An Exercise Instead of Meditation
The past is layered in to us in many intricate layers. Your inner world is full of complex relationship, for it contains the past not only as it occurred but all the ways in which you would like to revise it.
All the things that should have turned out differently do turn out differently in that place where you escape into fantasy, revenge, yearning, sorrow, self-reproach, and guilt. To get rid of these distractions, you need to realize that there is a deeper place where everything is alright.
In Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse writes, “Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” This sanctuary is a simple awareness of comfort, which can’t be violated by the turmoil of events. This place feels no trauma and stores no hurt. It is the mental space that one seeks to find in meditation, which I believe is one of the most important pursuits anyone can follow.
However, if you do not meditate, you can approach this place of calm with the following exercise: Write down this affirmation:
I am perfect as I am. Everything in my life is working toward my ultimate good. I am loved and I am love.
Do not pause to analyze the statement, just write it down. When you come to the end, shut your eyes and let any response surface that comes to mind, then write down the first words that come to you (write this response directly under the affirmation).
Your first thought is likely to contain a lot of resistance, even anger, because no one’s life is perfect and it is hard to believe that everything is working out as it should.
Now, without pausing, write the affirmation again, shut your eyes, and once more write down the first words that come to mind. Do not stop to analyze or dwell on your reaction. Continue the exercise until you have repeated the affirmation and your response twelve times. This exercise allows you to eavesdrop on the innermost levels of your awareness.
Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).