try this to soothe your mind
Jul 24, 2019
Are any of these ‘maybes’ familiar to you?
Maybe you struggle with impulsiveness. Maybe relationships are a challenge. Maybe you have a habit or three you'd like to extract yourself from. Maybe you live in a state of expectation, rather than living in the moment that’s here for you now. Maybe you feel like you’re always busy, as if 'busy' is the only mode of existence. Maybe your childhood shaped your sense of self in such a way that you feel you don’t truly know who you are.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I've got a bucketful of 'maybes'.
Maybe you have too?
But maybe ‘maybe’ is all in the mind? Maybe you already know that, but still you succumb to the propaganda of thoughts being played out in your mind.
If you recognise any of this then here's a starting point for liberation.
You might want to start telling yourself that all of this is normal. Just put out the welcome mat to it: that it's your evolutionary design. That Evolution says, it suits my purpose for you to have a messy mind.
By putting out the welcome mat to the contents of conscious awareness you start to upset the design.
If you want optimal thinking, or if you want to be in a state of optimal responsiveness to whatever it is your messy mind is bringing to the table, then you've got to stand firm in that which you are. In other words, pay attention to what's here, accept the reality of what's here, attune your mind and body to what’s here. And it starts - it always starts - with knowing you can pull down the oxygen mask of awareness. Knowing the source of equilibrium is here. Knowing it's available. And that its availability comes from an embodied sense of that which you are. It’s truly where you start. Standing firm in that which you are starts by soothing your messy mind. It’s something I screw up on. I dive into the fixing mode, by diverting myself with distractions: trifling little comforts the mind yelps out for. It does me in every time. This is because I have been profoundly unaware of the fact that all wisdom starts not in the mind but in the body - which of course is where the mind happens to reside.
Start by taking a comfortable sitting position.
It can be where you are sitting now
It’s best though to sit on a straight back chair.
Just feel the weight of your body sitting.
Feel the feet on the floor.
Feel your sitting bones on the chair.
Allow yourself to sit upright, but not too stiffly.
See if you can allow your spine to be self-supporting, perhaps by imagining each vertebrae of the spine as being like a coin, so that your upright spine can be visualised as a stack, or pile of coins. This may help you to maintain your sense of uprightness. It will also help you maintain and sustain a sense of determined purpose. A resiliency. A nobility. A posture of purpose.
And now see if you can get a sense of space between the shoulders.
Feel the length of the neck. Feel the neck supporting the head. Feel the weight of the head supported by the neck.
Get a sense of the crown of the head facing the ceiling, the sky.
And, if it feels comfortable for you, gently close your eyes. Or, if you wish to keep the eyes open, see if you can softly focus your attention on a point some four to five feet in front of you.
Just be curious about this moment. This moment now. Where is your attention? What’s here for you now, in the mind?
What’s the weather pattern of the mind? What’s the mind-buzz? Are your thoughts caught up somewhere? Maybe in the past, or the future? See if you can just notice where your thoughts are. Perhaps like a scientist would notice objective phenomena. See if you can do that. Just observe, rather than associating yourself with the thought. It's not easy to do, but just try it. Even if it's for the briefest of moments. Try not to judge the thought. Rather, pay attention to it objectively, and accept the reality of what is it presenting to you. See if you can detach yourself from associating yourself with the thought. See instead if you can discern the thought as a thought. See if you can experience the thought as an object that is arising in conscious awareness.
Now bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t force your breathing in anyway. After all, you are already breathing. The process of breathing is taking care of itself very efficiently without your forced intervention. Your task is simply to notice the process. So just allow yourself to feel the physical process of breathing. Let’s see if we can feel it at the abdomen wall, the belly. Perhaps you’d like to softly place the open palm of your hand at the abdomen wall, just below the navel area, and just feel the gentle rise of the abdomen wall as you inhale, and the soft collapsing of the abdomen wall as you exhale.
Feel its rising on the in-breath, and its falling away at the out-breath.
Now, I’m just going to invite you to kind of play with this idea, and use your imagination. Just imagine that on the next in-breath you can follow the sensations of the in-breath as it makes its way down to the abdomen wall and then see if you can feel it going deeper, past the abdomen wall and making its gentle way down into the tops of the legs, then down to the lower legs, and moving all the way down into your feet, and right down into your toes. As if, on the in-breath, you are filling up the whole of the lower half of your body with the gentle, soothing sensations of the breath, and then on the out-breath, feeling the breath making its slow, gentle, soothing way back up through the body and out through the mouth or nose, until you reach the end of that out-breath.
Then feel the pause before the in-breath starts again.
So filling up the body on an in-breath, and releasing from the body on an out- breath.
Just inviting you now to experience the breath in this way for the next few inhalations and exhalations.
And now, as you attune your awareness to the sensations of breathing in this way, perhaps saying to yourself on an in-breath mind slowing down, body slowing down. And also on the outbreath, repeating, mind slowing down, body slowing down.
Just repeating, mind slowing down, body slowing down. Almost as if the breath is coming home to the body, soothing the mind and the body. Helping you to get a sense of 'that which you are'.
And now, when you are ready, just gently opening your eyes – if you have them closed – and coming out of the meditation practice.
And now....just take a few moments to check in with how you feel in body and mind, now.
Do you feel more soothed? I don't mean relaxed, or chilled out. I mean, is there a soothing clarity of mind presenting itself to you?
If so, isn't it interesting to know that there is this available resource and capacity within you? That you can come home to it when needed? Isn't interesting to know that you can upset the design that might be steering you towards a reactive mode?
This is quite a skill. But it needs practice.
I certainly need to practice it more consistently. It's not just a one-off strategy. It needs to be embodied. It needs to start shaping you.
But it is nice to know that you can soothingly upset your design.