A meditation on life

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey

Many years ago I participated in a self development program that involved frequent meditation. One of the sessions included an exercise referred to as the “Eulogy Visualisation” or something to that effect.  I have since learned that there are many variations of the exercise. What I liked about the one we did was that it was facilitated with depth and respect.  We as a group were also held in a space that was supportive, loving, sharing, and accepting. In other words it was absolutely safe and appropriate for our group’s purpose.

So in this context being invited to step into such a challenging topic was met with curiosity and genuine willingness.  Lights low, seated comfortably on a cushion with my back against the wall I listened to our teacher guide us. She had a gift for speaking the right pace and tone whilst also sensing the group energy and where we could go. We were all ready for this one. We had already experienced many meetings of vulnerable sharing, deep releasing and sharing.

We breathed and relaxed into the exercise. I remember being guided to feel the support and safety of the space and all that held us. I was not afraid.  As we moved into the visualisation we imagined the end of our life, not how it might happen, but that it had just occurred. The circumstances were not what mattered. What we focused on was the ceremony at our funeral. 

I remember seeing this experience from a bird’s eye view. I looked down. The location was immediately identifiable - a beachside inlet surrounded by rocky cliffs. It is a place in the world I love and is my go to place in meditation sometimes. I was not surprised this was where we all were.

In my visualisation we were on the beach celebrating, celebrating life. Yes this was all that mattered. Not the things I did nor the accomplishments. It was just a pure and simple celebration of living a life.  As I looked around at each person I only recognised a few people. These close people to me were the ones that mattered. The rest of the people were simply ones that I had touched and affected indirectly in some way along the journey. They were there to acknowledge the contribution.

My feelings were mixed. I felt a release of emotions as I witnessed the event. A mixture of tears of joy and loss came up. I released the emotion and let go of the loss as tears flowed down my cheeks.  Then the joy came. It expanded and exploded into every part of my being. It was not joy for being gone it was joy for life, joy for the experience, joy for the moment, snapshot of time that I had to be in it. I did not expect this.

I noticed another deeper experience.  I felt no attachment to this outcome. I felt no sadness at missed opportunities or lost chances. I felt no pride for achievements or accomplishments. There were no lists of what could have been or what had been. Instead I felt connected to the bigger and greater wholeness of all. I felt as if I did my part like I was in a play and the role had been scripted.

We were brought back out of our visualisation/meditation to our reality. It was not a shock. Instead it was an easing into a new awareness and an invitation into choice, existence and being. My real life still had more to play out. In this moment I could accept that I did not need to know where or what would happen next.

I did however feel a stronger connection to a desire to do what I came here to do, whatever that might be. You see this visualisation did not tell me my purpose or anything enlightening such as that. No, it showed me that what I attach to in life is a choice. The material can either have a hold over me or I can let the material be part of the experience.  On another level it felt more about how one individual’s life contribution actually mattered. The experience was about appreciation not recognition. 

This exercise is a powerful one considering the insight is relevant today.  I share this with you simply to offer up a few points of reflection for your own journey. Here are a few questions to ponder.

What about your life are you not valuing nor appreciating that you could perhaps see differently?

How are you with your attachment to material aspects of life? 

Do you do what you do to get recognition or simply because it is how you are as a person?

What feeling or sense do you have of your own journey and how you are contributing in life?

Jenn Shallvey