Several months ago on the NYC subway, a young woman alleged she was being assaulted by a group of young men. She begged for help, so I spoke up in her defense. As these men exited the train, they spit all over the both of us. No other riders said a word--they were glued to their phones.
Profoundly sad, a friend suggested I read Pierre Pradervand's book--"The Gentle Art of Blessing: A Simple Practice That Will Transform You and Your World."
The book was a revelation--and I immediately started blessing as part of my daily meditation practice.
1. Please describe the art of blessing--and how it works?
Blessing is the sending of focused love energy to a person, a situation or an event, always reversing the material image and claiming the spiritual perfection behind the material appearance. For instance, if I see a depressed person, I bless them in their joy and serenity. If I see a drunkard, I bless him in his dominion and deep inner contentment. If I see a person raving mad, I bless him in his peace and serenity.
2. You mentioned that your blessings (including to those people who have caused harm) begin with the statement, "I love you." Why?
I have been blessing people for over 30 years. I started saying the "I love you" statement only in the past year because it makes me feel closer to those I bless. An old Aramaic version of the 2nd commandment (Jesus spoke Aramaic) states, "Love your neighbor WHO IS yourself." It totally annihilates any sense of separation when I start the blessing in that manner.
3. In my business, I coach women and men who have suffered profound heartbreak. Many feel angry, wronged and helpless. Forgiveness, I believe, is an integral part of their healing. What's your advice on forgiving the unforgivable?
Four years ago I published a book (in French) called, "Making Oneself the Gift of Forgiveness." Forgiveness is FIRST AND FOREMOST a gift one makes to oneself. And, the most helpful approach to forgiving has been for me to see that EVERY SINGLE PERSON--including the Trumps, Assads and Putins of the world, the racists and child rapists--is at every moment at their highest level of consciousness.
When you really see that--not in the mind, but understood in the heart--you can simply not harbour any more resentment.
It gives such deep peace. The great American mystic of the last century, Joel Goldsmith, said, "No one can enter my consciousness who needs forgiveness because I HAVE ALREADY FORGIVEN HIM 70 times 7."
There just is no unforgivable deed--unless one decides one is not going to forgive. In my summer workshops at 7,000 feet in the Swiss alps, I get people who are working on forgiveness to walk around 15 minutes with a very large stone in their arms on a steep uphill incline, thinking one single statement: "I am carrying the stone, the stone is not carrying me. The minute I wish to put it down, I CAN do so."
It is extremely powerful. And it works!
4. You have said, "Trials are blessings in disguise, and hosts of angels follow in their path." How can we develop deeper insight into the blessing that extreme hardships confer?
Such insights, I believe, only come through passing deep trials--and coming through victoriously. At one moment in my life, everything crashed in a matter of weeks: My superb marriage to an amazing woman (whom I am still with!) and my health. I had the greatest health challenge of my life with dire predictions of a specialist if I did not follow his advice (which I didn’t!). My energy crashed. My workshops and then my finances crashed. My spiritual path of 35 years blew to smithereens!
For three years I was in the valley of the shadow of death. Today, I give thanks because I needed a deep inner cleansing…and I got it! My marriage has never been so good. But when I was in my tunnel, I couldn’t even see a way out and didn’t think I WOULD ever come out of it!
5. Gun violence. Global warming. Mass genocide. Economic disparity. Racial Injustice. Gender inequality. Many people are overwhelmed and beleaguered in today's political climate. How is blessing a radical act for social change?
The reply to this question is in my latest book, "365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World: Really Living One's Spirituality in Everyday Life," which has blessings for almost every imaginable situation. The most important and urgent thing in the world today is raising of the level of consciousness of humankind. EVERYTHING depends on this. Blessing is one of many approaches to raising this level.
For more information on Pierre Predervand and his work: www.gentleartofblessing.org