Do you have particular meditations that you do regularly? I’ve decided to share one of mine after reading the Meditation Mondays series on the blog belovelive, which is always full of lovely photos and inspiring ideas. Its author, Liz, says that “regardless of who we are, finding ways to get in touch with our souls, in whatever way works for us individually, is something that can make life much more rich and bring us a deep sense of peace.”
Sometimes when old negative emotions from long-ago events surface, I work through them by doing a meditation that I call “Recycling.” First, I imagine myself walking along a peaceful forest or prairie path, surrounded by nature. The scene changes each time I finish working through one topic and begin another. Recently I’ve been picturing my starting point as the path shown in the photo below, which I used to illustrate one of my blog posts last month.
The path leads to a riverbank that would be a lovely place if it hadn’t been littered with plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other trash that needs to be picked up and recycled. Each bottle or other item of trash has stagnant water inside it, so I have to pour that out before taking it away for disposal. The stagnant water looks icky, and sometimes a cold rain starts falling; but I know that I am making at least a little progress toward getting things cleaned up.
While disposing of a piece of imaginary trash, I consider an aspect of the troubling situation. Let’s say that someone involved made an unkind remark. Setting aside my previous judgment that the person was nasty and hateful, I think about other possibilities. Maybe the person felt angry and defensive after having been a target of someone else’s bullying and, as a result, misinterpreted my words. Or maybe I was the one who misunderstood something in the conversation. If the remark was indeed meant to be unkind, the person might recently have lost a job or had a death in the family.
Just reflecting on the fact that there might be other explanations can go a long way toward taking the sting out of the memory; and it also helps to make clear, through this very simple imagery, the burden that results from carrying around old grudges.