How Does an HSP Cope With All the Suffering in the World?
If you’re not familiar with the term HSP, please see the definition for “Highly Sensitive Person” from Dr. Elaine Aron.
With no simple answer, I’m afraid. I’ve pondered my own answer to this question for several years. The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to me during one of my own meditations a few years ago. I use it often…and lately, that means almost daily!
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 and space, preferably your own special place that may have candles or a special feeling of comfort and security for you.
Sit or lie down in a very comfortable position. (I prefer lying, 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. Hold for a count of four.
- Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, to a count of ten.
You want to create a very deep 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, yet important part.
Begin to allow your mind to go ahead and focus on all the things you have been concerned or worrying about. Like many of you, I have been close to tears each day as I hear about all the suffering in the world.
Lovingly ask each individual concern to patiently wait in line — assuring them they will all have a chance to be heard. In your relaxed state, begin to see each entity forming a line, waiting patiently. As they come up to be heard, assign them a name like Robin Williams, Gaza/Palenstine conflict, Nigerian girls or maybe for you it might be lost job, finances, or whatever else evolves as an appropriate and loving way to remember and honor your concerns.
As an HSP, these kinds of images tend to burrow deep into my inner world and I can begin to feel burdened, lethargic, and sometimes hopeless. Cognitively, I know there is really nothing I can (concretely) do about these tragedies, yet my yearnings for a better world keep my mind occupied.
Now comes the next step in your meditation.
Try and discern the feeling(s) associated with each worry…is it fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, deep concern, or maybe anger, frustration, impatience, resentment, envy? Whatever it is just allow the feelings to be there alongside the worry…not going anywhere…no need to change…just to be…it is okay for this feeling to just be whatever it is.
After you have allowed each worry to surface, and to be heard with empathy, assure each worry and feeling (which should by now have a name to be remembered by) that they have been seen and heard, and that they will not be forgotten.
Thank yourself and your inner wisdom for allowing you this time, and for what you have been able to express openly. 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.
Now comes a very special part.
Record & Release
- Put on any music that will assist you in feeling grateful, thankful, or blessed. Or just put on any soothing, comforting music that you love. (Note: You will need several votive candles available for about $.25 in craft stores.)
- 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 or abundance. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is real for you whatever you care to call this relationship.
- Finally, once again, close your eyes; imagine the concern being received with acceptance, love, 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. If you should be one of the HSPs who watches the news, it’s a good idea to have your candles nearby for the 90 second remembrance. Commemorating, honoring, and releasing all the troubles in the world by this small ritual seems to help me feel I have done something for those suffering. 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 hopes for a better world out to the Universe.
Open and Nurture Your Heart with Gaia’s Meditation Guide
Learn the art of mindfulness and loving kindness — the foundations for living with an open heart — in The Yogi’s Heart, a guide for opening and connecting. For it is only when you approach life from a place of openness can you embody connectedness with all things.
10 Signs That You're a Free Spirit
When we think of the term, “free spirit,” we imagine a person who steers their own course in life, unencumbered by common burdens or concerns. Some look at those who identify as free spirits as being irresponsible or childish, though this mindset offers lessons to inform us how we can live life on our own terms.
If you’re someone who considers yourself an independent thinker or doer, who pushes against society’s envelope and is deeply committed to finding your own path, you may be a free spirit. Are you curious as to whether the free spirit path is for you?
Ten Signs You’re A Real Free Spirit
If you identify with any of these signs, chances are you have a free spirit waiting to be let loose into the world!
1. You’re Independent-Minded
Independent people thrive on listening to their own voices, regardless of the situation or circumstance. This key personality trait of the free spirit is a common one in innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative artists, as an independent streak also relies on a strong foundation and belief in oneself.
Are you the person in the room who always finds a new way of looking at things? Free spirits defy expectations and will always see the unexpected in equally unlikely ways. These kinds of thinkers can be great assets on a creative team, as they will always find a new way to look at an idea. Free spirits are also incredible advocates for innovation, as they are not afraid to stand up and for their ideas, no matter how much it veers from the rest of the crowd.
2. Fear Doesn’t Stop You
Dale Carnegie said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” Free spirits feel fear, but they don’t allow that feeling to be something that stops them. Instead, a free spirit will work through the fear and let it serve as a motivating factor. In fact, most free spirits will tell you that any success is not worth having unless it’s achieved with a healthy dose of moving through fear.
3. You Have a Strong Spine.
While it can be said that free spirits go with the flow of life, they accomplish it with a healthy and strong sense of self. This translates into living with intention and purpose and one that is not defined by anyone else. A free spirit walks the talk and in many cases, creates the language that makes up the talk.
4. Free From Attachment
To live as a free spirit, one has to be willing to let go, or walk away from the things that might weigh others down such as conventional relationships, careers, and other traditional trappings of modern life.
You might find a free spirit selling their material goods and living in a van, or not staying tethered to one place for very long. Or perhaps a free spirit may choose to live simply with a commitment to not participating in consumerism. Minimalism is often a choice of free spirits as this lifestyle embodies freedom from many of the things that weigh us down. Free spirits enjoy their own company and thrive on solo time, and putting themselves first.