Suggestions from HDS Students for Spiritual Practices During the Pandemic

1. Ask for help. Reach out with needs; ask for resources; check on one another via phone calls, Facetime or Zoom, emails.

2. Trust your body. Practice listening to yourself – your appetites for sleep, food, silence, exercise, company. You know your body better than anyone else. Listen to what it needs, and deliver.

3. Host small potlucks regularly—with impeccable hygiene in food preparation (or catering) and appropriate social distancing; or simply find people with whom to eat your sack lunch – in person or via Zoom! Don’t eat alone.

4. Use the time previously spent commuting to/from classes for:

  • Meditation, journaling, dhikr, deep contemplative reading, yoga, hosting small Shabbat dinners, using ritual beads/”praying by hand,” praying the daily office (for Christians), prostrations, setting an intention for the day every morning, Tarot, chanting, attending to or building personal altars/sacred spaces, using the 30 seconds of hand washing throughout the day as an opportunity to recite a mantra*, a cherished prayer, a set of intentions
  • Sustained, daily devotion to a serious project of social justice/structural change

5. Begin or continue a correspondence with an incarcerated person.

6. Share your material resources with those suffering from scarcity.

* As an example, Greater Boston Zen Center sent the following out on March 10, 2020.


You might consider reciting a mantra that lasts around 20 seconds during your hand washing as part of your practice at this time. Larry Yang’s Aspiration Prayer is a perfect example:
May I be as loving in this moment as I can.
If I cannot be loving in this moment, may I be kind.
If I cannot be kind, may I be nonjudgmental.
If I cannot be nonjudgmental, may I not cause harm.
And if I cannot not cause harm,
may I cause the least amount of harm possible.