I know the holidays – heck, any time of the year it seems – can be stressful. So, my gift to you is this meditation. It’s so simple and you can do it as often as you like. Especially if you start to feel anxious, irritated, or moody. Especially around people who make you anxious, irritated, or moody.
Take a deep breath. As you do, visualize you are inhaling the suffering felt around you. If someone in particular is getting under your skin, inhale the suffering that you know they must be experiencing in their life. We all feel similar emotions and have similar trials. Breathe it in.
As you exhale, say to yourself or out loud, “May we all feel compassion for each other.”
Let’s try this in a real world example. Let’s say I’m driving down the road and, at the stoplight because of the traffic, someone crossing in front of me is stopped in the middle of the intersection and even though I have the green light, I can’t go because they are in the way.
Here we go. Breathe in: “This driver is so stupid.” Breathe out: “I feel compassion for this person. I too have driven badly before.”
Let’s try another example. If you’re at work and you have one coworker who constantly causes problems. They’re late; they don’t pitch in; and then they complain about how things are going.
Breathe in. “I am so irritated by this person. How I would love to fire them if I had the authority.” Breathe out. “I have compassion for this person. I too have been in a career that I was ill-suited for. I hope they figure out a better path someday.”
Remember the old Tom and Jerry cartoons. The cat would have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. This is the basis for this technique.
As you do this exercise, really visualize the emotion: what it looks like on your face, what it feels like in your body, what it tastes like in your mouth, what it smells like. Really try to experience it.
You can do this meditation for all sorts of other emotional conflicts:
- Jealous vs happy for someone
- Smoking vs non-smoking
- Eating junk food vs eating healthy
- Lazy vs active
- Judgmental vs accepting
I have a homework assignment for you. Try this now. Just take 2 minutes to breath in a negative emotion you have been working on changing and breathe out a new, improved vision of who you can become. Let me know what you worked on and how you feel afterward in the comments below: