A beautiful thought developed and enveloped my thoughts this weekend. It was the product of fear, danger, anger, compassion, gratitude, stress, love, and empathy. Some list huh? Well, it was some weekend.
These last 9 months have been very trying times for me. To date, I have only shared a small fraction of these life changing events. Every time I ponder how to disclose my trials, it feels like an endless list of nastiness. And for what, comparison sake? Am I trying to win the badge for ‘My Life Is Worse Than Yours’? It isn’t!
I quite like my life! I’m not sure how yet to share my struggles proportionately to my many moments of splendor. Of those, there are plenty. Yet, I surely don’t want to come off as bragging about the wealth of my enrichments; pretend like I have it all figured out and soak up every ounce of joy available? I don’t!
What I do have is an idea that sprouted Saturday, of which I can’t place having heard anywhere before.
*Warning* It is the last statement that likely makes this idea a terrible one. Plus, there is nothing new under the sun. In my noviceness, I’m probably reporting some long held and accepted belief like it’s a fresh view. A big shout out to my impatience; writing about something before I have had time to fully explore the concept in my own mind.
What can I say? In my experience, terrible new ideas have brought me far too much fun to ever turn away from one. So here goes.
Every religion advances to a more existential ideology as they climb through their list of indoctrined beliefs. At the top, the most spiritual of all the leaders hold this one belief. We are all one, connected on this earth and in this universe. Life flows through each of us and just keeps flowing, like invisible waves passing through every person; as if the people are the water droplets of the ocean themselves.
In a rush of compassion and empathy, I pondered what it would be like to be a street kid in India, an enslaved sex worker in Cambodia, and a mother in Sierra Leone. I also tried to imagine being a sailboat captain on the Mediterranean, a Bollywood dancer, a vaquero in Patagonia, or a sheep herder in Andalusia.
When I closed my eyes and pictured myself living a completely different life, as a completely different person, I was able to get rid of the stressful thoughts that were plaguing my head.
It calmed down angry, reactionary emotions I was battling and allowed me to stay focused. As I empathized with others, I didn’t take their actions and words against me so personally. I felt like I had a better understanding and compassion for myself as well.
More over, it strengthened my connection with the world and the people in it. I felt as if I could somehow support people in their moment of need, even though they were complete strangers and on the opposite end of the world. Is it possible that they could feel me connect with them, support them?
Some people are firm believers in vibes and negative waves, while others view this line of thinking as new-age, hippy-dippy stuff. But we have all experienced a loved one’s bad attitude bringing us down. Like wise, we have all allowed the hope and positive spirit of another to lift us up. The ability emotions and thoughts have in affecting others is very real.
This feeling of connectedness I was having most certainly resonated out of my body and traveled like a ripple in the water; a massive wave of life splashing against others as it passed through them. However minute, consciously meditating in this manner not only helped me, but very possibly helped another feel the slightest tingle of warmth in a time they needed it.
So many counter arguments are bound to arise from an active practice of connecting with others in this manner, and rightfully so.
How could you ever know what someone else is going through?
How will you ever begin to know if you never try to imagine?
We must learn to accept and deal with our problems, not run away when they present themselves.
When I was younger I use to put a different spin on a common saying, “To err is human, to forgive is divine; but I’m no Jesus.” Nor could I ever have been, no matter how hard I tried. “The struggle is real.” We can’t be superheroes all the time, turn the other cheek graciously towards our transgressors. Sometimes you just need a break.
Would it be more appropriate to drown our stress at the bottom of a bottle or rack up some debt with retail therapy? There is no one way to deal with the hardships of life. This practice seems as beneficial, if not more so, than any of the other methods we use to cope and learn.
Mindfulness is about the importance of being in the moment, yet this type of meditation would not only disregard the importance of being present, but would recommend being somewhere else altogether.
You need to step back from time to time, see the bigger picture. Is there anything you can get as close to as your own life, your problems buried inside you? I question the practice of meditation giving me all the answers, simply by looking inside myself. Looking at others can help a person see themselves more clearly or who they would like to become.
Why would you purposely imagine being in a difficult place or going through something so terrible? What benefit can negative thoughts have?
To empathize with another breeds compassion, strength, love, and understanding. Plus, no person has it all bad. People who have suffered unmeasurable hardships know things that others do not, they may even be able to collect happiness from little moments I would otherwise take for granted.
Just because an event or emotion is negative, doesn’t deny it value. Take heartbreak for example, a very real experience most of us have had, filled with strong emotions. How much do you learn and feel from the magnitude of these powerful experiences?
This temporary virtual reality seems dangerous, addicting, and completely fake?
What can’t you put into this category. Even drinking too much water can kill you. No one is escaping life on a permanent basis by taking a few minutes to harness rewards on a beneficial level. Just for a moment, feel what the rest of the world is feeling, connect in a new way.
Besides, the thought of virtual reality is far too weighted with implied assumptions. I have played and it’s great. Don’t let the youtube videos scare you. I was very much aware of my self and my surroundings. Virtual reality is comparable to 3-D and its usage is no different from watching T.V; all things in moderation.
Living vicariously through another means you are not living yourself.
First of all, it’s only for a moment, a minute or two of meditation. I’m not going to be spending all day in la la land. Second, as you experience other thoughts, ideas, and adventures, you will no doubt learn new things about yourself; new things you may want to try.
The act of visualizing your goals is considered a necessary act towards achieving them. This would be exploring ideas that may one day turn into goals. The better these purposeful meditations make you feel, the quicker you will want to implement some of those aspects into your own life.
A couple of times I have used the word escape. That feels like it might be the wrong word and counterintuitive to the meditation process.
I don’t think it is. When a person meditates, they are trying to remove themselves from their thoughts and the environment around them. Is this not a form of escape? We don’t have to associate the word with a high fashion, felon in a bright orange jumpsuit and metallic jewelry. Vacations have the same concept, yet we have more positive associations with that word.
There is no one way to do anything; the same goes for meditation. Many people struggle with the process of emptying their thoughts. Could this be a solution for those people? The very concept could be further branched out with a variety of intentional thought processes.
What do you think about the idea of actively meditating with the purpose of connecting with others, searching for understanding.
To not just clear your head, but to fill it.
To shake up the status quo with a new form of agitated meditation.
A blogging friend, Mathias Sager, used that phrase in a conversations once, agitated meditation. We were talking about the possibility of affecting change rather than just being the typical nonviolent observer. I wonder if this line of thinking might be akin to his theories on evolving meditation to be more accessible and adaptive to today’s lifestyle.
A lot of people believe that you can not change the world and that we will never be able to understand each other and find common ground. But how would you ever know if you never begin to try?