This Premeditated Meditation is one part of a series of sample meditations designed to bring us down from our most common unhealthy reactions. We write them to ourselves, while we’re feeling great, because that’s when we have access to all of our wisdom.
Later, when we’re upset, we have only one job: read the letter we wrote to ourselves. We really do know what we need. That wisdom is within us. We just have trouble accessing it when our thinking is racing.
This letter from a fictional 85 year old who has taken some consciousness training, and who has lost their spouse of 60 years.
If you’re reading this ‘letter of tears’ then it was the tears that drove you to it –again. At least it’s getting easier to read each time. That’s why I’ve added this into the beginning. People from our generation didn’t talk about feelings and souls. But each time we read this the ideas get a bit easier.
Most of the value in this letter is in the parts Scott got us to rewrite. Remember how uncomfortable we were with the idea of writing ‘from our soul?’ It all feels so wishy washy for people our age. You remember what convinced us though:
Either we’re just some crazy old lady talking to ourselves, or our ‘soul’ is using words to communicate with our conscious self. (We like his answer better because we like any explanation that doesn’t involve us being crazy. Ha! The cat’s safe.)
He said we should discuss how you want things all the time. You’re in a state of ego right now. You’re engaged in ‘language-based self-conversations that resist reality with want.’ He said we should remind ourselves that our ego only exists to want.
That’s okay though. If we don’t want anything then nothing gets done. Without these egos of ours none of us gets the chance to feel motivation or inspiration.
Apparently our ‘souls’ just provide us with unconditional enthusiasm for living in general. The part I understand better is that the life we chose to focus our energy on was largely decided by our ego. I chased James because he was handsome.
We had ideas of who we thought we wanted to be. But we’d decide that 20, but by 30 we wanted different things. I suppose maybe Scott’s right. We can’t ‘find ourselves’ until our ego gets us lost first.
I know this: both our soul and our ego got married and right now our ego wants James back. I want the sound of him making his breakfast in the morning. I want to have to wait to get into the bathroom because he’s taking so long. I want to have him bother me to turn up the TV every five minutes.
That’s how much our soul loved our husband. Half the time he irritated the heck out of us, and yet I’d give absolutely anything to have him back now. I didn’t value his presence enough. Scott talks about ‘presence’ all the time. And James was good at it with us. But we weren’t always very present with him.
Today, feeling okay but still missing him, now I can see the value in just that simple thing. Another human being’s presence. Even if something’s irritating, when it gets to be such a part of your ‘normal’ it gets to be something trustworthy in a way. I can’t explain that except to say that I’ve heard it from almost every widow and widower I know.
But if you went to get the letter you’re not ‘fondly reminiscing’ in some healthy way. If you went and got this letter then it’s because you want out now. So far so good. You’ve opened the chute, so to speak. (I know from reading it a few times, by about here I’m already starting to feel better, usually. So let’s do what’s worked.)
Now remember: you loved Egypt. But the Pharaohs are gone. There are relics of them, but nothing that comes to life. There are no classical ‘Egyptians’ to make it come alive.
The same’s true with James’ breakfast and the bathroom and how he drove the car. Those are the pyramids from your life with him. They are beautiful. It’s okay to walk around them and admire them, as long as I don’t want all the Egyptians back.
This is our third draft of this letter, so I know reading this and calming down is getting easier and easier to do. I’m even surprised at how much it feels like me writing this, and you reading it, makes it feel like I’m doing this with someone. Like we’re doing this ‘together.’ It’s nice. And this meditation can get our mind back on track.
Annie. You remember how he was when he survived the war. He was always reminding us and the kids that there was no point dwelling on sad things when we could use the same time and energy to create new happy things. That’s how you honour James.
It’s okay to walk among his pyramids and Sphinx’s if that makes us happy in the present moment. But when that turns sad like this –when our ego starts really wanting by asking for him back –then it’s time to leave the past behind.
Being sad is a healthy and meaningful part of life. Losing a partner from a 60 years marriage is a massive change to a much-loved set of patterns. That is jarring. We have a bit of PTSD. Of course it hurts.
But this isn’t an unhealthy reaction Annie. It’s just a part of life where quite a bit of sadness is natural. We’ve been through sad before. We can do it again.
Once we get to the point where we don’t want to be sad anymore, that’s when we pull this chute. And we will come out of that dark place just by reading this. It’s worked several times already. We’re starting to feel better just knowing it’s there in case.
Remember: the pain is a signal to get the letter. And we have to always remember, it’s not the content that causes the shift. It’s our ‘moment by moment focus on anything better than the painful thoughts.’
I’m surprised at how much this letter is like a hug. It keeps reminding me/you that we’re going to be okay again, just like last time. I was sad before I wrote this and I’ll be sad again. But for that cycle to happen I also have to be happy again. So even if all I do is wait, things will change. Breathe deeply.
Congratulations Annie. Reading this was the healthy choice. Make the same one next time.
Now keep breathing deeply and go make yourself feel better with the smell of baking cookies. You know we enjoy the baking, plus you know how it goes. It acts like bait for all of those wonderful grandchildren of yours.
Get sad, read letter, calm down, bake and attract the children that make us happy. It works pretty good Annie. Keep going! And try to bake with no thoughts in your head at all. If we don’t start our thoughts then we don’t need to stop them.
You’re going to be okay. Now put on Vivaldi and get out the flour.
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.