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Dedicating Merit After Healings & Meditations

In the Buddhist tradition there is a practice of "dedicating merit" that is both beautiful and useful to the healing practitioner or spiritual seeker, regardless of what faith they follow personally. It goes hand-in-hand with notions of karma, or cause and effect, as each act performed (either consciously or subconsciously) has an equal effect in both the personal microcosm and the universal macrocosm. Obviously like breeds like, so auspicious deeds create positive energy, while inauspicious ones breed more complicated and troublesome energy. The practice of dedicating merit is one undertaken at the conclusion of any spiritual or otherwise conscious acts of positivity. The time immediately following an uplifting or enlightening experience is the perfect time to send forth waves of gratitude, lovingkindness, and healing to others in need, as one is feeling particularly full of positive energy and in the mood to give and share selflessly. These windows in time are few and far between for many of us in our busy lives, so it is important to remember to take the time to share our good fortune and positivity, our merit, with others when we are able to give selflessly. Many in the healing and spiritual communities regularly take time to send positive healing energy out to those in need, or to the Earth, or to the Universe as a whole - and this is an extremely important practice in our current times and global situation. However, it does not occur to many to share the energy of their personal experiences with the All. Implementing such a practice into one's healing work or spiritual discipline can be a wonderful way to more continuously aid others through our Lightwork.

How can one begin practicing the dedication of merit? Well it's really extremely simple: you need only find a way to remind yourself to do so at the conclusion of each healing or meditation session. It can be as uncomplicated as simply saying: "I dedicate the merit of this [experience/meditation/healing/etc] to the benefit of all sentient beings everywhere." The wording of the Four Immeasurables from the Medicine Buddha Sadhana is more descriptive, but still very succint and beautiful, and reciting it while concentrating on offering up the energies of the healing or meditation for the benefit of others is another very straight-forward way to get started.

May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all sentient beings never be separated from the happiness which is without suffering. May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free from both attachment and hatred, holding some close and others distant.

Merit can also be dedicated to specific people, or places, or situations that you may feel particularly passionate about at a given time. In fact many trace the beginnings of the dedication of merit this more personalized practice, which later evolved into the idea of dedicating it to all sentient beings.

You may be wondering why one would willingly give away merit that they had earned which could be used to help their personal evolution. Well it's actually very practical. You are a sentient being. Therefore merit dedicated to the benefit of sentient beings automatically benefits you as well as all the others. The theory behind the practice is learning to cultivate a worldview of unity, where everything is part of and connected to everything else. The idea of separation and difference is an illusion that spiritual seekers are fairly universally trying to overcome, despite what religious tradition they may be practicing. Making sure to take the time to dedicate merit at the conclusion of any positive activity is an easy, but powerful way to reinforce that unified universalist perspective.

So next time you find yourself feeling joyful, take a moment and share that with the rest of the Universe. After having attained a restful and enlightening state through meditation or yoga or another spiritual practice, take a few moments at the end to dedicate those energies to others. At the close of a healing session, dedicate the merit to all sentient beings. You can make this into a small personal closing ritual by bringing your hands into prayer position over your heart, and visualizing waves of rose colored energy bursting from your heart and carrying the energy of lovingkindness, compassion, equanimity, and joy to all sentient beings everywhere. Do this with a smile and a grateful spirit, and see how this deepens your experience of your personal practices in the long run. Only by giving things away, may we truly receive.