His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested this excellent exercise (paraphrased through my mind):
Picture yourself sitting in a line of other sitting humans that stretches out as far as you can see to your left and to your right. Now bring to your consciousness a sorrow or burden you feel.
Imagine yourself looking to your right. Imagine that all of the people in that direction have more resources and an easier time with their sorrows and burdens. Maybe they have fewer problems, more or better friends, they are more clever, and they have abundant access to whatever they need to ease their suffering. Imagine they suffer less that you.
Now imagine yourself looking to the left. All of the people in this direction have it worse than you. They are carrying burdens and disabilities that are more challenging than yours. They have fewer resources to draw upon to meet those challenges. Imagine they suffer more than you.
And now bring your consciousness back to yourself and check in again on your gifts and sorrows in this moment.
I have found that exercise to be quite useful. And now I realize that I prefer circles to lines. I love the small circles of family and tribe. I participate in many gatherings where we form circles for celebration and communication.
So now I’m picturing, curling that nearly infinite line of sitting humans to my left and to my right into a circle, and this meditation becomes quite powerful.
I am an equal part of the circle.
As I become aware of my tribe mates,
I am aware that each has gifts and sorrows greater than my own. And that I have gifts and sorrows greater than theirs.
In this moment, which is all there is.
Perhaps we can be useful to each other’s sorrows with our gifts.