When you’ve thought of how large the universe is, think about all the beings in the universe – and wish them goodwill.
This helps in several ways. When you think about all the beings in the universe, then when you’re sitting here meditating and the meditation is not going well, you can remind yourself, “At least I’m meditating. There are a lot of people out there, a lot of beings out there, who have no chance to meditate at all. I’ve got some merit. I’m here meditating with my eyes closed.”
The mind may not be ready to settle down yet, but the fact that it’s not settling down is not to be taken as a sign that you can’t do it. All too often, you come to the meditation with your story of the day – the narrative of what’s happened today, what’s happened in the previous days. Things may be going pretty poorly, you sit down to meditate, and things are not going well in the meditation, either. It just seems to be one more piece of evidence that you can’t get your act together.
So it’s good to enlarge your mind to encompass all the other people who haven’t had the chance to meditate and, even among those who have meditated and done very well, how they too had their periods of real difficulty. Some were ready to commit suicide. So you’re not the only one who has got difficulties. The ones who were about to commit suicide ended up coming to their senses and eventually gaining awakening. If they did it, you can too.
In this way, you see the larger pattern and that helps put the affairs of your life into perspective.
This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the talk, Cosmic Scale, Human Scale, September 4, 2012.