A Meditation of Hope and Love
by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC
The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to me during one of my own meditations back in 2001. I’ve shared it here, in this newsletter, a few times, and it continues to seem as appropriate and helpful as it was 20 years ago. I use it often… and lately, that means almost daily!
How does an HSP cope with all the suffering in the world?
What a great question, and how I wish there was an answer. In retrospect, I’ve pondered my own answer to this question since about the age of 10 when, it seemed, almost daily I would ask my Mother: “But WHY???” She had no answers for my existential angst, yet would often, in her attempts to soothe me, say: “I don’t know…but why don’t we pray?” Fortunately for me, this special prayer time instilled in me that there was always a place I could go for comfort, at least temporarily.
If you choose to try this meditation, I hope it offers you a bit of comfort, wisdom, and hope. It is shared with love.
A Meditation of Hope and Love
- Find a meditation time – at least 30 minutes, or longer, if possible. You know the criteria – quiet, uninterrupted time, preferably in your own special place that may have candles or a special feeling of comfort and security for you. If necessary, ask your family members to honor this special time.
- Sit or lie down in a very comfortable position. (I prefer lying down, legs slightly elevated, with something light and soft to cover me.)
- Begin slow, deep breathing, focusing on blowing all your breath out – as if blowing out a candle. Breathe in deeply, through your nose, to a count of 8 or 10 (or just to a count of four if that is more comfortable.) Hold for a count of four. Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, to a count of ten, if comfortable. You want to create a very deep exhale and cleansing breath.
- Notice: You might begin yawning, or drifting off to sleep. Go with whatever feels best for you. There is no ‘doing it wrong’ here. Just keep practicing until eventually, you can complete the whole meditation.
Now here comes the harder, more important part:
- Begin to allow your mind to go ahead and focus on all the things that have been causing you anxiety, worry, grief, sadness, outrage, confusion, or depression. If you are like me, there is no shortage of things that come to mind, many of which leave me close to tears or feeling hopeless or powerless.
- Imagine your Wise, Loving Self sitting patiently in a beautiful place in nature. The sun is shining softly, warming the atmosphere in a way that feels just right. Imagine yourself extending a warm, assuring welcome to all who have assembled. Begin to gently and lovingly invite each individual concern to patiently wait in line — assuring them they will all have a chance to be seen and heard.
- In your relaxed state, begin to see each entity forming a line, waiting patiently, perhaps willingly wearing a mask and social distancing? 🙂 As each individual concern comes up to be heard, assign them a name, something like: lost job; finances; overwhelm, the pandemic; protests; riots; political divisiveness; George Floyd (and all the other black lives lost in a senseless way;) Allow whatever else evolves, or comes to mind, giving a name to each, serving as an appropriate and loving way to remember and honor these concerns.
- Do not be surprised if you begin to cry … this is perfectly normal for we HSPs .. and often an important part of this healing meditation. I let my tears flow, imaging them serving a role of respect and care for all the suffering in the world.
Now comes the next step in your meditation.
- Try and discern the feeling(s) associated with each entity as it appears before you. Is it fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, deep concern, or maybe anger, frustration, impatience, resentment, envy, outrage? Whatever the emotion, just allow the feelings to be there alongside the worry….…not going anywhere…….no need to change or fix anything….…each emotion and entity is allowed to just be whatever, and however, it is.
- After you have allowed each worry, concern, or entity the chance to be seen and heard with empathy, assure each one and the name you have assigned to it, that they will not be forgotten. If necessary, share that you will take a moment each day to acknowledge these concerns in your own special way—either via prayer, meditation, or repeating this Meditation of Hope and Love each day.
- Take several moments to thank yourself, your inner wisdom for allowing you this time, and for all that came forward, and for what you have been able to openly express.
- Slowly begin to bring yourself out of your relaxed state. Sometimes it is helpful to set a soft alarm of some sort if you need help with timing. After a while, it all just sort of comes naturally.
Next is a very special part of your meditation. You will need to have purchased several votive candles, enough for each concern you have spent time with.
- Put on any music that will assist you in feeling grateful, thankful, blessed, seen or heard. One of my favorite songs for this meditation is Clair de Lune by Debusky.
- Have your journal nearby, and prepare your special place if you haven’t already. Begin to record who and what you encountered during your meditation.
- For each worry you have honored in your special way, you will now light a candle to commemorate your connection to it, the pain it feels, the struggle it is going through, and its hope for a better life.
- Allow your thoughts to embrace each concern for at least 90 seconds while you focus your attention on the candle’s glow and light.
- Imagine your concern being released to a higher source or power. Imagine the Universe waiting to embrace the essence of your concerns, hopes, and feelings. For some people, this ‘waiting embrace’ is God, to others, it is a Universal source of abundance. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is real for you whatever you care to call this relationship, this surrender, this letting go with love.
- Finally, once again, close your eyes: imagine the concern being received with acceptance, empathy, love, and extreme care. Release the worry, knowing it will be taken care of. Let it go. Let go and let God.
Repeat this process as many times as needed, maybe daily if necessary.
P.S. Commemorating, honoring, and releasing all the troubles in the world by this meditation & ritual, seems to help me feel I have done something for the suffering in the world. It also helps me to remember to be thankful for what I have and to continue to develop and hold on to my faith, and to radiate my love hopes for a better world out to the Universe.
Of course, I also encourage you to take any concrete action steps that may help you feel even a tiny bit more empowered. Participating in my local community Black Lives Matter marches has helped me feel a bit less alone and hopeless.
Let me know how it goes for you.
with love and care,