Feeling like I am lost at sea, I sit in morning meditation with this heaviness in my chest. It is clear to me now that I don’t want to go on like this. I want to remember my loved ones for who they were, who they still are underneath the labels I have wrapped them in like Mummies who still have stories to be told. Labels like The Lost One, The Burdensome One, The Interfering One, The Ignorant One aren’t helpful when I am trying to peel away these bandages to know them.
I remember him picking me up from school dances, taking the family to Golden Gate Park and national parks, walking beside me on Ocean Beach discussing philosophy and compassion for the human experience. I remember her cooking and bringing me food in college and medical school during finals, dressing me is saris over the years, giving me the things she did not have growing up.
One by one the memories twinkle like stars in a dark sky shaping a new Heart constellation I’ve never seen before. Entrusting myself to the waves of this meditation experience, I feel my body relax as the seawater flows in and I taste tears.
Please forgive me for any harm I may have caused you, knowingly or unknowingly.
I forgive you for any harm you may have caused me, knowingly or unknowingly.
I am willing to endure any storm with you, again and again, as long as I am shown the Heart constellation.
When you are feeling settled inside your body and breath, bring to mind someone who is difficult for you. If this is your first time practicing meditation or working with a difficult being, please try to pick someone no more than a 4 on an irritation scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least irritating and 10 being the most irritating.
Now imagine that you are caught in a storm on the ocean, and the waves are violently rocking your boat. It’s OK to feel the waves of irritation for this difficult person move through you, because you are wearing a life jacket. There is also an expert captain on this boat with you, someone you trust, a loving spiritual being, a wise parent or teacher, a caring partner or good friend. They will not let you drown.
What are the labels you have created for this irritating being? The Annoying One, The Egotistical One, the Hurtful One? Try to keep the label simple without getting lost in the storyline of how this being hurt you. If the waves are too strong, please remember that you can always return to feeling the physical support beneath you and your breath, the gentlest wave of all moving through you with a sincere wish for your ease and wellbeing. You also have your life jacket and the expert captain with you. You are not alone.
If you are feeling supported, see if you can invite this difficult being into your boat. If it feels right for you, try to remove one of two of the bandages or labels you have wrapped this being in out of anger, fear, or past hurt. Can you look into this being’s eyes? Can you remember one or two things they have said or done to help you or someone else?
If you can’t think of anything, please be patient with yourself. The layers of anger, fear, or hurt can lay low like a thick fog around the heart for years. This fog will not dissipate quickly. It can only burn off when it is ready to over time. The intention to simply be here with this person inside your boat is a brave start. You may also choose to see this being through the eyes of someone who loves them, or even imagine them as a child.
If there are any endearing thoughts or memories that come, let yourself rest in them for as long as you like. Let these fond memories twinkle like stars in a dark sky shaping a new Heart constellation you have never seen before. Like the North Star, may this Heart constellation always guide you whenever you feel you are lost at sea.