I spent the day at a Buddhist meditation/12-step recovery workshop hybrid. The facilitator provided several dharma talks during our time together, led us in multiple guided meditations, and had us engage in a few mindful speaking/mindful listening exercises.
One of the speaking-and-listening exercises was focused on the Third Noble Truth of Buddhism (i.e., the promise/hope that there is a way to be free from suffering) and the second of the Twelve Steps (i.e., the promise that life can improve [if we are willing to surrender some of our need to control]). The activity was structured like this:
Speaker: “I’ll be okay because… [insert a statement explaining/supporting/reinforcing why you will successfully make it through this crazy deal we call life.]”
Listener: “Yes, you’ll be okay. [Pause.] What else?”
The speaker then offers another explanatory/supportive/reinforcing statement affirming why s/he really will be okay in life, to which the listener repeats their line – and so on, and so on, until the time allotted for the activity ends.
As I assumed the role of “speaker” and engaged in this exchange with my partner, I felt myself growing more and more buoyant with each verbal volley. At the end of the exercise, I felt absolutely amazing. In three quick minutes, I got to see first-hand what a changed person I am today versus who I was just a few years ago. Of course every human changes a tiny amount with each passing day, but the developments (or regressions) can be difficult to see in 24-hour increments. Speaking my truth out loud, and sharing it with another human being who can fully empathize with my past, helped me not only ‘see’, but really experience, the positive benefits I have helped to cultivate for myself through daily, diligent, hard, honest work. The interaction was beautiful. And powerful. And wonderful.
Today was a day well-spent.