Settle yourself into a comfortable position.
As you walk through the visualization portions of this meditation, take as much time as you need. Give yourself this time, here and now, to release all other thoughts that might occupy your mind.
Allow yourself to be fully present in this moment.
Relax into your chair and take 3 deep breaths in preparation for meditation.
On your third exhale:
In your mind, see yourself standing at the edge of a forest. You hear movement on the other side of the brush. As you turn to look, you lock eyes with a doe for a brief moment. She turns, and with a little leap, she has disappeared down a small path. Just before she is swallowed up into the sea of green you see her white tail wave to you.
You shuffle through the tall grass toward the path the doe has flagged you to and enter it. As you travel the path you can hear the crunch of gravel under your boots as if you are walking on bubble wrap. There is a peace that embraces you as you go deeper into the woods and civilization is left behind.
Ahead you can see where the path will split into two. There is a directional sign with arrows that offers you a choice. One reads “Self-Love” and the other is “Love for Others.”
On this day you will choose the path toward “Love for Others.”
The path is alive with sights and sounds. You hear the skittering of little creatures in the dry leaves. You hear the calling of birds and the creak of branches bending in the wind. You see a morning dove carrying small twigs and grasses to build a nest. A squirrel runs by, cheeks bulging with his bounty; tail twitching, running in little bursts. The air smells of pine, dried leaves and moss.
As your mind wanders an individual invades your tranquil thoughts. This person has caused you some sort of pain emotionally. Maybe it was a disagreement or argument. Maybe it was a betrayal or insult. Whoever it is, and whatever it was, you begin mentally sparring with this person. Your mind is going over every detail, proving you were right; proving you were wronged. The beauty around you has disappeared into the fog of resentment. Your mind has taken you to a different, darker place.
Suddenly you are snapped back into the forest with the sight of this very person sitting on a log alongside the trail you are following. Before they see you, you notice the body language of the person sitting there. They have their elbows on their knees and their head in their hands. It is a stance of defeat or deep contemplation.
The moment they are aware of another observing them they pop into alert mode. You exchange a few brief words and they begin walking with you down the path.
You are walking, silently, side by side, along a narrow portion of the trail where the earth slopes steeply on both sides. Suddenly you hear the sound of gravel tumbling down the ledge. The foot of the person next to you has slipped at the edge and you see them reach out to you as they begin to fall over the ridge.
Instinctively you reach out to grab them by their outstretched arm. As your arms lock; your hand grabbing their forearm and their hand grabbing yours, time stops. In that moment you no longer feel YOUR feelings, you feel all of their feelings. You feel their fear, you feel their feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and anger. THEIR life flashes before your eyes: Their pain in childhood, their struggle to feel loved and worthy and the defense mechanisms they have developed to address this pain.
You feel it. All of it. And you pull them to safety. As you both stand there, breathing heavily, you release your grip and look them in the eye. Your anger and resentment have turned to empathy. You can see gratitude in their eyes. You give each other a small smile and turn to continue down the path.
As you silently continue walking together you begin wishing the best for them. You are aware that although you may not be interested in spending a lot of time with them, you can still wish only good for them. The resentment has faded and the sights and sounds of the beauty around you have returned.
Ahead you can see where the forest clears. As you step into the clearing you realize you are where you began. The person you have made this journey with says a few parting words and with a wave heads off into the other direction. As you watch them go you say to them “be well.”
Take three deep breaths. As you exhale your third breath say the word “peace.”
Today I release resentment. Should anyone cross my path today (either physically or simply in my mind) that I believe has wronged me, I will take a moment to be aware that their behavior has nothing to do with me. I will then take the extra step of wishing the best for them. In my mind I will see this person happy, smiling and at peace. And release.