This is both a journal and a prayer practice, though you need not do both at the same time, if time does not allow. You may wish to gather a notebook or paper and some pens or colored pencils in preparation to do this exercise.
First, our journaling:
Think of a few things that are particular talents of yours. Are you a great dancer? A cook? Can you paint a room without spilling a drop on the floor? Or pet any cat, even the ones who don’t like people? Write down the things that are your talents, nothing is too big, too small, or too off-the-wall for this exercise. Try for 5 today, 10 if you get in a groove, come back and add them as you think of more.
Think of someone else in the church who has the same talent as you, and write their name next to your talent… use another color of pen or pencil if you have it. Repeat this step for each of your talents, thinking of others who also knit, who can put together a classic car engine without the manual, who are great at calming a baby, or know a lot about international politics. If you don’t know, make a guess. It’s good enough for this practice, and it will give you something to ask that person at coffee hour the next time you see them.
Now, think of someone who might not have the same talent you do, and write their name next along the line, using yet another color of pen or pencil, if you like. Who could use a casserole because they don’t cook much? Who would love a great dog walker because they love dogs, but don’t have one? Who has never tried, but might have some fun times singing in the choir with you? Where are your talents needed in the world?
These are your meditation partners for this week, whether they know it or not.
Second, our meditation:
Now, placing yourself into a comfortable position, bring your attention to yourself, your wonderful plethora of talents, and all the ways you are good and kind and a blessing to the world. Then, speak aloud, sing, or silently read the words to the traditional Buddhist meditation from our Singing the Journey Hymnal:
“May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well.
May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be whole.”
Think about the people who share your talents, who are also a blessing to the world, and read their names before repeating the second verse of our Buddhist metta:
“May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well.
May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be whole.”
Think about the people who need you in the world because you have talents they may be in need of, or that are different from theirs and enrich the world through your complementary differences? Know that a community made up of all different kinds of people, weaves together like the warp and weft of a great tapestry and holds strong together. Repeat our third verse of this metta:
“May we be filled with loving kindness. May we be well.
May we be filled with loving kindness. May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease. May we be whole.”
Here is a sung version of this prayer, in case music is a helpful piece of your journaling or meditation practice.