A Meditation of Hope and Love

It happened again and could have ruined the rest of my day.   “It” being a daily bombardment of tragic news stories about the war in Ukraine, the devastating and heartbreaking  suffering of the Isralies and Palestinians,  natural disasters in third world countries causing famine, suffering and death, cultural, social and political upheaval, and distrust leading to misinformation,  misunderstandings, conflict, disconnections, or divisiveness.  Because of our HSP depth of processing, I’m sure each of us can simply fill in the blank for what personal experiences or external world events can trigger us into a state of sadness or helplessness.   This emotional state can be easily exaggerated especially if we allow our depth of processing to lead us to unchallenged assumptions.

So, yes we know, a daily awareness of disturbing local, national, or global events can be particularly challenging to recover from.  Other daily “micro-aggressions” whether personal or interpersonal, can continually challenge our sense of joy. Coupled with the human tendency toward a “negativity bias” these kinds of experiences and images of suffering can burrow deep into our inner worlds leaving us feeling overwhelmed, overladen and wrought with worry.   We want to make a difference, but more often we are left feeling helpless.

The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to be many years ago during a long afternoon meditation while in nature.  I have found it helpful in restoring a greater sense of inner strength while also releasing the burdens we HSPs can easily take on.   After completing this meditation ritual I usually feel a bit more empowered at having done something for the planet’s suffering.  I am also reminded to continue with a gratitude journal, and as I develop and practice my faith while attempting to radiate my hope and love for a better world.

Instructions for a Meditation of Hope and Love
by Jacquelyn Strickland
A candle’s glow representing each worry or concern

You will need your journal or a pad of paper, some music that is ready to play and helps you feel blessed or soothed, and a good supply of votive candles.

Find a meditation time – at least thirty minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time and space, preferably in a place special to you, and one where it is safe to light your votive candles after the meditation. . Sit or lie in a comfortable position.  Unless in nature, I prefer lying with a cozy blanket over me.

  1. Begin breathing in deeply through your nose. Focus on blowing all your breath out – as if blowing out a candle. Breathe in deeply again, this time to a count of 8 or 10, and hold this breath for a count of four. Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, allowing your out-breath to be longer than your inhale.  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 the Difficult but Important Part:

  1. Allow yourself to focus on or conjure up images of all the concerns that can or have burdened you as an HSP: a certain national or global event?  A difficult relationship? A hurtful encounter with someone you care about?  An unresolved conflict?  An unfulfilled dream?
    Lovingly acknowledge these issues as you politely encourage them to take a place in line.   Assure them they will each have a chance to be seen and heard. In your relaxed state, visualize each worry or concern coming to the front of the line as you gently assign them a name, such as:  “war in Ukraine,” “immigrants,” “difficult relationship,” “lost job,” etc.

  2. With each concern, discern the feelings associated with it. Are the emotions fear, anger, hurt, confusion, frustration, envy, sadness, or powerlessness? Whatever the feeling, allow it to simply be there waiting to be witnessed. There is no need to attempt to change the feeling, it is perfectly fine however it shows up.

  3. After you have allowed each concern, issue, or worry to come forward reassure each one, by name, that it has been seen and heard and that you will not forget it.

  4. Take a moment to thank yourself, your inner wisdom, and your sensitivity for allowing this time and for what you have shared and learned.

  5. Slowly bring yourself out of this relaxed state. You can move your body, stretch, or drink some water to assist you in becoming fully alert.

  6. Put on the music you have chosen for this part of the meditation and gather your votive candles around you.

  7. For each concern you have witnessed, named, and honored, light a candle to commemorate your connection to it – the pain, struggle, and your hope and love. Give your attention to each concern for at least ninety seconds as you watch its particular candle glow. During these ninety seconds, imagine your concern being released and embraced by a higher source of power. For some, this ‘waiting embrace’ is God, for others, it is a universal source of abundance. Just imagine releasing the concern to something greater than you, or to whatever might be real for you. Close your eyes and visualize the concern being embraced and received with love. Let it go there toward Love.  Let it go with Love.  Let it go.

Repeat this as often as needed, even daily. If you watch the news, keep your candles nearby for your ninety-second remembrance of each trouble in the world.

This Meditation of Hope and Love was first published in The Comfort Zone, Elaine Aron’s newsletter, back in 2002. 🙂

HSP Interludes of Happiness
An integrated HSP Interlude of Happiness moment in time

Please remember ~~  It is also equally important to create a practice that I call  “HSP Interludes of Happiness.”  This daily practice helps to negate our tendency toward a negativity bias by taking time to stop, notice and integrate even the smallest moments of joy or happiness that our HSP attention to subtleties can notice – things such as a  butterfly or hummingbird flying by, a birdsong in the morning, the way the light streams into a special room?  What tiny things might you be grateful for?

With care and love,

Jacquelyn

Picture of Jacquelyn Strickland

Jacquelyn Strickland

Jacquelyn became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 1993, and began working exclusively with highly sensitive people in 2001, shortly after the first HSP Gathering Retreat in May of 2001. Her private psychotherapy practice has now transitioned to mentoring and coaching, which is not therapy, yet definitely therapeutic for most clients. She also offers consultations and accepts speaking engagements about the trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity. She is a member of ICHS – International Consultants High Sensitivity, a professional, national, and international group of HSPs who were trained by Elaine Aron in March of 2018. She makes a cameo appearance in the 2015 documentary film: Sensitive: The Untold Story, available at sensitivethemovie.com.

Although not always able to accept new clients, please do inquire here about how and if we might best work together.

Depth of Processing

Depth of processing is the most basic aspect of our SPS trait, and results in the deep, rich inner life most HSPs experience. Research has shown more brain activation in the prefrontal cortex and in a part of the brain called the insula which has sometimes been referred to as the ‘seat of consciousness.’ This creates the tendency to reflect more than others about the “way the world is going or “the meaning of life.” By integrating information and experiences, from both past and present, the HSP’s unique depth of processing can enable a sense and understanding of longer term consequences and may be able to influence future decisions with more creative and expansive thought.