Good morning! I suspect many of you are already noticing the advantages associated with an intentional waking process. As especially those with kids know, we can’t always be as patient with a morning as we’d like. But then again, undoubtedly some will be getting their kids to do the waking process as well.
The curious fact about learning is; if all a child did was to simply witness both parents consistently going through a very intentional waking process each day –to those children that would be what waking up is. To them it would not be some practice they were layering over life, or inserting it into like an external thing.
To a child, something like that would be like the language they speak, or the diet they eat, or what their citizenship was. In almost every case they would never even go so far as to presume any other possibility even existed. They would accept it as it is ‘the world’ without ever wondering if there even were any alternate choices.
A lot of our sense of who we are will have inevitably come from how others responded to us. Very few kids deem themselves ‘the athletic one,’ or ‘the bookworm.’ Kids just play a sport or read, they’re not labeling themselves until their egos start doing comparisons with others. But we will assume we have the labels others give us.
What labels do we have for ourselves? And which ones do we use for ourselves that actually were either never true, or are no longer true?
MORNING MEDITATION ELEVEN
Today’s morning meditation has two sections. The first is to find a defining quality that we often criticize ourselves for. We don’t want something other’s dislike, we want something we dislike about ourselves that we would like to change.
Once we know what that thing is, we can shift to stage two. In this section we simply want to think about our real life, and we want to find the inevitable examples that everyone will have, where our thoughts or actions did not align with the quality that we previously defined as suiting us.
People who despise their own timid nature will have had instances where they did reach out. Maybe it was in elementary when we stuck up for someone. Maybe the courage we showed was not to be strong with someone, but manifested as us offering compassion while others were still feeling too awkward to offer it.
Maybe we see ourselves as horribly impatient, but on closer inspection we realize we have tremendous patience with children or the infirmed. Maybe we think we’re a bad parent, but there are actually countless examples of things we did that we’re proud of that we never really stop to give ourselves credit for, because society suggests that’s egotistical.
That’s rich. We’ll be self-critical all day long, and then when we take a moment to get out of ego and express some compassion to ourselves for something we really did that really was good, our ego will jump back in and now want to criticize our willingness to give ourselves credit when we have a bunch of failures our ego would like us to think a lot about instead. But it’s us. We’re in charge.
As radical as it seems, almost no one is really who they think they are. Our experiences change us a lot, but if we’re not watching closely, we can look back and see only examples of us matching our previous description, without ever noting that there were even more examples of events that disproved that definition.
As remarkable as it seems, I feel entirely comfortable saying that anyone reading this can be quite sure that their ego tells them that they are a much worse person than they really are.
Our egos beat us up every day all day. Today’s a day for it to take some time off while we use our minds to look for our qualities, rather than what we’ve been taught to perceive as a fault.
Enjoy your day.
EVENING MEDITATION ELEVEN
If you grappled with this morning’s meditation please don’t think you failed at it. By trying to comprehend our own qualities, the first skill our brain needs to acquire is the basic belief that we actually could be better than we think we are. It can take some time to truly accept that as a possibility.
Even if we didn’t find our example yet, we did work through our consciousness in a useful and beneficial way. For those people, they can undertake this meditation a second time over the weekend.
We are very hard on ourselves. It’s a sad fact that many people struggle to find their qualities even though years later they can realize that examples of their qualities were peppered all over their lives.
For tonight’s meditation, we simply want to find a skill we truly pride ourselves on. Not something like bowling, or building IKEA furniture. Like; we stick up for underdogs; or we’re super tenacious; if we’re going to do something we’re going to do it right; or we’re good with numbers; or we have a lovely voice, or people admire our sense of justice.
Even people who despise themselves will still see some genuine qualities they bring to bear in life. But we may not have taken ownership over what they say about us. We get exposed to all kinds of behaviours in our lives. It’s the ones that we adopt that shape who we are. And those choices do say something about who we are.
When we have chosen to develop a genuinely good quality, we should be as comfortable feeling pride about that as we are in feeling shame when we let ourselves down. They are two sides of the same coin.
We cannot feel better about ourselves if we won’t give ourselves legitimate credit. Besides, feeling good about oneself is a nice way to head towards sleep.
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.