Good Morning Everyone! I sure hope a lot of you remembered to set the intention to find value in the day. By making that intention our brain assumes a subtle, but active, searching state of mind. And what we seek, we shall find.
It’s as though our attention is a flashlight. But instead of just letting it hang wherever our parents attached it to our belt, we are actively using it to find value as we move through the world. These Meditations are about us turning that flashlight around to point it at ourselves and our lives.
To this end, today’s three meditations are about us becoming more aware of how we create and dissolve the boundaries between our sense of self, and the rest of humanity, or even the universe. If you’ve done any of these with me before –good. They are worth doing again. We’re always becoming new versions of ourselves with which to do them.
Let’s choose three people we struggle to like. But now, let’s imagine aspects of their lives that redeem them significantly. Let’s picture them helping their best friend through a tough time.
Let’s picture them making their grandmother laugh. Or that they have same hobby we do, and they feel about it the way we do. Imagine seeing them singing along with us at a concert for our our favourite band. Or imagine them playing our favourite song on our favourite instrument.
Let’s imagine them writing something clumsy but sweet to the person they love. Let’s imagine them as an innocent kid being picked on. Picture them smiling at us.
We wrap people in ‘thought suits.’ That is not who they are. The question for us today is, what good qualities are concealed by the thought suit we wrap them up in?
Let’s spend today watching for the act of ‘separation.’ When we’re mesmerized by a stunning sunset, all words pale in their ability to wrap up the beauty and intensity of the experience.
In that silence there is no space between us and the sunset. There is no experiencer. We are one with it, which is why it feels so awesome. There is no limited ‘us‘ doing the experiencing. It is allowed to simply be.
Some clear signs that our egos are working to separate us is when they start using terms that only egos recognize. Things like: Me, You, They, Ours and Mine. We want to watch –but not judge ourselves– for any instances where we start using those words. And here’s the most important part of that meditation: we cannot criticize ourselves when we use those terms.
We just want to note that we used them. Trust me. We all learned to talk (a fantastically complex thing) just by observing people talking. None of us needs to criticize ourselves into better behaviour. If we just observe our selves in action we will see ourselves and our actions more clearly.
Fortunately, that awareness, added to our good nature, will automatically lower how much we engage in unproductive, unhealthy behaviour. That’s because as the thinker, we will see our behaviour for what it is –as nothing more than the products of our thoughts.
Finally, since we’ve already thought about it, let’s return to our ‘miraculous sunset.’ As a final mediation, let’s all think of three examples of where we were so overwhelmed with some experience that we don’t recall taking ourselves away from the present moment to create a description for ourselves of what we were experiencing. We just had the experience in a silent, powerful way.
For many people this is the first time they saw a place, or the births of children, or when they fell in love, or heard a piece of music that we treasure to this day. For some it was the first time they recall just loving themselves.
Whatever it is, revisiting that experience in the context of these meditative lessons helps us understand the universe. Because what made those experiences special wasn’t the experiences themselves. It was us ceasing our limiting thoughts. We experienced the openness that happens automatically when we lower our thought-based judgments.
Without those, these miraculous ‘sunsets’ are all around us and ready to flow towards us. It’s our egos that ward them away with our limiting ideas, expressed in words, and almost exclusively to ourselves. Which takes us back to the first exercise. Because the point of doing it is that everyone, including us, has value to some people. But with the people we ‘don’t like,’ that can seem hard to believe thanks to our limiting thoughts about who we will believe they can be.
(If you’re up for a bonus meditation, spend some time wondering why I consider these three assignments as being part of one larger idea that ‘surrounds’ the concepts of ego and reality. Because there is some real meat in that bit of wondering.)
That’s it. Another day of successful meditating. We’re accomplishing more than most can realize through the veil of thought. But each of these exercises is either reinforcing a universal truth, or they are perforating false ideas about what reality ‘is.’ And both of those things are good for our mental health.
Enjoy the day everyone.
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.