Imagine in your minds eye, thousand of priests each Sunday morning, in their own locality invoking a blessing upon their congregation; or, in a small room an older person saying the words, ‘bless you’, to someone who has just done them a favour by visiting them; or a Christian praying for someone who is sick and who then utters those words of blessing at the end of the prayer; or a Druid in a grove, deep inside a forest uttering a blessing for nature in general and for an endangered species in particular. Each utters a blessing, and each believing it is necessary, even essential. And, it is!
We may not ‘see’ the effect of their blessing, but I do believe blessings are effective, and one day we will realise this. Perhaps, that day is today?
A ‘working’ definition of a blessing could be: an act of conferring on another person or object or event, some form of energy, or favour, or vital force that is person-related and full of power, with the intention of effecting some kind of change for the better. It’s a consecration. It’s effective. It’s something that is enjoyable and beneficial to all (and not just the person, animal or event being blessed).
‘A blessing is an invitation from one person to another to enter into and share this world. It is the opening of a door so we can enter this world together.’ David Spangler, ‘Blessing: The Art And The Practice’
If you think of a blessing in terms of some form of ritual and liturgy, then it takes place in time and space in the form of an action. But, it need not only be confined to this – a blessing could take the form of blessing others by assisting others with your skills and talents, drawing alongside them and giving them your time, giving them something physically, even smiling at someone to lift their spirits etc. All these are actions! But, there’s more.
‘A blessing is the passing of spirit between us. It’s a slash in the flesh of the ego…’, David Spangler, ‘Blessing: The Art And The Practice’
There are so many ways to bless, but perhaps the ritual and liturgy (action and words) is a good place to start, as that’s the channel it can flow through, initially. Subtle energy.
It flows though us, but I’d like to suggest that it originates elsewhere. Yes, each one of us has an inherent worth and power, and so we have an ‘energy store’ from which to bless people, animals and creation, the world and events, but there’s more. That’s not all of it.
We have access to a veritable infinite store-house of blessing-energy, and so we can view ourselves as a conduit calling upon that huge reservoir of blessing-energy, tapping into some and conferring it on others, moving it around, dealing with obstacles, and overcoming them, of being filled up with that energy, depleting it, and then, in turn, ‘topping it up’. Such blessing-energy flows, and is quite ‘circular’!
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
‘Who touched me?, Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’
But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’ Luke 8:42b – 46, The book
There are a number of reasons why someone may not want to bless, whether they’re thinking of a time of ritual and liturgy, a time of prayer, of uttering the words ‘bless you’, or being involved in some action. Some may feel they’re out of their depth, others that they’re not qualified and maybe then defer to another, whilst others might feel its presumptuous, or maybe, they’re not quite sure what a blessing really is and how to confer a blessing. We can always find reasons not to bless. The ego can be quite good at ‘getting us off the hook’.
However, each one of us can bless! Even a novice, a beginner, with no formal experience can bless. And, if you feel uncomfortable, initially, or feel you’ve made a mistake…don’t worry. Intentionality, is of paramount importance here. The fact that you wanted to bless someone, an animal or part of creation, or an event, I believe, means a blessing was conferred. The Source of All honours our intentions.
‘What will you do with your one precious, wild life?’, Mary Oliver
Ofcourse, once you start, most people want to know more about how and when to bless, more about that huge and infinite store-house of blessing-energy etc. And, that’s where the next few articles may come in useful, and a few one-day workshops planned over the next few months will benefit some (and more about these will follow later in the week).
Suffice to say, if you’ve got this far in the article, I’d like you to take the next step, commit to reading the other articles that will follow, here, on this fascinating and essential theme, and start to wonder how you can be (more) involved in the blessing other people, animals and creation around us, and events etc. You have a vital role to play, that no one else can undertake. Only you.
If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more…you give away, the more…you will have.’ John O’Donohue
How do we prepare for blessing others, what is this infinite store-house of blessing-energy and how can we access it, what is reciprocity, how can we support each other? It continues tomorrow…and throughout this week.