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Surprise Yourself with a Nested Meditation

Illustration Credit: Fiction by Rachel Bone

One of the more ingenious tools we’ve found for reframing a tough situation—or simply having fun with words—is a process that psychologist Kevin Anderson calls nested meditation. It began when Kevin’s father refused the five-times-daily dialysis that would prolong his life, and Kevin wept to his brother, “How can this suffering be?” His brother replied, “It’s a gift.” Kevin contemplated the answer and then wrote:How can this suffering be?How can this suffering bea gift?How can this suffering bea gift?Rip it open.How can this suffering bea gift?Rip it open,and the heart floods with compassion.Kevin realized he was on to something: “A way to move, in a few words, from surface observations or feelings into deeper layers of experience.” So he came up with a strict format that he detailed in a collection of meditations called Divinity in Disguise, which won an S&H Best Spiritual Book Award.Each stanza after the opening line begins with the words from the prior stanza in the exact order and with the same spellings and line breaks. Part of the magic feeling the nested form evokes is seeing the exact words …

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