Life can be confusing. Looking after ourselves, looking after others. Deciding our paths. Deciding what socks to wear. Dealing with heartbreak and loss. Having to curb our more expensive or sweet food habits. Fitting in exercise. Staying well. Loving, forgiving. And sometimes, saying no. It’s a minefield.
It is a constant path, working all that out. It really is. Thankfully as you get older, though, or as you learn more about your illness(es), it becomes easier, and you know roughly what you’re doing.
When things have got difficult, though, you find you can take solace in the small things; fresh sheets, a cup of hot chocolate. Have a look and see what lovely things are around you today.
I have bipolar. We all know that. But what I’d like to talk about is how wonderful the people around me are. I live in a building filled with people mentally and physically different from ‘normal’. They are truly and thoroughly some of the best people I have ever met. So understanding, so caring.
Don’t judge us or pity us. The only hardship we face is people that don’t care.
One of the key tenets of Buddhism is that you do a job that is ethical. The funny thing is, what drew me to Buddhism is that it just seems to make sense to me. Moreover, I look back at my life, and I see it’s truth as it happened. I was happy, and well; thriving, when I volunteered for the FoodBank. I got very ill when I worked as a soulless marketer. I think about all the skills I’ve learned and will learn doing blogging, and I know I could apply it to something soulless and lucrative… but I don’t want to. Where would I get the motivation from?
Building this idea is exciting and motivating. It means so much to see I’ve helped someone. I don’t know if this is spirituality or ethics or just plain sense, but I do this because I love it and I love the people I help.
Otherwise known as loving-kindness meditation, meta meditation increases empathy and compassion for the world around you. As a practice it comes from the Buddhist tradition, though you need not be Buddhist, or even religious, to benefit from the meditation.
To do it, all you need is a quiet spot and either good intentions or the wish to have good intentions.
Settle yourself into a comfortable position. Sitting with good posture is advisable, either on the floor or on a chair, though if you have knee troubles or other complications, lying down is absolutely fine.
Once you are settled, you do the meditation in three stages.
You say ‘May I be happy.’ Repeat that phrase 10 times, taking as long as you need.
You think of someone you know and love, saying ‘May [insert name] be happy.’ Repeat this 10 times, again taking as much time as you need.
Say ‘May all living creatures be happy,’ 10 times.
Practice when you need to – it has scope to transform your life; to add joyfulness and deeper understanding.