Exploring the things we see, hear, and feel. In this one we methodically explore the different sensory modalities, working with them one-by-one, and becoming familiar with concentration, clarity, and equanimity.
From Issue #1
Guided meditation for students of the mindfulness training at the Nelson Buddhist Centre in early 2022.
As we begin to learn to practice mindfulness, we're really learning to appreciate the things that are around us by being more aware of them. And we can practice that today by just giving ourselves an opportunity to explore what's happening in our external sensory experience. So. Assume a posture that is right for you. And you can start with your eyes closed. If you choose to practice in a seated posture, go ahead and lengthen your spine and you could relax your shoulders and your arms and going through a motion like this just gives our body the signal that we're about to start practicing. Bring your attention to what it is you are hearing and specifically what it is you're hearing with your ears in the outside world. So you may be hearing traffic or. Birds. You may hear the sound of your own breath, or you might not hear much of anything at all. If you hear some kind of sound. That's great. And if you do not hear sound, that's also great. Just notice. Whatever it is, you are hearing. If you're hearing more than one sound, you can just pick one to listen to, or you can listen to all the sounds at once. Or you might just let your attention be naturally pulled from sound to sound, play around with these different options. See what you gravitate to most. If you find your attention starts to wander to other experiences like thoughts or physical sensations that's okay. You don't have to stop thoughts. We just wanna let them come and go in the background and direct the focus of your attention back to what it is you are hearing by focusing your attention on external sounds. It can sometimes offer a nice break from other sensory experiences, like an active mind or pain of some sort. You're not blocking out these other experiences. You're not suppressing them. You're just letting them come and go while intentionally directing your awareness towards what it is you are hearing. And as you let these other experiences be in the background of your awareness, you get to appreciate the power of sound and the absence of sound. Now, let go of that and bring your attention to your body. Specifically, let's pay attention to the physical body as opposed to the emotional body. This might include sensations like your feet on the floor. Or the sensation associated with breathing your hands in your lap. Sometimes you can find it relaxing to take a couple of deep breaths and focus on the sensation of the exhale. Nice work. Now, let go of that. And if your eyes are closed slowly, open them and bring your attention to what it is you are seeing. You might choose to focus on a single object in front of you like a wall or a plant. Something out the window, or you can take in the whole visual field at once, or you might let your attention be naturally pulled from object to object. And if you move between objects, just let the pacing of that. Be nice and easy. Just pay attention to what it is you were seeing with your eyes. If your attention wanders to thoughts or sounds just let those distractions come and go in the background and gently return your attention back to what it is. You are seeing this practice of. Focusing on something and realizing we are not focused on the thing is sort of like a concentration exercise. You are working the muscle by returning to the things you intend to focus on when you notice that you're not focused on them. Focusing on things that you're seeing can offer a nice break from other sensations. So for example, if you were feeling pain of some sort, you might try letting the pain come and go in the background. As you direct your awareness towards what it is you are seeing. So as we come to the end of this meditation, just take a quick moment to check in and see how it is you feel. And in this case, we'll actually look at the inner side of feel for that kind of emotional flavor. Of feeling, how would you describe that? If you notice energy or a sense of tranquility, maybe something feels more balanced, allow that feeling to follow you into the rest of your day. And if you notice any type of impatience discomfort, uncertainty, self-judgment just try and greet that with a little bit of acceptance. The more we practice, the more these skills develop and the easier it becomes. By practicing with our awareness in this way. We start to appreciate the things around us with a little bit more intention, and some might consider that to be living a little bit more presently. So try that throughout the day, the week, whenever you get a moment and. See what develops for you? I hope to do this again with you sometime soon.