The other day a friend of mine told me that there is a lot of hate in the world; a lot of hate and anger. Indeed, I thought. "And there is *also* a lot of love" I told her. She told me that I just live in a bubble. I can agree with that actually. And that got me thinking about my bubble and how it's made. And if I live in a bubble then it follows that she lives in a bubble too. In fact we all live in bubbles of sorts. These bubbles are made up of our thoughts, perceptions and attitudes. They are fueled by our experiences, what we have been taught and how we choose to respond. I imagined us all walking around in bubbles of thoughts and ideas. Some are clear and bright and some are dark and cloudy, some are blue and some are purple. And they can change in the blink of an eye because the thoughts we choose and our resulting states of mind create these bubbles. These bubbles in turn effect how we see the world because we look through them. We live in them so they effect all aspects of our life ~ our health and mood, our stress level and relationships ~ just our total quality of life. If I could choose the bubble I live in, and I can, I would choose one that is clear and bright and full of energy that would give me the highest quality of life, make me happy healthy and peaceful. Wouldn't you? I just have to figure out then how to make my bubble an awesome place to. I work at that every day.
So from this vision of bubble land I started thinking about how much LOVE there actually is in the world and if I could somehow quantify it. So I did an experiment with some theoretical love math and the result was pretty amazing. I want to share this because what I ended up doing became a powerful practice in altering perspective that gave my bubble an instant charge of light. Contemplative practice, or resetting your state of mind to one that makes you happier and healthier, is something i have learned about from my studies in Buddhism and New Thought philosophy. I started to see how this love math calculation could become a contemplative practice that could bring my mind to a more peaceful place. Because after I did it I felt way better than when I started. This is why I want to share it with you. These kinds of practices have become more and more important to me as tool to strengthen my positive frame of mind ~ which to me is the single most vital component of a happier healthier life.
Before I share this LOVE MATH CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE exercise I want to expand on why I think cultivating a positive frame of mind is the single most important component to a healthier happier life. For example; Say you are healthy ~ GREAT! Now if you have a negative view of life and nurture negative thoughts about yourself and others on a regular, unconscious and habitual basis, there are mountains of research to suggest it will eventually find a way to manifest in your health both physical and mental. I have seen many examples of this in myself and others. On the other hand. if you are sick or dealing with an illness, but maintain a positive frame of mind about the possibility of your healing, you can be certain that healing is far more possible and in fact your healing will be assisted on a cellular, spiritual level by an attitude which allows for the possibility of healing. This is just one example of how our frame of mind effects us. Everything in our lives both within and without is effected by our thoughts and attitudes. With a positive attitude you live a solution oriented life, not a problem oriented one. You have more hope and as a result more energy. You are more likely to succeed at your goals (or even make goals in the first place) because within your mind they are possible to achieve. This cultivates even more happiness for yourself and your family. A positive frame of mind and attitude is like a rich lush garden full of possibilities and the people closest to you get to walk there with you. A negative frame of mind is a barren, one that breeds anger, hopelessness, jealousy and low self esteem. Those closest to you will walk in that land with you and be effected by it too. If you cant seem to get out of these cycles of thought, there are many tools for the willing. The journey to get you to a more positive place will reveal much inside you that must be looked at, felt, and healed. Like it did for me. I have battled depression many times in my life and pulled myself out more than once. Each time was easier because I knew it was possible. We need these types of tools in a time when the turmoil of the world is not so much getting worse, but our ability to see it broadcast anywhere, anytime, from anyone is far more pervasive, streaming into our eyes and minds and effecting our bubbles more than ever. And we are not getting a balance of stories and images either. In other words the major news organizations aren't broadcasting and publishing the many positive stories of selfless acts and heroism that are out there and putting *those* on loops as well. Instead we see mostly images of violence over and over even long after the episode is over. Back in the day before the internet and mass digital media if a terrible thing happened, it happened only once if we were actually there. But with video cameras and monitors in virtually everyone hands we can see things that happen to anyone anywhere over and over.
