If we’re developing a good morning routine, (as suggested at the outset of this meditation series), by now most people will have likely started to notice some small but positive effects in life, like better moods or a greater level of awareness that also increases our focus on these meditations etc.
Fortunately, whether people have started their day in that way or not, today’s meditation is easy. What we gain from it will relate directly to what put into it. If we want our minds to learn these skills our only way is through practice. Just as we have learned to be our egos, we must actively unlearn to be ourselves.
MORNING MEDITATION SIX
To have preferences is to be a human individual. To be overly attached to those preferences is to be a slave to our egos desires. The simple fact is, we feel good when we are in a state of appreciation, and poorly when we’re in a state of want.
Today we will all act as our own thought police. Like some totalitarian regime, we will monitor our own thinking. Our duty will be to watch for all manner of want. Note: I say this many times; this is a very good meditation to do on a regular basis.
How will these wants manifest? We may want the weather to be different. We may wish it was a different time, like, ‘after the pandemic.’ Maybe we don’t want to get some important work done. Or we’re avoiding a phone call that is worth making. Maybe we want something to eat even though there’s no reason for us to be hungry. Maybe we even want to be someone other than ourselves.
Thinking those wants into being is what our societies trained us to do, so we shouldn’t add to those thoughts with more about how dumb we are for thinking them. It’s all just thoughts. If we stop peddling, the wheels stop turning.
We think all kinds of crazy things all day, there is no reason to take any thought any more seriously than the ones people have about moving away to desert islands. Don’t worry so much about changing these thoughts. Just notice them. The act of noticing will help build space between our ego, and we the observer. That distance alone is worth a lot.
Enjoy your day. See you for the evening meditation.
EVENING MEDITATION SIX
If we’re a single parent it may have to happen after our child/children go to sleep. If we’re part of a couple, or if we have roommates, we can take turns. If we’re alone then it’s easy. We don’t even need to go outside, but it may help if we can.
Tonight, some time between when we relax for our personal part of our evening and before we go to sleep (even if that’s only a few minutes long), we should all try to go outside to simply practice being. We should seek internal peace as an activity.
With the same intention that we would practice any skill, our job is straightforward: go quiet, and absorb the world around us. In the space that we would usually fill with judgments and criticisms and nostalgic thoughts, we can instead use our life’s energy to simply take in the present moment.
In coaching people to help them develop their personal access to more peace, I’ll often suggest that they start by trying to imagine the way that many tribal people still perceive the world, which is through a single sense.
We use words to divide our perceptions into segments called seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing and smelling, but many tribal people see all of those as one fluid sense, where all of them exist simultaneously in their consciousness. Our meditation is to spend time attempting to capture that sense for ourselves.
It is very doable for any of us. If we practice and we prevent our minds from being filled with thoughts. It can be tricky trying to forget what we’ve learned, but we must always remember we’re just returning to this sense.
Back when we were little children, before we knew what senses were and before we knew any words to use to divide up the world, we lived very much like single-sense tribes-people. So if we do practice, seeing things through a single sense is in us all to do.
Tonight, take some time. 5-15 minutes. Most cities are extremely quiet. Maybe we can even see some stars where we are. And if we’re very fortunate maybe we can even see the Milky Way. Whether it’s that, or the neighbour’s fence, or the moon, or a car tire, or a tree, the point is not what we’re focused on, it’s that we’re fully focused on anything.
That sort of focus leads to a peace that serves to slow us down. It loosens our body, helps us breathe more deeply, and it helps us prepare ourselves for sleep. It’s worth finding ways to make some version of it a ritual before bed. Enjoy the process.
Sweet dreams everyone (although, if they’re bizarre or creepy now, that’s okay, that’s just our brains trying to make sense of all of this weirdness.) See you in the morning.
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.