hurts – a meditation



Some of your hurts you have cured
And the sharpest you've even survived
But what torments of grief you've endured
From evils which never arrived.

— Emerson

Oh, boy. What truth there is here. I have spent too much time enduring “torments of grief” from “evils which never arrived.” This is a common activity otherwise known as “worrying”, “fretting”, “agonizing over”,  “awfulizing”, “catastrophizing” and “living in the wreckage of the future.” I used to do this a lot. I do it less now, because I recognize it for what it is and (usually) cut it short. It might start with my bank balance getting low with a few days to go before payday. Before long, I've got us bankrupt, homeless, and living on the street.

Now, I have some tools to help me cut short my worrying. These include the slogans “One day at a time” and “first things first.” “One day at a time” reminds me that I am living in the present moment, and that I should take care of what I need to do now. Worrying will not change any outcomes, it will just make me miserable now. If there are things I can to to affect the outcome, then I should do them, and “first things first” reminds me of that. As we say, I can do the “next right thing,” and when I've done everything that I can do today, I can let go of the outcome and continue to live in the moment. When hurts come along, I will survive them or cure them, in their time. But I certainly do not need to endure “evils which never arrive.”

A meditation for May 14, 2013.

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