I shouldn’t do visualization exercises during yoga. Just shouldn’t.
Today we did a five-armed blessing thing, more like a guided meditation. Silently, we’d visualize someone, and then silently give them our blessing. “_____, I wish for you to be happy, healthy, and wise.” Innocuous, and is supposed to help us extend compassion to others. The list of five “people” is as follows:
- Someone I love
- Someone I barely know (an acquaintance)
- Someone who is a “challenge” to me (difficult, enemy)
- Everyone I’ve ever come into contact with (the world)
First part was easy. Ridiculously easy. Of course I’m going to be self-serving enough to wish myself health, happiness, and wisdom. Easy.
Second: someone I love. I thought hard about this. Who did I come up with? My mother. My own mother. That’s it? That’s all I got? My mom? What am I, a 4-year-old? I’m 40. I should have lots of people I love. But I don’t. I have no one. I love nobody. I’m not even partially fascinated with anybody. That’s it. That’s all I could come up with. And I half did it because, c’mon, how are you able to not love your mother? It’s like hating puppies and rainbows. Who doesn’t love their mother? I’m embarrassed, and ashamed. This activity has failed beyond imagination. I have nobody.
Third: someone I barely know, an acquaintance. Which one? Everybody I know is only an acquaintance. There are no friends among them. They’re just people I know. You’re just people I know. That’s all.
Fourth: someone who challenges me. Again, that’s everybody. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a positive hand on my shoulder, so this puts everybody in the challenge category. You’re right, I’m wrong, and that’s the end of it.
Fifth: everybody I’ve encountered in my life. Same. Same as third. Same as fourth. It’s me, and then where I come from, and then the rest of you. That’s all I got.
In an exercise that was supposed to make me feel good about myself and my place in the world, I met my true self. The pain of being so alone is the sharpest, the weight the heaviest. I am that guy who has nobody to put down on the dotted line as a contact in case of emergency. I am that man who can walk into the cafe full of people he knows, sit alone, and leave when I’m done without breathing a greeting. This is my pitiful, shameful, true self, the inevitable fruit of wanting to be left alone.