Awhile ago I wrote a short introduction to the art of blessing and included in it an example of a four-fold blessing that I use daily in my own spiritual practice. I would like to offer that material here:
Blessing is the art of being spiritually present to another in a manner that draws out and supports the spiritual resources and energies within that person. The same is true if blessing is directed towards a situation, that it draws out the spiritual potentials that are present to achieve the highest good for everyone in that situation.
Blessing makes use of our expanded nature so that we may be present even to people or situations that are distant in the physical world. The only barriers to blessing exist in our hearts and minds, not in the world.
Anyone can give a blessing anytime and anywhere. You do not have to have special knowledge or be a special person or have special training. The capacity to bless is innate in each of us. All it requires is a loving heart, the intent to serve and help another, and the willingness to link yourself and the recipient into a larger wholeness of life, spirit and consciousness.
There are as many ways to bless as there are individuals to do so. A blessing is a gift we give to another or to a situation from our own unique spirit and our own attunement to sacredness. How we do this depends as much on who we are and the blessing that is needed as it does upon any particular technique.
A blessing not only helps the recipient but also leaves him or her—or the situation—more capable of achieving wholeness. A blessing strengthens the inherent sacredness within another or a situation. It does not impose in a way that would weaken or confuse another or a situation.
With that in mind, we honor and practice three kinds of blessing:
THE BLESSING OF ACTION
There are times when it is obvious what is needed: food, shelter, time, energy, money, an act of kindness and compassion, an act of love. There are times when we simply need to act to help another, times when prayer or good wishes, positive thoughts or loving feelings, while always welcome and always nourishing, are not enough. Then blessing must come through our actions wisely considered and skillfully executed.
THE BLESSING OF ENERGY
When we share our energy with another, it may give him or her just the boost that’s needed to make a difference: to make the alignment with his or her own inner Light, to find the right thought or the inspiration that is needed, to overcome fatigue and low energy to find his or her own healing power. To give energy, though, requires that our energy is clear and clean and flows freely from the highest sources within us and around us; that it not impose upon the other or bind him or her to ourselves; that it not overwhelm the other with more than he or she can handle. A blessing must liberate, strengthen and leave the recipient better off than before. An extra boost of energy shared with wisdom and care can do just that in the right circumstances.
The sharing of our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energy may also clarify and stimulate a situation to move beyond obstruction and confusion, but again we must take care and wisdom not to give more that the situation can integrate or use. A blessing is not the same as taking over energetically; it is adding just enough to move the situation to a better place. Too much or the wrong application of energy in the wrong way can make a situation worse.
Sometimes the greatest blessing of energy is no energy at all, letting things settle to find their own way. This is the Blessing of Space..
THE BLESSING OF SPACE
When we bless, we mobilize spiritual resources to create a “blessing space” like an aura of energy around another or around a situation. This space holds the other person or situation in calm and clear attunement to their own highest spirit—or to the highest spirit that seeks unfoldment in the situation—heightening the possibility that that spirit will flow and act to create the blessings which are needed or wanted.
In this form of blessing, unless asked or intuitively guided otherwise, we use our energies to create and hold the blessing space and to assist the other or the situation to find and hold alignment with their own spiritual resources. We do not use our energies to manipulate the situation or to “energize” another. We do not impose our own energies upon another or a situation.
A spiritual resource in this context may mean the sacredness within a person; the presence of the Soul; spiritual allies; the flow of loving, compassionate, life-giving energies; creative inspiration; or whatever enables the person or the situation to move forward in a positive and beneficial way. A blessing enables a person wherever and whenever possible to access such resources for himself or herself, becoming empowered in the process and developing the skills to use such resources more easily and readily in the future.
Blessing empowers growth in spiritual ability for all concerned, including the one giving the blessing.
A blessing can be as simple as extending a flow of loving energy from your heart to that of another; it can be as direct as an act of kindness and compassion done on behalf of another. There need be nothing complex about it.
However, when I think of blessing--and when I create one as part of a practice, I think of it as having a simple structure based on a four-fold relationship:
- The relationship to myself and my own innate spirituality;
- The relationship to the Sacred as the ground of all being, the fundamental connection between me and others, and the source of the impulse for the highest good to emerge in all situations;
- The relationship to the world as the community of which we are all a part, the source of integration, connection, and nourishment;
- The relationship to the other, the recipient of the blessing, and the wholeness of that other’s life.
When we offer a blessing, we can, of course, simply ask that another spiritual source, such as God, bless the person or situation. Our role is then that of a mediator and petitioner. However, in Incarnational Spirituality, we recognize and affirm that each of us is also a generative source of spiritual energy and presence. We need not simply be a bystander or petitioner, but one who actively participates in the act of blessing, drawing on our own spiritual resources. The blessing then becomes a gift from our soul to another, strengthened by our human connection and empathy with the recipient. This has the advantage of flexing and developing our spiritual muscles and adding to our own inner growth.
We are not the sole source of the blessing, however. By attuning to the presence of God or the Generative Mystery within us and around us, in whatever way we are comfortable in doing so, we draw ourselves into the presence of sacredness which is the deepest and most natural power of connectedness between us and another, as well as being the universal source of goodness and the drive to unfold the highest within us. This power and presence then becomes an integral part of the blessing which empowers both the recipient and ourselves.
As incarnate individuals, we are part of the world; in Incarnational Spirituality, we are participants in the life and unfoldment of the World Soul, participants in a planetary consciousness. The world—which in Incarnational Spirituality includes both the physical and non-physical, seen and unseen, dimensions of matter and spirit—is our home, our shared community, the “Commons” that embraces each and all of us and gives us life and form. We find wholeness through our integration with our bodies, nature, life, matter, and the World Soul. A blessing flows not just to the individual by himself or herself, but to an individual embedded in the Commons of the earth, part of an ecology of life and consciousness. Acknowledging this larger wholeness in our blessing helps to integrate its energy and results into the recipient’s life and connections with the world around him or her.
Finally, the recipient of the blessing, in addition to being part of the Commons of the World, is an ecology in his or her own right, a complex interweaving of time and space, biography and potentials, energy and body, mind and emotions, consciousness and soul, spirit and sacredness. Our blessing needs to integrate and become part of the coherency of this personal ecology. We are blessing a whole person who has many aspects that are not visible or obvious to us, who is partly known and partly mystery. We bless on the basis on what we do know and can see, but our attunement and the intent of our blessing also needs to acknowledge the mystery and wonder, the depths and potentials we do not see and do not know.
In our own minds and hearts, we want to acknowledge and honor these four elements. This can be done swiftly, lovingly, organically. We might, for instance, simply picture a crossroads in which these four come together and we stand in the center point to call forth the blessing. We may inwardly (or vocally) call upon each of these four in crafting our blessing. Or, we can find our own unique way of honoring these four relationships which hold the power of blessing within us and for another.
An example of this structure is what I call the four-fold blessing. This is a standard blessing we use in Incarnational Spirituality, usually at the beginning of an activity, but it can be used anytime, anywhere.
- Bless this place in which I am, with honor and gratitude for its presence and its gifts of space.
- Bless my self, with honor and gratitude for the uniqueness of spirit, life, insight, and creativity which I bring to the world.
- Bless others around me, seen and unseen, with honor and gratitude for the gifts we bring to each other, for the creativity and energy that can emerge from our collaboration.
- Bless the activity I undertake, that it may prosper and be a blessing to all my world.