Mindful Meditation Project, Day 6: The Lens of Gratitude

Today’s title came in a quite roundabout way. Unable to settle at the 15 minute mark of my 30 minute practice, I asked for guidance in what to explore. Immediately I had the image of a cloud of words. Much like a cloud of mosquitos on a hot, sticky, July evening, they hovered around my mind without much distinction. I couldn’t make out the words themselves, I just knew they were words.

Soon, one settled big and bright in my mind’s eye: envy. I must admit I was thoroughly shocked at this. Of all the words I have examined over the years of meditation practice and in teacher training, envy was not one of them. I don’t carry envy with me and I don’t contemplate it because I rarely feel it. I can’t say the same for Beth the young girl and Beth the teenager, but as I got deeper into adult life, I didn’t have time to feel envy as I was worried about myself more.

Envy stopped me this morning, so I chose to investigate. I realized this is the perfect illustration of why we need quiet in meditation. Had I allowed my brain and human mind to choose the topic or to lead me in my practice, no doubt it would have been something else entirely. But in that quiet moment, I was able to hear something I didn’t even know had been bubbling beneath a busy surface.

Upon introspection, it turns out I’m feeling envious not of people who have bigger houses and fatter bank accounts than me, but people who have a strong connection with their purpose. Not what you thought? Me, either. In this liminal space of transitioning from classroom teacher to real world adult, I am feeling more and more discomfort with not having a working knowledge of what I’m to be doing or where I’m even going. It eats at me day and night, to be honest.

Enter gratitude. The antidote to envy, as came in meditation, is gratitude plus action. Duh! I should know this, as I’ve been unmoored in life before yet found my way back to the shore through a deep and intentional gratitude practice. Developing the habit of naming our gratitude, of connecting with those things that bring us joy, peace, and meaning, is the first step in aligning with their energy to bring us more of that energy in our every day. This was the entire point of my Tiny Joys series and actually how it began, in the months after becoming a widow back in 2016.

So today I will sink back into a gratitude practice to develop my awareness of what I already have, and use that to begin to realign with what I know is mine to claim and investigate, rather than sit in the foreign and unproductive energy of envy. I have what I need…I just need to come back to that space.

What are you grateful for? I’d love to hear in the comments. I’m grateful for readers like you.