Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement.

Today’s message is from Ira Blum, Assistant Director at the Penn Hillel:

Hi all- Ira here from Penn Hillel sending love, hugs, comfort, health and healing to our Penn family.

Today, I wanted to share a mindfulness practice with you that I’ve found helpful. While some of us may be managing feelings of grief, fear, isolation and frustration, and are praying for the safety and healing of those around us, I hope this exercise provides some hope, groundedness and positivity.

Metta, from the Pali for “goodwill” or “lovingkindness,” is a Buddhist practice used to bring mindfulness to the wellbeing of one’s self and others. This particular Metta was shared by Anushka Fernandopulle through the “Ten Percent Happier” app. It is designed to take about 20 seconds to say, so it is an excellent way to bring mindfulness and comfort to the frequent practice of washing our hands. Below is a picture of the sign my wife taped up next to our sink.

This Buddhist practice makes me think of the Jewish idea of Kavanah. A Kavanah is a spiritual intention, and comes from the word for direction. A Kavanah can be thought of as a Jewish spiritual mindfulness practice, and recognizes the need to engage our whole selves to self-actualize the wisdom of our tradition and live lives of blessing. In this trying time, may we all find comfort in the Kavanah of practicing lovingkindness towards ourselves and loved ones. May we continue expanding our circles of care and sense of responsibility for all, finding strength from the abundance of our relationships and channeling our abundance to strengthen others.

Best wishes,