When I first heard this, it seemed a bit odd as it was the opposite of being present. But during a meditation several days later, I decided to incorporate this with regard to a situation that was coming up and which might be somewhat upsetting if I wasn’t aware.
I imagined various scenarios and saw how I would habitually respond and how I could instead respond spiritually by understanding that the action that was upsetting was an expression of the other person’s suffering. Also, I saw myself entering the group more joyously, with a heart-felt wish that everyone experience happiness. As a result, in this imagining I felt no slight and felt one with the group.
When the event actually happened, I followed through with my meditation’s imagining. I purposefully approached the group joyously, my interactions with people were thus different, and people responded. When I saw people who I felt had slighted me in the past, I saw that their action was an expression of their suffering and felt no more slight and only wanted happiness for them. There was one person towards whom I initially had a somewhat critical judgmental reaction, but I caught myself and turned that around to compassion.
So the imagining process definitely altered my actual experience of the event. This past weekend held the potential for several stressors so I thought this was another opportunity to imagine. And again, when I imagined experiencing things that would upset me, raising negative emotions, I said no, my natural state is harmony and peace and I let the emotions go that disturbed that harmony and peace, knowing these were all a product of my mind and that things are the way they are because it’s just the way it is. And it worked in reality.
I know it must sound strange or even troubling that someone who is as seriously into their practice as I am, who has been doing it for more than 20 years, and who has made much meaningful progress on the path still is beset with the types of challenges which I openly relate in my posts.
But that is a fact of living in this world. It is a constant challenge no matter how far along the path one is. It’s a reflection of how deeply rooted our ego-mind is. One can only do the best one can. And as the years go by, one is rewarded with ever-more moments, hours, and days of peace and happiness.
This is a meditation practice I will continue when appropriate.