I first heard the "Chant of Good Will" at a meditation retreat. Each night, a hundred of us chanted the loving-kindness phrases. The simplicity and repetition of these words allowed me to quickly take them into my heart. The practice came home with me. I sing the chant while driving, doing household chores, or setting up chairs for meditation class. And if I'm feeling frustrated or judgmental, I chant. It brings me back to love and intention.
There's a lot of noise in our world: righteousness and self-promotion; angry chants at peace rallies; loud music filled with empty words. The good-will chant provides a different avenue. It expresses wishes of loving-kindness, peace, and happiness for ourselves and others. Not as a way to ignore what's difficult, but as a way to wholeheartedly live in this complex world.
One of my meditation students asked me to record this chant, so she could know it in her bones. My initial reaction was fear: I don't have a nice singing voice; I can't stay on pitch. But my final response was "yes, I'll record it." The process itself a practice in humility and loving-kindness. Imagine if this chant—imperfect and wholehearted—were sung by 1000s of people. It begins with just one of us. Play my recording and sing along. Let it be messy, real, and from your heart.
May I be filled with loving-kindness,
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease,
May I be happy.
May you be filled with loving-kindness,
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease,
May you be happy.
May we be filled with loving-kindness,
May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease,
May we be happy.
The Chant of Good Will: