Meditation builds mental immunity, and as you may have been reading throughout The Book of Joy this year, for those of us who are not spiritual teachers, who “live and die in the blur and buzz of the marketplace,” the practice of meditation has even greater importance. Especially now, in such a full time of year, this calming practice may be especially beneficial.
How we close the day matters just as much as how we begin it.
How we close the day matters just as much as how we begin it. Similar to the Daily Examen, Buddhist monks use a practice called Making a Dedication you might find helpful. Both involve reflecting on the events of the day as a way of noticing whether one has fulfilled one’s intention, experienced gratitude for one’s blessings and turned toward the next day on the journey of life.
And if, as co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series Jack Canfield believes, the purpose of life is to gain mastery over our emotions, finances, relationships, and our consciousness. Using the tools at our disposal, like meditation, is logical, helpful, and makes sense.
Reflect on the day, whether lying in bed or just before, consider meaningful experiences, conversations, emotions, and thoughts at the end of the day. Steer away from focusing on what you did or did not do, but note the major feature of the day and consider if it was in alignment with your intentions as you set out that morning.
Pay attention to your emotions and accept your experience. What emotions came up during your day? Acknowledge negative and positive thoughts or feelings that arise, not pushing them away, but with a fuller sense of awareness of their presence in the day. If you are disappointed with some aspect of how you acted, put your hand on your heart and say, “I accept myself as I am, flawed and human like everyone else.” Noticing where you have fallen short of your intentions will allow you to grow and learn. And, if something painful happened, gently remind yourself that you are not alone, that we all suffer at times.
Feel gratitude. This is the most important quality to have toward your day – for the experiences, the hardships, the moments you learned and grew through.
Rejoice in your day. Choose something about the day you felt good about. Did you help someone? Did you keep your cool during a conflict? Did you choose to behave in a way you were that pleased you? Did you take steps to accomplish a personal goal? If you can’t think of anything, rejoice in doing this practice.
Turn your attention to tomorrow. Set your intention for how you wish to face the challenges that may come. Trust that you (with God’s help) will be able to handle whatever the next day may hold. Release the remainder of the night into God’s care as you go to sleep.
This meditation originated through The Book of Joy, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Douglas Abrams, which participants in the Everything Holy project were encouraged to read this past year. You can opt-in, too. Click here to find out more.