I've been doing the odd 3-minute Breathing Space meditation (I'd forgotten about them, isn't that terrible!) which I learned about from this book a couple of months ago. Thought it might be worth revisiting what they are all about.
They call it an 'emergency meditation' which helps you see clearly what is arising from moment to moment when under pressure. It's meant to be something you do when you don't have time for the longer more formal meditations (which I am doing sporadically) and the demands of everyday life are continuing on (of course, because life's like that).
There are three steps....(and you can listen to the free audio of Mark Williams guiding you though this here - track 8).
1) First Become Aware. Straighten your back if standing or sitting (to adopt a 'dignified' post) and close your eyes. I do this sometimes just standing at the kitchen bench or sitting on my bed. Bring your awareness to your inner experience and acknowledge it, asking: what is my experience right now?
* What thoughts are going through my mind? Try acknowledge these thoughts as mental events.
* What feelings are here? Turn toward any sense of discomfort of unpleasant feelings, acknowledge them without trying to make them different from how you find them.
* What body sensations are here right now? A quick scan to pick up any sensations of tightness or bracing, again acknowledge them without trying to change them.
Do that for one minute.
2) Then Gather and Focus Attention. Redirect your attention to a narrow 'spotlight' on the physical sensations of the breath. Move your thinking in close to the physical sensations of the breath in the abdomen, in and out, in and out, in and out. Use each breath as an opportunity to anchor yourself in the present. If the mind wanders gently escort it back to the breath.
Do that for one minute.
3) Finally Expand Attention. Expand your attention from just awareness of the breath to a sense of the body as a whole, your posture and facial expression, as if the whole body was breathing. If any particular sensation, discomfort or tension comes up focus in on that and then back to the body as a whole. Stay aware of the whole body, moment by moment.
Done! Open eyes and resume normal business.
These are lovely. They are grounding and calming and great. Sometimes I race through the steps faster than a minute each but even then I think it works well.
At the end of a Breathing Space you can choose to carry on immediately and mindlessly with what you were doing before, or you can pause to consider how you'd like to proceed. Maybe acting more skilfully? Choosing to relate differently to your thoughts? Or doing something that differently (kind or treaty) that will make you feel better.
If I could always achieve moving on mindfully after a Breathing Space with a good awareness of my thoughts and a sense of kindness towards myself I'll be winning! For me, as with everything, this is always a work in progress.
Love, Mrs D xxx