After becoming compassionate and thankful to the universe for all that it has given to you (being the first and second contemplation exercises), come to the third step. This third step is unique and very helpful. It is like this:
Just remind yourself that you are an ordinary, simple person.
It may sounds strange. But it is not. I am using the word 'remind yourself'.
You may say :- Hey! I am not an ordinary and simple person. I am so talented, so intelligent that only yesterday Boss gave me an appreciation letter recommending my out of turn promotion. Only because of my idea and original planning, my company could execute that different project in time. How I can be an ordinary person. I have been a consistent topper in my academic years. Well, there may be many ordinary and simple person but I am certainly not one of them. I am so intelligent, so beautiful and handsome, so rich !How can I call myself simple and ordinary when I am not.
If you are experiencing the same feelings as above or similar to that then let me tell you a truth:
" THERE IS NO PLACE FOR EGO IN MEDITATION."
Meditation, rather, will melt your ego and make you a down to earth person.
Yes ! you are important There are many achievements, many great qualities, many awards and success stories which can be attributed to you.
But tell me - does they really matters ?
One of the most important quality in the world is to become truly simple and down to earth without pretending.
Our life on earth is limited. There was a time when you were not there. Then you came in this world. And you are here, living life to its fullest, facing and solving its problems. And a day will come when you will no longer remain on earth. Death will end your small journey of life. In between these two days of birth and death there is a life which you have to live. Just think ! How many people will remember you after your death. Rest aside your death, if you are working, how many people will remember you after your retirement. Very few ! and if they do, they'll do it only for a few days !
Life is just like that. Tell me for how many times you remember those colleagues who have long retired. I can bet, seldom or never we remember them. It is not that we do not like them or respect the good work they did in their time; the thing is that every day comes with new sets of problems. We all spend our day in solving these newer sets of problems that we have no time to remember those who have worked with us in the past. It may sound bitter but the same thing will happen in your case too. You may be a brilliant and outstanding person. You may have the uncanny ability of solving the problems in the blink of an eye. You may be the most successful and intelligent person in your entire country.
However, remember this :
At present you are facing and solving 'a particular set of problems' that have arisen in a 'particular period of time'.
In future in 'an another set of time', a 'very different set of problems' will arise and there will be people who'll solve them. Only when a difficult problem having a precedent in the past will pop up, then somebody will remember you and say " hey this is similar to the one that Johnny had solved 5/10/x years ago !"
Why I am telling you all this. I just want to familiarize you with the ephemeral character of life. In the ultimate analysis nothing is going to matter. The truth is that no matter how important, affluent and successful we are or how ordinary, failure or simple we are, we all will be forgotten by generations to come. But don't take it as a bad thing. After all we ourselves have forgotten all man of past. Except a few rare great personalities like Lincoln, Gandhi & Jefferson etc how many men or women of 17th or 18th century are in our memories ? They all have been buried in the past. And sooner or later, one day we'll also be forgotten by future generation. Yes there will be some exceptions. Some great men and woman among us. But tell me honestly, how many greats of past are remembered by us ? We remember them whenever there is a need to take some inspiration from past. We remember them on their birthday or on their martyr day. But all in all, our 'present day' life is full of its own quota of 'day to day' problems that most of us will spend our life in solving them.
Remember the immortal saying of Professor William James - " The keenest desire of human being is the desire of becoming important"
Everybody wants importance. So don't expect that you will be considered a VIP forever. There were VIP in the past. There are VIPs in present (you may be one of them) and there will be VIPs in future. And this'll go on and on.
Actually our existence is just like an ocean. You are a wave of the ocean. You may be the most powerful, most thunderous, most beautiful and most inspiring wave of this ocean. But in the ultimate analysis you are just a wave. And the destiny of a wave is to merge again into the ocean. One day your little wave will also merge in the ocean of existence. Contemplate on this and understand the reality. We all are simple and ordinary in front of this huge cosmic play that is going on.
The socialism is disappearing fast. After USSR, China has also started adopting the capitalist way. It might happen that one day there will be no country left professing socialism. But the greatest socialist phenomenon will remain in this world and will continue making everyone equal. Do you know what is it ? It is ... Death.
Death does not discriminate between poor or rich, healthy or ill, king or pauper. It makes everybody equal. All who have died are equal. Contemplate on this stark reality. Understand the ephemeral character of life.. and remind your self that you are a simple and ordinary person.
Let me summarize all that I have described - Before doing meditation, sit quietly in a comfortable position in a silent places. Then do these three contemplative acts:
(1) Be loving to all - Spread thoughts of good will to each and everybody in this universe. Remove all kind of animosity and hatred from your heart.
(2) Be thankful for all that you have gotten - Say thanks to God for all the good things he has given you. If you are an atheist, be thankful to the universe. Almost 95% things in our life are alright. Forget about the rest 5%.
(3) Remind yourself the ephemeral character of life - Life is small. We are just like a wave of ocean that will merge again into ocean.
Doing this three emotional contemplation will immensely help you in meditation. They will have a very cleansing effect on your internal being. You will be able to achieve meditative state very quickly. You will experience a deep mental peace. Though these 3 things are not meditation, they make the meditator highly receptive to all positive gain he/she will draw in meditation. I strongly recommend you to do these contemplative acts before meditation .