knowing – a meditation


The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.


In the past, I looked for a formula to be sure to always do the “right” thing. I liked the idea of a black and white world. I wished there was always a clear right and wrong because I wanted to be right all the time.  I wanted to be in control in that way.  In the past, it was easy for me to tell people what to do or ask people what to do, as though there was one absolute answer for everyone. I wanted there to be an absolute answer because otherwise, that meant people could be unpredictable and that life was unpredictable and that I wasn't in control. I feared that if there were no absolutes, how could I be safe?

Fortunately, what I want is not how the world actually works. I have learned that most things in my world fall into a grey area with very, very little black or white anywhere. There is almost never a clear answer when I am looking for a solution to an issue I am having. There is no absolute right and wrong in my life. There is just what feels right to me at the time – what aligns with what my Higher Power wants for me. Today, aligning with my Higher Power in my thoughts and actions is my safety.

To me, this does not feel like knowledge of the mind but awareness of my soul; not right and wrong, but what aligns with my soul and what does not align with my soul. In this way, I beginning to understand that I can only know what aligns with my soul right now, and even then, only when I can quiet my ego and listen. I can not with know what aligns the souls of others. I can not know what will align with my soul in the future. So, I cannot offer advice or judge. I can only do the next right thing.

For me, the wisdom was in accepting that my ego knows nothing, and my soul is in tune with everything. When I can connect with my Higher Power, when I can connect with what is in the Highest Good for my soul, I am at peace.

A meditation for August 4, 2013.

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expectations – a meditation


“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

I spend a great deal of time focusing on the external. I judge people and situations as “right” or “wrong”, or even “good” or “bad” depending on how I feel about them. I even used to say things like “they made me feel…” or “he hurt me…” or “she mad me mad…” In none of these situations do I take accountability for my own feelings in the situations. I just hold my external circumstances to up to certain expectations.

How did I develop these expectations? I believed that if everything and everyone were a certain (as I expect them to be) then I would be safe and happy. I wouldn't be yelled at or teased or judged or criticized. And that's what I wanted so badly. I wanted peace. I wanted a space to just be myself. Ironically, this is exactly what I was not allowing of the people and environment around me. Though I wanted peace, I kept pushing my expectations on others either passively or aggressively. Though I did not want to be criticized, I was constantly assessing how other people or situations could and should change for the better. In my desire to have space to exist, I tried to control all the space around me. But I do not need to do that.

In the beginning of this meditation, I wrote “I judge people and situations depending on how I feel about them.” In this sentence lies the answer to my need to control via expectations. The key is my feelings. I think, often, I take my feelings out of proportion by minimizing them. I reject or ignore my feelings by telling myself not important enough. But those feelings build up and form resentments and expectations which I then take out of of proportion again and believe them to be the most important thing. This is black-and-white thinking. But it does not need to be.

I can simply accept my feelings for what they are – my ego responding to the world around me. I can accept that I am sometimes in pain, happy, angry, sad, etc. If I can do this without judging my feelings and simply allowing them to be, I am better able to process them and only then am I able to decide how I want to react.

Just for today, I will try not to judge others. Rather, when I feel frustrated or upset about another person's behavior, I will stop and take a quick inventory on why I feel bothered. I will not judge my reaction as good or bad, but rather simply accept it. In doing so, I can give myself peace and give myself space to exist. When I can offer this compassion to myself, only then am I able to offer it to others.

A meditation for July 31, 2013*

*Thanks to Hillery for requesting a meditation on the topic of expectations! Continue reading “expectations – a meditation”

ego – a meditation


The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.
Eckhart Tolle

When I was early in my program of recovery, someone once told me that I am not my feelings, I am not my thoughts. I remember thinking “what the heck does that mean??” I had not yet understood that all of my fears, judgments, thoughts, and emotions are part of my ego and I am more than my ego. My ego is how I learned deal with the world. Beneath that, there is my soul. On the soul level, I do not try to process the world through emotions and fears. Instead, I feel connected to it. I am part of it. That is the part of me I try to connect to when I reach out to my Higher Power through prayer and meditation. I try to accept and be a part of and connected to rather than setting myself aside as less than or better than. Instead, I can just be and allow my surroundings to just be.

Today, in recovery, I will try to accept my environment rather than try to judge it. I sometimes forget that my Higher Power communicates with me through people and situations whether or not they are tied to a program of recovery. Today, I will try to remember that and treat every situation, whether as I judge it as good or bad, as a gift from my Higher Power.

A meditation for July 30, 2013

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peace – a meditation


Don't let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.

Kimberley Jones

I do not fully agree with this quote. I definitely agree with the first sentence: “don't let people pull you into their storm”. And I love that  it says “their storm” and “my peace.” I feel like that immediately gives me a clear understanding of what is in my hula hoop. Whatever the other person is going through is not my responsibility and is not something I need to internalize. It is their storm, and I do not need to take part in it or be pulled into it. I can choose to remain in my peace.

The part of the quote that I disagree with is “pull them into your peace.” For me, I believe that what I might see as a storm is simply my interpretation of a storm. That is to say, it just doesn't work for me. It might be a situation that is totally different for the other person. I believe that it is up to each person to decide what defines peace for them.  What I consider a storm, someone else could consider peace. And what might be peace for me, might be a storm for others.

So, instead of “pull[ing] others into my peace,” I think it is more accurate to state (as per my experience) that I stay in my peace and offer the other person compassion and support. This is often tricky for me. I forget easily that offering compassion and support is about being of service to my fellows. So, it is important that I do not force my idea of compassion or support onto others, which is the same as “pulling them into my peace.” Instead, I can offer my support by asking how I can be of service.

Today, I will choose not to be pulled into another person's storm. Instead, I will remain in my peace and offer compassion and try to be of service to my Higher Power and to my fellow.

A meditation for July 23, 2013.

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