For a couple of years, it seemed that whenever I went to New York, my car would get broken into and my radio ripped off. I'd been invited to a friend's wedding in Queens. I told Dipa Ma that I was thinking of taking the train because my radio always gets stolen.

"Don't be silly," she said. "Go by car."

So we ended up taking the car, which by that time had a security system installed on it. We parked the car and went to the wedding. When we came out, sure enough, my car had been broken into yet again. This time they took not only the radio but all my tapes, too.

When we got back, I walked into the house, and Dipa Ma asked, "How was the wedding?"

"The wedding was great," I said. "But my car got broken into again, and the radio was stolen. I'm really upset."

Dipa Ma just burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"You must have been a thief in your former lifetime. How many more times do you think you will need to have your radio stolen?"

"You tell me," I demanded. "How many more times? Tell me, so I can be prepared."

Ignoring my question, she asked, "What did you do? What was your reaction when the car was broken into?"

"I was really angry because it's happened so many times. And I thought I had a security system."

She looked at me with amazement. "You mean you didn't even think about the man who took your radio, how sad his life must be?"

She closed her eyes and started chanting quietly to herself, and I knew she was saying metta [lovingkindness blessings] for the thief. It was a wonderful lesson for me.

Steven Schwartz, Knee Deep In Grace by Amy Schmidt