A Meditation on Optimism

By Matthieu Ricard on December 08, 2013

Sit comfortably and breathe calmly and naturally. For a few moments, focus your attention on the going and coming of the breath. Be aware of the sensation created by the passage of air into the nostrils. Be aware of the short moment when the breath is briefly suspended between the expiration and the next inhalation. Whether your breath slows down or accelerates, just take note of it. Thus, your mind will become a little more calm, clear, and stable.

Recognize that there are many ways to experience the world. Seeing the good side of things is essentially to acknowledge that all beings, including yourself, have a potential for inner transformation and for action.

Understand that external circumstances are constantly changing and nothing is set in stone. Be confident in the fact that it is possible to achieve your aspirations and, with patience, determination and intelligence, in most cases you can eventually accomplish them.

Tell yourself that you can always do better, instead of feeling resigned, depressed or devastated. Limit the damage instead of letting yourself drift. Find an alternative instead of stagnating in failure. Rebuild what has been destroyed instead of claiming ‟it's all over!”.

Understand the need to make efforts in the direction that seems best and use every moment to progress, while cultivating inner freedom, instead of wasting your time ruminating over the past and dreading the future.

At the end of this short meditation, rest for a few moments in a state of quiet simplicity, without any particular mental constructions, enjoying this peaceful place deep within yourself. Dedicate this practice to the happiness of all beings including yourself.