Why “All Beings Everywhere”

May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
And may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life
contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all.

When I first heard this blessing at the end of a yoga class years ago, I felt as though someone had given voice to my highest aspiration.  It became my mantra of sorts.  Something I say to my children at bedtime, and think to myself in the quiet of the morning.

A leaf from the Bodhi tree that I gathered in India

A leaf from the Bodhi tree that I gathered in India

All Beings Everywhere is universal.  Translated from the Sanskrit Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, it is an ethical principle in Hinduism. I hear it in Buddhist loving-kindness practice, in which we wish happiness toward ourselves then radiate out to our loved ones, strangers, enemies, and eventually to all sentient beings.  It’s a factor in the Jewish practice of tikkun olam, our shared responsibility to repair the world.  It rings through Love thy neighbor and Salaam alaykum -  Peace be upon you.

In its highest sense, All Beings Everywhere is unconditional.  No one is excluded, not you or me, or the rivers, mountains and creatures around us.

When I remember to tread slowly and mindfully, I perceive a commonality in us all — from my child sleeping down the hall, to the homeless man lying on cardboard down the street, to my client halfway across the world, jailed for defending human rights.

All Beings Everywhere is about love over hate.

It’s about listening, cultivating compassion and respect.

And it’s about taking a well-considered stand.

All Beings Everywhere is about being cracked wide open, and living an authentic life.

This is the life I aspire to lead.

 

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