My friend Ethan celebrates the Sabbath meal with his wife and daughter. It is traditional, before the meal begins, to put your hand on your children and give them a blessing. . . .

Maria at Santo Domingo pueblo offers a blessing of cornmeal to the four directions before she begins the family meal.

Kalu Rinpoche, visiting an aquarium in Boston, kept stopping to put his fingers to the glass of each tank, quietly blessing every fish as he walked. May you be happy. May you be at peace.

Sharon Salzberg suggests we practice guerrilla compassion — silently blessing people on line at the bank, at the supermarket, in the cars next to us in traffic. Each blessing a tiny Sabbath, a secret sanctuary offered to a hurried and unsuspecting world.

There are many ways to offer your blessing. You may bless your children, your lover, your friend, by placing you hand on their head, and offering a prayer for their healing, their well-being, their happiness. Let them feel the truth of your prayer in their bodies. When this happens, many report feeling the physical blessing actually enter their body. It is as precious as it is free — completely gratuitous.

Another practice invites us to bless strangers quietly, secretly. Offer it to people you notice on the street, in the market, on the bus. "May you be happy. May you be at peace." Feel the blessing move through your body as you offer it. Notice how you both receive some benefit from the blessing. Gently, almost without effort, each and every blessing becomes a Sabbath.

Wayne Muller in Sabbath