I first heard this meditation in 2012 when I visited one of the Personal Power and Prosperity workshops in Orlando. They are seriously cool, by the way! I loved this very visual meditation, and I was especially moved by its "punch line". Since then, it came to my mind once in a while. But it was not until the fall 2020, when I decided to find it and use for communication courses I was teaching at Columbia College Chicago.
I was really surprised that I could not find any information about the author of this very distinct meditation. Instead, I located two different versions on YouTube. Here is one of them and the other one. None of the two mention anything about the original source in video descriptions. So the mystery remained... Moreover, they were not suitable for my purposes. So I ended up creating my own version, which I am happy to share with you here. My students enjoy it, so perhaps you will, too!
In case you are not into meditating but you are curious to know what it is about, the text of this meditation is below. Please read it only if you really don't want to try the meditation in the video above! Otherwise, you will get some spoilers...
Imagine in front of you there is a large clear plastic bag. As you look at the bag, notice that you can see very clearly what is inside. One thing you notice right away is the color. Inside the bag, a beautiful purple swirling color is slowly moving around, shimmering and sparkling. Just for a moment, watch the purple light swirling slowly and peacefully.
There are some things that you can place into the bag. Some things about yourself, your thoughts, your ideas, your difficulties, your hopes. Begin by putting into the bag your name and everything it means about you. What it says about you, how it feels to have this name. Look at it swirling in the purple light.
Place into the bag your clothes. Start with what you are wearing right now. Then put your favorite outfit. Then put your entire wardrobe. Place into the bag your hairstyle. Notice what all those things say about you, what kind of statement they make, what they mean about you. Watch them all slowly swirling in the bag.
Next, think about things that belong to you, your possessions. Put them all into the bag. Your books, your computer, your phone, your furniture, your pets, your house and your car – if you have them. There are many other things that you own. Think of those that are most important to you and put them into the bag as well. Look all of those things swirling slowly in the purple mist. Notice what they say about you, what you are trying to tell people about yourself by having them.
Next, put your job into the bag. Put the job you have now and all the jobs you had in the past. Put your dream job into the bag as well. Put in there all the ideas about what you do, what you can do, what you should do. Put into the bag your mind and with it that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you what to do, and what not to do with your life. Notice all of those things swirling in the purple mist.
Now, place into the bag all of your beliefs and values. Everything you think about yourself and other people, about life and death, about love and sex, about religion and politics. About your own body: your weight, age, gender, sexuality, skin color, physical abilities. Put all your diseases into the bag as well, all your hopes and fears about your body. Put your personality into the bag. It’s a lot of things but the bag will be able to contain them all, allowing them to shimmer peacefully in the purple light.
Now, place people you know into the bag: your parents, siblings, all your relatives. Put into the bag anyone you have ever loved, and anyone you have ever hurt, anyone who has ever loved you and anyone who has ever hurt you. Put all your relationships into the bag. Put the judgements you have about other people into the bag. Place there anything you have ever complained about, all you opinions about things you feel are good and bad, right and wrong. Put into the bag your need to be right, put there your accomplishments and your failures, things you are guilty of, arguments you had, all your habits and addictions. Put into the bag all the agreements you didn't keep, all the relationships you left, all the relationships that left you. Put into the bag what you think of your enemies and what your enemies think of you. Put all your current problems and struggles into the bag. Put it all into the bag and just watch it all covered with the purple swirling shimmer.
These are things that define you. Look at them swirling in the bag.
Put anything you might have forgotten about yourself into the bag. Anything that is important for you and for who you are. Now look at it again, see as many details about yourself and your life as you can.
You are not all the things in the bag. You are the one looking at the bag. You created everything in that bag to help you experience yourself, understand yourself, and tell others about yourself. You have the power to keep or discard anything in this bag. It is your choice.
All the things in that bag are not you. You are the one who is looking at the bag. Who you are, who you can be is always up to you.