One thing I dearly miss during this time of pandemic is gathering in person at the Mahabodhi Shrine room of Nalanda West in Seattle. For me, that space has good vibrations. The name, “Mahabodhi,” means great awakening, enlightenment, freedom from suffering. The room is a space where we can gradually or suddenly let go of negative habitual patterns. A space where we can discover our innate wisdom and compassion. A space of support, encouragement, peace.
The Mahabodhi Shrine room has been a welcoming container for many people to gather over the course of 17 years. Individuals from all over the world have come to meditate with like-minded people. Great Buddhist teachers and teachers from other wisdom traditions have shared their wisdom and compassion there. The room is a space that has witnessed countless presentations and discussions on wide ranging, inspirational topics. It has heard echoes of laughter, cries of sadness, songs of realization, recitations of mantras and prayers, voices filled with gratitude, and aspirations for the world. There have been weddings, funerals, clown performances, sacred art exhibits, yoga classes, and art installations.
People have gathered to copy the Heart Sutra, watch videos, debate definitions of mind and its world. Thousands of profound aspirations for the good health, safety, prosperity, and well-being of all sentient beings and for planet earth have been made in that room. I consider the Mahabodhi Shrine room a place of refuge, sanctuary, solace. I long to be there with other like-minded seekers and soak up the good vibrations that bring joy and peace to my heart.
I believe it is possible to sympathetically feel vibrations in rooms, in nature, and from others. I am not a scientist, nor a musician; however, I appreciate the phenomena of sympathetic resonance. One illustration of sympathetic vibration is to sound a tuning fork and then bring it close to, but not touching, another fork of the same frequency; watch how it begins to vibrate sympathetically. We can experience similar vibrations both positive and negative when in the presence of individuals who are at peace or very angry. Likewise, all of us have had experiences of walking into a room and feeling at ease or unsettled. We might remark, “I don’t like being in this room; it has negative vibes,” or “I like being here; this space has good vibes.”
- Notice how your body responds to people, situations, and current affairs. Does it feel open or contracted? If it feels tight, try to relax your jaw, your shoulders, and on down your body. Pay attention to how you walk, move, sit.
- If you feel “negative vibrations” arising in yourself or you witness them in others, just notice them. No need to run away. No need to shame yourself or others. Just notice and take a deep breath. Allow feelings of empathy to arise for yourself and others who experience similar states of mind. Make an aspiration that these types of negative situations may disintegrate and not perpetuate.
- Sit quietly — if possible in a peaceful place — and take several deep breaths. Let gratitude arise for any amount of relaxation or awareness you may experience. Repeat as often as possible.