I want to interject here for a moment that working to maintain a positive frame of mind IS NOT ABOUT LOOKING AWAY from or ignoring injustice, pain and suffering. It's about being able to look directly in the face of all the negativity in the world and not let it consume or crush you. A positive attitude responds with solutions and maintains hope. It acknowledges and allows the pain and grief that is a natural part of the human experience, takes the natural and needed time to experience and feel it, then channels that energy towards possibilities for resolution and into a place of inner strength instead of lashing out or surrendering to hopelessness. This takes strength, practice and discipline. And to do it in a healthy way you must ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL first. Its about what you do with those intense feelings long after you have had a chance to grieve. At the moment when it is ok to move on (and that's different for everyone) that's when the positive attitude can work miracles. I have seen the staggering difference in outcome when people come from anger and fear, as opposed to coming from compassion and hope. Our responses to events in life cause more of the same in return: compassion breeds compassion - hate breeds hate. I will always stand up for what I believe in and work towards equality, tolerance and peace. I stay informed and I see what's happening, but I refuse to let it make my bubble black. That's not healthy for me or the people around me and it definitely does not make the world a better place.
Can you see how it could make a powerful difference in your life to take a moment to reset you mind? This is how I combated my own depression and got my life back on track and started wanted to live again. I believe it is vital to our overall well being to see the balance of truth. It is a way to restart a negative mindset and pull yourself out of a funk. If you are willing to see all the hate and anger in the world then can you be just as willing to see all the love? If not then ask yourself why. Do you find yourself feeling sad about the world and your life a lot? This exercise be healing as well as revealing about the effects of thinking. Chances are you have seen or read about a lot of anger and violence lately. Why not take a minute to see/read about/contemplate all the love as well.
So here is the exercise. Take a second after each suggestion to actually do it.
I believe you will get a lot from it. I believe that you will feel better when you are done. Ready?
To start, think of the person you love *most* in the world. It may be a spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a child or parent, or a dear friend who has always been there. Think of how much you love them. Feel your love for them for a moment. (pause, close your eyes, think of them and feel that love)
Now, think of all the people you love most in your life....those very special ones you hold near and dear, your family and closest friends. Take a minute to think of each person for a second. As you visualize them in your mind think about what they mean to you and how much love you have for them in your heart. (pause, close your eyes and think about them and feel that love or them for a second)
Now think of all the people you love in this *world* This might be a bit of a stretch but try. Just a quick inventory with a flash of their face in your minds eye. Those living and deceased, those who you may not see very often or those you don't even know but love for some reason... like a celebrity or an human rights activist or a spiritual leader, someone you deeply respect who has made an impact on you~ a teacher or song writer or poet or artist whose work you love. Really think about that love for a moment. (pause, close your eyes and think)
Think about all that love for a minute.... all together.
That's a lot of love ~ and its just inside you.
Now think about all the THINGS other than people that you LOVE... Music, art, dancing, chilling, rainbows, playing sports, clouds, stars, trees mountains, birds, your cat, your dog, sailing, hiking, partying with your friends, the beach, reading, movies, your car, your house, your bed... you get it.
NOW Contemplate all this LOVE for a moment. Within the vast majority of individuals on this planet there is at least some of the love described above inside them ~ for their families and those they hold dear, for their friends; for nature or their pets and got their many passions in general. I am not suggesting that there are not those out there who perhaps have no love for anyone, but this exercise is to think of those who do and can love. If you start thinking about hate remind yourself that you are supposed to be thinking about love and keep going.
Imagine *all* the love that all those people who can and do love have for their dear ones, for their friends and families, for those they love in the world and the things they love to do ~ just like you
MILLIONS OF HEARTS LOVING MILLIONS OF OTHER HEARTS
MILLIONS OF PASSIONS ~ MILLIONS OF LIFE LOVING MOMENTS EVERYDAY
Millions of people who have at least a little part of the love that's inside you, inside them.
That's a lot of love. Stay with that for a moment.
Or a moment more.
I will leave you with this thought ~ Most violence against people that we have see on the news is done by one or couple or a few. But the resulting out cry against it is in the millions and the number of people who show up to help and support the victims far outnumbers those who commit these acts. Take this to heart and know that we can be stronger when we focus on what we *can* do together. What binds us together is far stronger than what tares us apart. Believe in the awesome power of the love we all have within us. Nurture it within yourself and others through thoughts and acts of kindness towards yourself and others. and if you ever get low... take a minute to think about all the love there is in the world.