Perhaps this is one of the best Stoic practices that helps to distance or detach yourself from where you are right now and more importantly where is your mind.But we rarely zoom out to take a bigger picture and widen our perspective. Once we get this perspective we can realise that what stands on our way become a way. Wide perspective plays fundamental role in mental strength.
Let me quote – Marcus Aurelius
‘You can rid yourself of many useless things among those that disturb you, for they lie entirely in your imagination; and you will then gain for yourself ample space by comprehending the whole universe in your mind, and by contemplating the eternity of time, and observing the rapid change of every part of everything, how short is the time from birth to dissolution, and the illimitable time before birth as well as the equally boundless time after dissolution’
You can practice this meditation using Bold app.
Or here is the script which you can read, memorise and practice yourself.
To start our meditation as usual seat comfortably, straight but not tense in a place where you want be distracted.
Close your eyes and relax.
Take few deep conscious breaths.
Follow your breath with full attention.
Breathe in and out, feeling how your body fills with air, and then empties...this process is
endless your entire life.
You might notice how attention on breath changes the way you feel.
Notice any sensations that comes to your field of consciousness.
It could be sounds, feelings in the body..
…..Notice them without any judgement, just as they are.
…….Pay attention to the whole of your body as one… every nerve, muscle and fibre…
Just be content and notice whatever you notice, and feel whatever you feel… Be a passive, detached observer… As you continue to relax, turn your attention deeper within, and become more aware of your body… until you can almost imagine how you look right now…
Now bring to mind where you are at this point in life. You can also focus your attention on specific situation that might bother you or you are trying to figure out solution for a problem.
Begin to imaging looking at yourself with specific situation in mind from the outside like if you would be looking at yourself from the corner of the room…..You can also pretend that you are in the movie at this moment playing main character. Watch yourself as somebody watching you in the cinema ….. You can see the colours of the movie, things around you.
If you wouldn’t struggle to solve certain problems, strive to accomplish something I guess movie will be very boring. Good movie has a hero and you are the one in your movie.
Every situation that you encounter makes this movie more interesting. It might seem like a long movie for you where it lasts 70-90 years but from perspective of universe it is incredibly short but hopefully memorable and meaningful.
Now imagine that you are starting to lift from the ground going above the building where you are….. As you go up you get broader perspective of the whole place around you. You start to realise that you are getting smaller and smaller in this room,….at some point you can’t see yourself anymore. As you move up further you see cities….. continents…….. and eventually whole planet Earth …with beautiful blue oceans and white clouds. Notice it’s position in the solar system…… How small it is compare to the sun.
Going even further you realise the vastness of the universe where the sun is a speck and you are a grain of a sand on the beach of the universe.
Everything now look as one … as a whole…
Everything was before you and will be after.
Your consciousness expands, and your mind stretches out to reach and touch the vastness of eternity…
Ask yourself from this perspective of the universe how big is your problem or situation that you are facing?
You probably realise that it’s small or even nothing. You made it big only in your mind but in reality it is nothing.
Some might think that in this case everything is pointless if I am so small and I am nothing.
Yes and No.
Universe has created us for a reason. Even if we are small we are integral part of it. And have a chance to make our best shot in life and at the same time not catastrophes every problem that we encounter. Don’t think that you are the center of the universe. You are totally wrong if you think so. But you are part of it. It also learns from your experience. Don’t try to fight or be against what universe brings to you. Fighting against universe is fighting against yourself. Take everything as a gift to learn and grow.
Now in a moment gradually start to go back down to Earth, toward your place in the here and now… Part of you can remain aware of the view from above, and always return to and remember that sense of serenity and perspective.
Start to feel your body.
Notice you breath.
You can move your hands and open your eyes when you are ready.
Marcus Aurellious said:
If we could take up the viewpoint of eternity, we could see beauty in everything.
Time to time practice view from above especially when you feel you are drowning in daily dramas.
Zoom out to get perspective.
Your mind is your most powerful tool.
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