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Healing Existential Angst

Oh, come on, I’m kidding. But we can at least do this.

(Bla bla bla, insert erudite, academically thorough, scientifically verified research about the power of the mind to create new neural pathways that benefit those who suffer with isolation, depression, eating disorders, etc. Use big words combined with little words so nobody feels left out. Make it a super irresistible intro. Then proceed with this:)

Set a timer for forty-five minutes. During that time, just be you. Do whatever you do for forty-five minutes. When the timer goes off, stop.

Look around you. Feel yourself as part of the family of things.

Take your chair, for instance. Someone had to make it. Even if it was a machine, someone had to operate that machine all day and then go home tired. They have favorite foods, things that make them laugh, maybe a family, maybe not, maybe a shy heart hungry for love.

Be mindful of the people that helped make this chair, and of the countless conditions that played a part in making it. The elements, time, cooperation between millions of beings (farmers, lumberjacks, designers, grocery store clerks, engineers, carpenters, factory workers, accountants, truckers, etc.)— feel all these conditions as your family.

From your heart, now, imagine sending joy, peace, rest, to the entire world that had a hand in making this chair. Do it for real. And if you can’t, then just act as if you could — there’s power in that, too. Believe me.

Once you’ve radiated good will to your world — this close, infinite family — rest in your connection to them all. Notice how giving joy as a gift (even in this invisible, imaginary way) dissolves some of the existential loneliness that we all carry. Feel the energetic threads to that bigger family strengthening, vibrating with life.

Now hit reset. Do another forty-five minutes of you being you. When the timer goes off, let your eyes rest on another object. Tune in again to that deeper sense of family. Send them peace and wellbeing. Enjoy your universe of allies.

Reset. Forty-five minutes of you. Ding! Notice something else. Think of all who made it possible. Send joy. Be with your family.

Reset. Forty-five. Ding! Notice. Imagine. Connect. Radiate. Rest.

You can practice this with anything — the clothes you’re wearing, the laptop you’re on, the breeze, the water heater, someone’s broken bicycle across the street, your office door handle.

Point is, we are not alone. As you read this right now, you and I are connected. You’re my family, and I am sending you every possible blessing you can take in. Moments of rest when you can’t. Silence when it’s too loud. Laughter and party music and children’s voices when it’s too quiet. Every joy, the little ones and the big ones.

If you don’t feel it, that’s really okay.

Just know that the person who wrote this has wished you well today, has hoped for your happiness, and has sent you a great tenderness, a sanctuary for your heart.


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