When I woke up on Tues, Dec. 16th it was to the news of over 100 children and 46 adults gunned down by the Taliban. Later at work someone told me about ISIL and what they do to young girls (I won’t repeat what I heard because it’s too horrific. I don’t want anyone else to carry that, though I’m sure some of you know. I’m sorry.)

On that Tuesday, my response was to to pray for everyone, throughout the day: for the grief-stricken families, the injured, the community, and I also included the Taliban. If their hearts are so shut down that they could murder children, they need prayers too.

I had just the day before been reading about Tonglen: breathing in grief, breathing out peace. I’d heard of Tonglen before, but I hadn’t practiced it in a very long time. All day I breathed in grief and fear, and breathed out peace and love.

Why pray for bullies? Years ago I read about a study in Japan that showed molecular changes in water when people prayed over it. Since humans are over 70% water, doesn’t it make sense that prayers help? I remember seeing pictures of both positive and negative prayer over water — seen microscopic pictures of the water’s structure. The positive is sparkly, snowflake-like, starry pictures, whereas the negative is cloudy and out of balance. (Dr. Masaru Emoto, 1999 “Messages from Water”)

Isn’t that what evil is: life out of balance? Evil is Live spelled backwards, a life upside down. Don’t the men of the Taliban and ISIL feel they’re holy men? To me they look like bullies and thugs. What if we all prayed for them? Could we melt their frozen hearts? (I hear a song).

Killing them is just the same energy they exude. Love is the only answer, the only way out of this madness we find ourselves in. Whether you believe in God or Buddha, or your dog or cat, we can all send love to the thugs. Love the thugs.

My resolution for 2015 is to seek joy — to stay in joy as much as possible. I believe joy is our birthright, and that being in joy contributes to love and peace on the planet. Certainly this doesn’t mean I don’t get angry or impatient, or sad or frustrated. Seeking joy means I return to joy whenever I’m able. When I’m present for my life, and I see a tree seemingly for the first time, on a road I’ve traversed hundreds of times, I know joy. I feel joy, and am so grateful for the bare branches that let me see the tree’s grace.

Pray for the thugs. Pray for the hurt, the hungry, and the lonely. Pray for yourself. It’s a wild and wonderful life, and I wish us all joy on our journey. Safety and enough for everyone.DSC_1349