A teacher of mine gave me the basis for this meditation. I’ve used it many times when I’ve felt overwhelmed or anxious. It’s good for times when you feel like a problem is too big for you or when something that’s bothering you is larger than life. I prefer to use it as a walking or running meditation, but it could be used as a seated practice as well.
Go outside. Deeply breathe in the fresh air. Take a few deep breaths. Calm and center yourself. Whether you’re running, walking or sitting, direct your attention above you for a few moments. Look up into the sky. Breathe and just let yourself look into space.
Consider what you see. Is the sky bright and blue, gray and stormy, or dark and cool? Is the sun out? Feel its warmth glowing on your skin. Or do you see the moon? It can be bright, silver and full or it can be a misty sliver in the night sky. Watch the clouds, are they puffy and light or do they hang low and threatening? Observe the clouds moving across the sky.
Do you feel the wind blowing across your face or through your hair? Is it a light, refreshing breeze? Perhaps a stiff, cool wind. Realize the breeze you feel is moving those clouds across the sky. The clouds carry moisture that will eventually fall back to earth, becoming a stream, a river or a sea. That moisture will feed something on this planet, maybe a plant, an animal, maybe you.
Recognize that the clouds you see and the air you feel are moving across the surface of this world, across other lands and oceans. The sky you’re observing surrounds the entire Earth, warm and cold, mountain and desert. Seven billion people look up at the sky you see every day. Think about that many lungs breathing the air you breathe now.
Outside of that atmosphere await the moon, the planets, the sun. How many worlds gaze upon us as a great blue marble in space? How many billions of stars twinkle at us from afar? How many galaxies spin in the vastness of the void that surrounds our world? Notice how insignificant we appear to be compared with the enormity of the universe. What are today’s problems in the grand scheme of things?
In our universe, stars are born and die every day. A comet bursts into life approaching the sun, then fades and refreezes as it retreats into the darkness.
Consider the earth again, revolving around the sun, dependent on the sun for the energy life needs to prosper. Think about the many kinds of life you know. The birds in the air, the deer in the forest, the fish in the stream. The trees growing above us and the grass below.
Feel your weight as it pushes against the ground. Notice the temperature of the air around you. Observe your breathing. Feel the air as it moves through your nose and fills up your lungs. Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly. Bring your senses all back to yourself.
Know that, as a human being, you have value and purpose in this life. Recognize that your problems may feel big to you, but you are not the first person to experience these problems and that others have found solutions. And like those others, you too can and will solve your problems and find peace.
Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He can be contacted at: https://www.facebook.com/jason.large.12?fref=nf