(Note: if anyone really preferred these done by voice or video, email me and if enough people feel that way I will consider it.)
Welcome to the morning. You know, a lot of people take morning’s for granted. And that’s crazy, because the life we live with our bodies –it’s just a string of mornings. It’s like we have marbles in a jar when we’re born, and when our last one is gone we have no more mornings.
After that, we get to stay dreaming until we get a new jar of marbles. But each jar is like a chance a new adventure. So we should spend each one really intentionally. We want to choose how we spend them.
Since mornings are so important –they’re like doorways to the rest of the day– it’s a good thing to start them off by setting up our day, when our minds are all clean and fresh and rested.
We have to start each day by remembering that our brain is like a flashlight. It’ll light up whatever we shine it on, so it’s good to wake up kind of gently if we can. That way we have some time to turn on our flashlight, and to figure out where we want to point it each day. We want to make sure our arm feels strong and that our battery is recharged by sleeping.
Once we’re up, the first thing to do is to get ‘into’ our bodies. Sometimes the part of us that drives our body, and our actual body, get kind of ‘out of alignment.’ Mornings are good times to take a few moments to feel our toes and the bottom of our feet. And then just move the feeling up our legs and across our stomachs and backs and down our arms.
We want to feel our fingers even if they’re not moving. And our skeleton. Where is it inside us? What bones have our weight on them? And we can feel our chest, and the air going in an out while we breathe. Watch a few breaths all the way in and all the way out.
And we can feel our shoulders and neck, and we can even feel our eyes moving. We can even feel our hair without touching it. And if we have to, we can stretch or scratch. Whatever feels good. It’s different for everyone, but if we try to figure out the best way for us, we always can.
It’s good to get to know our bodies really well, and it’s easier if we learn just a bit more each morning.
Once we know we’re relaxed, we’re ready for our morning exercise. This is where we do our morning meditation. If our minds are like flashlights, then we control that light with our arms, so we need to make sure our arms are strong by working them out. And when we’re working out our the arms of our minds, that is when we meditate.
Below is this morning’s meditation:
MORNING MEDITATION TWO
Today is an easy one, because when things are at their worst, people are at their best.
In a lifetime, everyone takes a turn being a really great and important, valuable person to some other people. But when there is a crisis, and we all share a challenge, then lots and lots people start being especially great and important and valuable to other people, all at the same time.
Even before COVID-19, lots and lots of people donated organs, or gave blood, or taught free courses, or gave free lessons, or looked after neighbours, or they cooked or baked for people, or they were there for their friends when their friends needed them.
People walk other people’s dogs, or look after their kids. People are really nice all of the time, but we can forget that that is true if we don’t notice people being nice on purpose.
If we notice things, it’s like we’ve joined in with them. So if we notice a kind act, the kindness enters us too. So when people talking about living a ‘life of purpose,’ what that means is that they’re doing something, even with the ordinary parts of their day.
What they are doing is ‘paying attention.’ And the ‘purpose’ part is where they fill in the blank each day that answers the question: what will I pay attention to?
So for today, our purpose is ‘kindness.’ Our purpose is to watch for it. We’ll all watch for people being kind. It can be in a story in a book, or on TV. It can be something we see someone in our family do, or something someone does for us. And we shouldn’t forget to count ours too. Even if it’s just that we were going to say something mean and didn’t –we should count that kind of ‘kindness’ too.
That is all our meditations are. We are focusing our minds –we are making our flashlight arm– stronger and stronger the more we practice looking around with it. And ‘kindness’ is always a good way to practice, because it feels so good every time you find it.
Okay, that’s it. It’s that easy. We’ll do another one of these tonight to end the day, because we want to enter our night in a good way too. But for today, just remember to do this meditation. Because people can grow up to be adults, or we can grow up to be ‘conscious people.’ Conscious people can be adults too, but what makes their lives fun and good is the ‘conscious’ part.
Remember: watch for kindness. Don’t forget to have fun. And we should all check in with ourselves every now and then just to make sure we’re still ‘present’ in our bodies. If a day is crazy we can get back out alignment, like the mornings. So it’s good to check every now and then and get reset if we have to. Otherwise, it’s just watching for the kindness.
Okay. That’s it. See you tonight. Enjoy your day!
EVENING MEDITATION TWO
If our day has consumed all of our energy, then our drop off to sleep is a sudden one. But many lives today are filled with conveniences and a lot of the time others are directing our thoughts. This means we arrive at the evening with a lot of energy to spare but no place to put it other than thought-based insomnia.
My suggestion today is that we consider giving the world back the energy it gave us. Rather than leave all of that energy in our minds to be converted into reality-generating thoughts, we are better to let it go. We are better to let it flow outward from us and back into all that we love and appreciate, be those people, places, things or even ideas.
Rather than think, we should love. Rather than judge we should appreciate. And that goes for our views on ourselves as well.
In practice this love emerges as a meditation on value. Rather than engaging with ‘problems,’ or ‘issues’ or ‘worries’ or ‘plans,’ or anything about any other time than sleeping, we just hear those words in our heads and then let the energy that is creating them go.
We can take those word-based head-sentences and we can make them quieter, and slower and we can abandon our ideas before we are even there. This thinking never had any purpose anyway. Which is fine, because we and the universe do benefit if we can utilize the discoveries made by doing the morning meditation.
Rather than think about ourselves, we can consider what we have witnessed in our search for kindness. And rather than checking off a box that a behaviour is good or bad, we can instead delve into an appreciation for where sacrifice, courage, patience and love all come from.
Rather than turning a nurse’s or doctor’s motivation and care into words, we should do our best to find that feeling within us. We can return within ourselves to that selfless place that we know from experience. By connecting with those feelings, rather than for the justifications provided for them, we are closer to the truth of what forms a day in the life of the world.
Our waking time is for managing life. Our time to sleep is our chance to reconnect with the vastness of the universe. We don’t need to hold ourselves back. As our evening approaches, we can begin to abandon our daytime thoughts.
We can imagine our practical thinking growing quieter and quieter, as more space and time exists between each idea, each word. And as they fade, they naturally create a vacuum that draws in our quiet mind.
From that quiet state, without words, we can enact our sense of appreciation for the beauty of the world around us and all that it includes. We can love the universe. Because even if we had a day where our kids made a meeting impossible, or if our internet went down, or if we’re just scared and frustrated, the night offers us infinite space in which to let it all go.
This is our daily respite. We should not move toward it with fear. We are better to embrace it with gratitude. If our suffering is in our thinking, then sleep is our salve.
Darkness. Laying down. Slow breathing. Fading thoughts. And a growing sense of appreciation. If we get good at this practice, then falling asleep can feel like falling from the busy-ness of our day, into solace and freedom of sleep. Enjoy.
(Note, these posts can be followed as a group by listing the ‘Meditations’ category)
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.