The Feel Rest technique: In this technique we practice identifying rest in the body. We sensitize to the idea of relatively active vs. relatively inactive in order to understand the spectrum of relaxation. We also work with the exhale to cultivate rest.

From Issue #6

Guided meditation for students of the mindfulness training at the Nelson Buddhist Centre in early 2022.

Chris Dumler:

So we're going to work with a technique now called "feel rest". So feel we are in the physical and emotional body space and rest. We're going to attempt to locate, identify, maybe even create or cultivate something that we'll call rest, relaxation. A lot of us are familiar with, generally, what that means or feels like, but we can expand it a little bit by using the word "activity". So anything that seems active would not be restful and anything that is relatively low activity might be considered more restful. So we can think of it as a spectrum. A lot of people come to meditation specifically to find relaxation or calm or tranquility or some type of inner peace. And that's because it can be very rewarding. So let's practice identifying rest, and we're gonna start by identifying contrast. So go ahead and stretch a little bit, you can stretch the physical body. You can also try stretching from the inside, whatever that might mean. Eyes can be open or closed, and let's sensitize to this technique, starting with the shoulders. So bring your attention to your shoulders. And tighten them up, just tighten them up and feel the activity, what we might call activity, and then slowly release, feel something change as it comes to what might be a more relaxed or restful position. There's there's a difference. So go ahead and try it again. Tense it, notice the tension, place your attention into that. What, how might you describe it? And then slowly release, keep your focus in that area. And think about the description you might use as that changes to a complete more at rest position. Try that a couple more times on your own. Notice when you tighten up, do you hold your breath when you release? Is there an exhale by identifying the contrast here? This helps us practice noticing when we are more tense and that allows us to take some action and intentionally focus on the relaxation that we might discover. Good. Now, let go of that. And see if there's a little bit of relaxation here for a moment. Those are ways we can identify it. Let's try intentionally creating or cultivating rest, and we're gonna use the exhale for this. So inhale, and then on your exhale. Notice the sensation that accompanies that as the whole chest and diaphragm, the lungs, everything changes continue with that. Just keep your attention on the exhale. To help us with the concentration here. We can use noting and labeling. And so when you focus on the exhale acknowledge any restful sensation you might experience, you might identify some qualities. around that experience. Where does the restfulness occur? Does it have intensity? Is it wide or narrow? Oh, by identifying qualities like this. Okay. We are appreciating the rest a little bit more. And then if you wanna use a label, the label for this is rest. So as an example, I inhale, I noticed the feelings of the breath coming into play. And then on the exhale, I noticed the body relaxed, relaxes my shoulders, relax my chest. Relax. Relaxes. So relax. Can't even speak and then I apply a label rest when I detect that. So it's just a neutral label. Rest, rest, rest, something like that. Try that on each of your exhales. And if you want to open up. The range a little bit. You can freely float your attention around the body, on the exhale. So you don't need to feel confined just to the chest area. You might see if other areas in the body find some relaxation on the exhale. As a reminder, if thoughts or other sensory experiences come into play it's okay. We're not getting rid of thoughts. Other experiences don't need to go away. We're just directing our attention to the physical body. Let the other things be in the background, they get to exist. They just don't get the full attention right now. Good. So rest can be rewarding. As we mentioned, can be something useful to cultivate. It's not solely in the physical body you might detect rest in sea space. If you close your eyes and just notice the calmness behind. The closed lids, or maybe you go into a quiet room and notice the change in activity from active to more restful in the heater space. So you can appreciate rest and relaxation in any of the spaces. See here or. And if you found a little bit of rest and relaxation in this practice, try and carry that into the next phase of your day. If you need, if anything was confusing. Uncomfortable uncertain, try and greet that with some acceptance and I'll see you in the next one.

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