A spark of warmth in ourselves


We may also want to combine aspiration and prayer and make aspirations and prayers for others welfare. This practice is particularly useful when we encounter something painful that we wish we could change but the situation seems so overwhelming we don’t even know where to begin. For example, the other day I was driving from Crestone to Boulder and passed three trucks full of livestock. Two of them carried cows and the other sheep. The walls of the trucks were not solid but had round holes so the air could get in and the animals wouldn’t suffocate. They were squeezed tightly together but you could see parts of them: their tense muscles struggling to find balance with the movement of the truck, a tuft of their beautiful thick hair, their eyes so full of fear.

As in this situation, sometimes the only thing we can do is bear witness to the suffering of others and, in that moment, make aspirations and prayers: “May these cows and sheep find ease, may they find solace in some way, may their situation change for the better in this life or the next.” To simply notice and care for others, to be willing to feel the pain of others and make prayers and aspirations on their behalf is a tremendous contribution to our world where it is so easy to pass by the suffering of others, particularly the suffering of animals, and not let it touch us.

When we make such aspirations we might recognize a spark of warmth in ourselves, a little goodness while making such an aspiration—a little opening which is a crack in our ordinary indifferent mode of being. Through this crack a bit of light shines through. There is movement out of our ordinary indifferent mindset, which sets us in a positive direction. This is because our actions followed the movement of our intentions to be more open, less reactive. – Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

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