Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remembering the goodness in someone

Here’s an exercise that’s designed to evoke appreciation in even the most stubbornly negative person:
1. Begin by settling comfortably and taking a few deep breaths.
2. Spend a few minutes reviewing all the good things that happened to you in the past 24 hours. You may recall a moment when someone treated you with love or kindness — maybe it was a friend or family member or just a person in a store or on the street. Perhaps you’re reminded of some simple pleasure, like eating a good meal or seeing the sunlight in the trees or the smile on a baby’s face.
3. Reflect in the same detail on all the good things you did during the same 24-hour period.
4. Allow yourself to feel appreciation and gratitude for these special moments.
5. Reflect in the same way on the previous week. Continue to breathe while you recall all the good things that happened. If negative memories come up, set them aside for now.
6. If you have enough time, gradually extend the meditation to the past month, the past year — the past two years, the past five. Recall as much as possible all the pleasant, happy, joyful moments, as well as all the good things you did and all the ways you were gifted or supported by others.
7. Allow feelings of gratitude and appreciation to well up in your heart. If you have plenty of time, you can extend the meditation to include your whole life. Of course, you won’t be able to remember all the good things, but be sure to cover all the headline events, including the ways that your parents nurtured and supported you and made it possible for you to grow into the person you are today. If you have resentment toward one or both of your parents, do the forgiveness meditation in the previous section.

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