Good morning everyone. Hopefully we’ve all set our intention for the day to be a good one and we’re ready for today’s meditation.
If we’re looking things to feel grateful for, society is an obvious but often overlooked choice. The other people are highly deserving of our thanks. And we could likewise benefit from their reciprocal appreciation as well.
The challenge with honouring our society with gratitude is that today’s large civic populations make our connections to each other less visible. Yet it’s those connections that weave the fabric of any society.
Without the actions of everyone around us the world does not exist nor come alive. So let’s take today to be grateful for their help, and let’s try to have this meditation become a more common one in our lives.
For subjects we can use anyone in our vicinity. For time, we can use any that isn’t occupied with things that employ our thoughts, like reading, learning or concentrating.
It’s for any time waiting in traffic, waiting in line, waiting online, waiting rooms, escalator rides, etc. Instead of getting on your phone do this.
We can then use that time to take any sample person nearby, and then imagine them as someone tangentially important to us. However subtle and indirect, we need only imagine each subject as being someone that creates value in our lives. So maybe:
The slow woman ahead of us at the grocery store is the one that sews all of our buttons back on our clothes for the dry cleaners.
The angry emo-looking girl glaring at us as she uses the cross walk was the very excellent emergency baby sitter for the neurologist that raced in one night to save our child’s life.
The guy that’s having trouble negotiating his car out of the gas station is the guy that cleans our drinking water.
The angry guy at the park, frustrated by his misbehaving kid, is the over-worked paramedic who saved the life of your brother’s daughter by giving her Naloxone after an overdose.
The woman who parked too close to us at the mall isn’t our kid’s teacher, but she is the school janitor that managed to stop our kid from being teased at school when no one else could.
The young kid who is slow serving us at the box store may look like a criminal, but he lost his Dad young, so he’s the one that gave most of blood that was used on us during our operation.
The politician we can’t stand once did something crucial to help change the rule around assisted dying that our parent found incredibly valuable.
Despite having had a terrible day herself, that lady that cut us off in traffic is the tech that made no mistakes in her work and her test proved we are cancer free.
The obese fellow who’s blocking the aisle at the grocery store is the friend who made our boss laugh really hard at breakfast two years ago. And as it turned out, that residual happiness was what tipped our boss away from firing us over a major mistake we made that week.
The man being short with us at work is not really upset with us, he’s just tense and upset because he just found out his kid was born with the same genetic problem that our child has.
The actions of the irritating kid next door once interrupted the thought process of his uncle, but that disruption ended up leading to a realization that changed the development of a drug that now gives one of our dearest friend most of their quality of life back.
That last case is there to remind us that the Buddhist sense of causality is real. These chains of effect can be long and complex. But in the end they can absolutely require small negative actions over here, in order to create big, positive results over there.
There are many hands involved with our good fortune. Each day we ride on the backs of others just as they ride on the backs of us and others. We do all truly need each other. And we’d all benefit from acknowledging that more often. To that end:
In today’s meditation, let’s use our creativity to turn the faceless people that we see each day, into the very real people that really are necessary for our life to happen.
Do this in each available time-space. Before the day is done ensure you’ve done this exercise with at least 10 people. And that applies even if you’re shut in and you needed to see them on the evening news or through social media.
Everyone feels the need for more connection. But the size and pace of modern life means that this is not as natural as it was when we lived in much smaller communities, where our interdependence was more noticeable. But that does not prevent us from making it noticeable.
If we’re going to carry any meditations forward on a daily, permanent basis, then this one and the one I’ll post tomorrow are two excellent candidates. Both help reconnect us to others while reminding us that we are also important to them.
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.