Saturday, May 12, 2007

Transforming e-mail

This morning I picked up the May issue of Shambhala Sun and found a short article by Sylvia Boorstein entitled "You've Got Mail". Here's how it gets started:
Every e-mail I receive from my friend and colleague Donald Rothberg starts with a blessing. "May this message find you in health and happiness" is a typical beginning, or "May this day, your first at home after this last long period of teaching, be one of ease and rest." Sometimes it is a generic blessing; often it is a particular wish. Then he continues with the business of the e-mail: "About that meeting tomorrow..."

I first noticed Donald's style convention about a year ago, not long after he'd told me about his other e-mail practice. "As I sit at my computer answering my mail," he said, "I pause before I open each one. I take a breath, and make the intention, 'May I open this e-mail and respond for the benefit of myself and for all beings.' Then I read the message and respond." I haven't taken up that practice yet, but I think of it often, especially at those times when I realize I've done too much e-mailing too fast.
What a wonderful practice! Suppose we just brought mindfulness to our use of e-mail. And a wish. Just to say silently or out loud, "May you be happy" when we both open and send mail would truly transform our time at the computer.


  1. Anonymous3:32 PM

    It would eliminate a lot of those harsh or hostile e-mails.

  2. grateful reader2:16 PM

    Thank you for mindfully attrbuting quotes to sources. Thanks to your insights heve learned much and delved further by your supplying sources. Thank you


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