Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. – Jack Kornfield
Mindfulness practice offers a fresh perspective on how to experience the internal world of awareness which includes thoughts, emotions and judgments. These three elements are frequently present within mind and in this exercise the challenge is to name each aspect as you become aware of it.
By becoming centred in a neutral awareness of the internal workings of mind, perspective can be gained, fears calmed, and the body can relax.
In time the mind itself will become more resourceful and less prone to exacerbating problems through anxious thinking, sometimes referred to as ‘catastrophising’.
Begin by finding a comfortable posture and by bringing your attention to the breath. Take a few moments to let yourself arrive and allow the breath to draw you gently into internal awareness. Allow the gaze to soften, the eyes to close.
Bring your awareness to the mind. There are three things to look out for in turn:
Begin by naming your thoughts. For example, each time you encounter a thought, silently say:
Here is a thought about my day.
Here is a thought about what I will do later.
Here is a thought about this practice.
Continue for two or three minutes, naming thoughts as they arise, but otherwise adding no energy to each one.
Next, turn your attention to emotions. What do you notice?
Explore by naming emotions as they arise in your awareness:
This is sadness.
This is joy.
This is worry.
Spend two or three minutes noticing your emotions. Resist the urge to analyse why each emotion is present and instead hold it within compassionate awareness.
Finally turn your attention to judgments. Ask yourself:
Where am I judging?
Then, name each judgment as you notice it:
I am judging my performance.
I am judging myself.
I am judging this practice.
I am judging life.
Spend two or three minutes here, noticing if the judgments are punctuated with moments of pause and reflection.
Return to wakefulness in your own way.
Record any persistent thoughts, emotions, and judgments in your Mindfulness Journal. If you found parts of the exercise challenging, note this also. Your difficulties are just as useful to learn from as your successes.
If practising with others, take turns sharing your discoveries.
This practice is an extract from 100 Mindfulness Meditations: The Ultimate Collection of Inspiring Daily Practices by Neil Seligman published by Conscious House and available on Amazon priced £12.99.
10 Mindfulness Meditations is an album of audio meditations to accompany the book and is now available on iTunes priced £7.99.
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