Yesterday’s was a very worthwhile meditation. The more you exercise that awareness the better you’ll get. Even a very negative person will change so subtly that they’ll never actually remember when they started being positive naturally, rather than doing it by conscious choice. Unless you change it back, that’ll be who you are to anyone who meets you going forward.
At first it can be hard to find the language to convert negative, separating ideas into positive, connecting ones. Our language emerges from our experience, so in this case you’re forcing yourself at the start. But over time your language structures will reshape to match your behaviour and you will have a new positive “personality.”
The next step in your psycho-spiritual development is to also stay aware of the internal conversations you’re having with yourself. You not only separate yourself from the outside world by speaking words that divide, you also do this within your consciousness as you use words to draw lines between labels.
Whether you can justify your judgment or not is irrelevant; the point here is choose to embrace soulful, connective feelings vs egocentric, divisive emotions. We do this by converting our internal conversations the same way we started doing yesterday with external conversations.
Once we have switched our internal conversations, that will also have an impact on our external conversations, and internally we will grow increasingly quiet until eventually we find there is very little reason to think much at all. Examples for you to catch might include:
- You might catch yourself saying something about your boss; “I can’t stand how he sounds so superior when he asks for things.”
- Or maybe it’s a reaction you have regarding a difference between your parenting style and your spouse’s; “He shouldn’t let them get away with that or they’ll start doing it all the time,”
- Or maybe it’s the sort of passing comments someone at school makes; “She thinks she’s so important but really she’s just a bitch.”
You not liking something, you expressing a difference over something, or you wanting to limit someone’s freedom to express themselves; those are all examples of negative, divisive statements. Those could instead be:
- “I suppose my irritation about how he asks for things is similar to when people get frustrated with me for being indirect.” This makes the two of you similar instead of making one the aggressor over others.
- “I respect when he has to do it too; because watching a decision you genuinely disagree with in relation to something as important as your kids is quite difficult and I know he doesn’t always agree with my choices.” This unifies you as experience-havers and it respects humility and the idea that other ways may be just as beneficial as yours.
- “To have to enter a room and establish an instant position of superiority must require someone to start off feeling extra-insecure about not being important.” This depersonalizes the behaviour while also being compassionate.
Today’s meditation is simple: Catch yourself a minimum of ten times. When you catch yourself internally saying something negative about another person, make the switch to some other story that is still honest, but is more forgiving, supportive or compassionate.
It shouldn’t be hard to find opportunities for understanding at this point in history considering almost everyone has taken a very strong position in recent elections. It’s not like you have to know the people personally to do this exercise. The only important part is to really do it.
These ones are big. These generate a lot of your so-called problems. Do this meditation earnestly and daily and you can absolutely change your life. If you’re working with a partner, compare how many times you caught yourself and then discuss your best conversions to help you feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and ownership. That will only make them easier to do in future moments, and that’s important because our entire future is made of the little steps we take within the individual moments that will become both our future and our past.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.