Good morning everyone! I trust this finds you all well. If you’ve been joining us in setting a morning intention for the day, it won’t be long before it’ll seem crazy that we used to leave the quality of the day to chance.
Today we have another nice simple meditation built around the idea of juxtaposition. There are no such things as floating ‘facts.’ For any ‘fact’ to be useful in our life we must also have some comprehension about the ‘context’ in which the fact sits.
As an example, I am from a place that has pretty extreme temperature fluctuations. A hot summer day can be in the high 30’s Celsius (98°F). But a cold winder day can be in the low minus 30’s Celcius (-35°F).
After a nice hot Alberta summer with 18 hour long days, that means that 0°C (32°F) in the autumn feels freezing cold and everyone is bundled up in coats with gloves. Yet, after a winter of short days and long cold nights, 0° feels balmy, and everyone’s out in a sweatshirt or light jacket and gloves seem ridiculous.
In the autumn we react very negatively to 0°. In the spring we react very positively to 0°. That illustrates the flexible nature of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Happiness is always relative. How we feel about anything is impacted by how we felt prior to any new feeling. If our line of emotion curves down from where it was, we feel worse. If it curves up from where it was, we feel better.
Considering this, today’s meditation asks us to find a minimum of 5 examples of where we experienced gratitude for something we would not have been grateful for were it not for its changing context.
Maybe we separated from a travel companion because they had some habit that was driving us crazy. But later, we ended up super happy to see them when they ended up being the person to find us wandering around, lost and scared.
Maybe we thought it was disappointing to get put into a certain group at work. But later, once we got to know the task and the people better, we realized we we’d been put in the best possible group.
Maybe we were disappointed that they built a new condo that blocked the sun from our garden. But later we were grateful they built it because we formed a close and valuable friendship with someone who moved into it
Maybe our parents taught us not to trust doctors so we avoid them like the plague (irony intended). But then, thanks to being forced to see one after minor accident, we learn we had a condition that would have been fatal but thanks to our accident it was discovered and successfully treated.
There are a lot of things and experiences in life that we might generally classify as ‘bad’ or ‘unwanted.’ But, under the right conditions, those same things can be seen to have great value. That’s why it’s worthwhile to study our own history to look for examples of that happening.
By doing this exercise we begin to teach our minds that we are not a fixed identity moving through an outside world with a fixed set of values. The world is much more flexible than that.
It does not matter what previous thoughts we had about a person, place or thing –including ourselves. Value is always determined in the current context, in the present moment, via our thinking. And the best part about that, is that it means that absolutely anyone’s future has the potential to be bright.
I said find five. But if you’re doing these meditations with a partner or friends, know that the more examples you find, the more you help your mind become more conscious of how flexible reality really is, and of how much potential each of our futures really have.
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.