Cultivating Hope: Monday Meditation Prompt (MMP)
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. – Albert Camus
At first take, Camus doesn’t seem like a perky guy. He actually sought hope regularly and struggled against the often difficult philosophy of nihilism.
This is my (hi, Melissa here) favorite Camus quote and something that brings me inspiration when things seem bleak. That’s why I picked it as today’s Monday Meditation Prompt.
We encourage you to workshop this quote in your journal or meditation space and see what comes up for you. I’m going to personally share what comes up for me because it might spark something for you or help you learn how to workshop a concept or quotation.
Cultivating Hope: The Reality Inside The Self
Camus sets up a duality here: the world outside himself and the world within. Outside, things go wrong, feel hopeless, become confusing, drain him. Inside, however, he discovers that he can retreat to a world of his own making. Inside, it’s his rules and his lens.
This introduces the concept that our perception of reality is colored by our interpretation of the things around us. It isn’t ‘real’ per se. This can be really helpful when everything seems terrible because it may help you take it a little less seriously.
Camus’ inside world isn’t really affected by the outside world. He maintains and is actually a bit shocked to realize that he maintains, the softer and more optimistic aspects of himself. He does this regardless of the stimulus from outside. This reminds us that we have immense power and a space inside ourselves where we can create an oasis.
We don’t have to let the world drag us down.
Cultivating Hope: Others Hold Summers Too
No matter how bad it seems around you, other people hold summers inside them as well. They aren’t as negative, mean, sad, and horrible as you might think. People may be unaware or hopeless themselves, but they may or certainly could cultivate their own internal summer.
This is a little bit like seeing the inner child of others when they’re being really, consistently horrible to you. Call it a coping mechanism if you like, but it helps humanize people and keeps us from blowing up at them. It also opens the door for perspective, knowledge, and growth.
Cultivating Hope: Our Personal Narnia
In the book, the kids used a wardrobe to venture into mystical lands. You can escape into yourself whenever you can carve out a little alone time. Do this by meditating or just being with yourself, experiencing the positive emotions that flow from within your eternal inner space.
A little magic is always nice, right?
Just remember to come back out again because balance is also important.
Cultivating Hope: Hopelessness Is A Decision Or A Condition
I abhor ableist language and want to be really specific here. Hopelessness is a decision or a condition. If you have depression, you may suffer from clinical hopelessness and need a little help to overcome that. This is normal, not a source of shame, and something to embrace as part of the human experience.
If you aren’t chronically or clinically depressed, however, hopelessness is a decision. this is meant to empower not shame you.
Bad things will happen. These things might be objectively or subjectively bad, but they’ll chip away at your happiness and your ideal way of life. People will disappoint you. You’ll experience loss. Things sometimes suck.
But hopelessness is the decision that:
- It will never get better.
- This is all objectively bad.
- I cannot change this.
- I cannot escape this.
- There is no joy available to me.
- I have no relief.
- I experience no positive emotions or situations.
How true is that, really? You have to align yourself with a list of beliefs like that to experience hopelessness.
Could that just be a signal to check your internal language and find your internal summer? If you aren’t able to do that, is that perhaps a signal that you need a little outside help, which is NOTHING to feel bad about.
Cultivating Hope: True, Or Debatable
I’m not saying anything above is *true* because I’m not the arbiter of absolute truth. What I’m saying is it’s worth pondering, right? There feels like there’s some good stuff in there that you might be able to use to live a happier life.
I hope so.
I keep this quotation on my wall where I can see it. In fact, I see it every morning. It inspires me every day to feel better and cherish and love myself. I cherish myself when I read this because I’m so grateful that I hold my own retreat.
That’s beautiful and the opposite of hopeless.