May I be a bridge

Every morning, the Dali Lama prays this:

May I be a guard for those who need protection
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened
~Bodhisattva prayer for humanity
~Shantideva, Indian Buddhist sage 700 a.d.


Rumi says it like this:

Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder.
Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.

Because I’m a simple soul, I’ve shortened the prayer to:

May I be a bridge.

A bridge between parent and child, between chistian and queer, between racist and person of color, between warring factions of any kind. And also, a bridge between what a person believes unkindly about themselves and the bright and shining truth of who they really are, between despair and hope, between suffering and relief.

My deepest felt call is to be a bridge. And this starts with me. I must first be a bridge to myself. Between who I was and who I now am, between my fear and my daring to love, between my regrets and my gratitude. Healing must first reach its calming touch into my own heart.

So, every day, as I whisper this to myself upon arising, may I be a bridge, as I am reminded by the limbs of two trees intertwining in a neighbor’s yard, may I be a bridge, as I listen to another’s complaint or irritation or sorrow, may I be a bridge. A hundred times a day, a thousand, a prayer without ceasing.

My own bodhisattva vow. May I be a bridge.