripped through a suburb of 55,000 people. 

Tonight as I did my metta practice, I just kept reciting

May all beings feel safe.

May all beings feel content.

May all beings feel strong in their bodies.

May all beings care for themselves happily.  


I often spin a small Tibetan handheld prayer wheel when I practice metta.  Its cylinder is gold in color, housing microfilm with hundreds of thousands or millions of loving prayers, and it has an orange wooden handle that gets warm in my hand as it spins.  I like to believe that this humble device sends my prayers out to all beings and especially those who need them.  

At the end of practice, I dedicate any good qualities engendered through the practice to all beings, but I name some specifically, either because someone has asked me to or as my best attempt to connect.  These days the list seems to grow ever longer: the health and long life of my teachers, my parents, the friend of a friend with stage-4 cancer, my friend Kathy's mom who recently died, another friend and her unborn child who didn't make it to term, my friend Kyle suffering deeply from alienation, my partner's sister who's due to give birth to a little boy in a few weeks, and now so many in the Midwest jolted by sudden loss of life, loved ones, homes, etc.  

Without much consciousness, which is the cardinal sin amongst Buddhists I suppose, I sat there tonight as images of human joy and sorrow flickered through my mind for five or ten minutes after I had ended the practice, continuing to spin the prayer wheel, saying nothing.  My hope is that, more and more, that little wheel will speak for me.

May all beings be safe and supported by every form of kindness.

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