Awareness of Breath
This meditation is a practice of resting the attention, consciously, on a chosen object – the breath. It is also a practice of noticing when the attention has moved, and gently bringing it back again to the chosen object. As many times as is required.
You may notice many things seek your attention – maybe thoughts, sensations or feeling, emotions or impulses, sounds. Your mind is likely to drift, maybe many times. Minds do this. Noticing this has happened is part of this practice, as is guiding it back. There is no right or wrong outcome or way to do this, so there is no need to strive to ‘get it right’. Your experience may differ each time you practice, so just experience how it is this time as you practice
This meditation is a practice of intentionally moving awareness around the body and resting it in a chosen place. It’s also a practice of keeping the attention in one place and intentionally exploring what, if anything, is there.
We are also become more aware of the body; we can often loose a sense of connection to our bodies if we spend a lot of time in our heads and thoughts.
As in other practices, your mind is likely to drift, maybe many times. Guiding it back is part of this practice.
This is usually carried out lying down, but can be done in a sitting or even a standing position if that works best for you.
This meditation uses as its basis the core breath mediation, and presents a way to disconnect from your thoughts, or even body sensations or emotions. This is achieved by labelling thoughts, so in some ways making them more objective than subjective; more about something arising than about our own personal connection to what arises.
As with other meditations we are not seeking to get rid of thoughts, but merely to change our relationship to them. We are seeking to achieve this in a gentle and compassionate way; labelling them so they become more of an object that we can let go.
Sound and Thought
In this meditation the awareness is widened into the surrounding environment. It is moved onto sensations coming from outside of the body, to sounds. It’s also a practice of noticing, without attachment, how sounds, or other events, can arise and come into the awareness and then fade out again.
In a similar way to sounds, thoughts or other sensations can arise, but do not need to be grasped on to, just noticed and let go, as they fade.
If you find your mind drifting during this meditation, you can bring it back to the breath before letting it widen to awareness of the sounds around you again if this helps.
This meditation expands the awareness into the body, and into movement of the body. It uses some simple physical movement to do this. These movements are simply movements they are not stretching or exercises. This is a practice of bringing mindfulness and meditation into active life, not to just sitting or lying down.
Whilst we use some simple movements here for this practice, life is full of movements and so you can carry this practice on in daily activity such as; walking somewhere, writing, lift a cup, or having a shower.
We will carry out the movement slowly in the practice in order to give you time to be fully aware of what arises if anything. You may choose to move at a different speed in your own practice.
The movement are kept to a minimum here to facilitate the practice, though you can also do this with wider movements or faster movements. You may even choose to combine this with any exercise you already do, becoming more aware as you carry out your exercises.
Awareness of the Breath and Body
In this practice we let the attention hold a wide field of awareness – the body and breath within, and to let the attention settle, for a while on whatever attracts it, whilst not becoming engaged in the content. If the attention moves beyond the body and its breath we gently bringing it back.
You may notice many things seeking your attention – maybe thoughts, sensations, feelings, emotions, impulses or sounds. If you find yourself getting too wrapped up in whatever is attracting your awareness, you can always guide the awareness back to the breath, to settle for a short while, before expanding to the whole body.
You may wish to use some of the labelling techniques to support this practice.
Settling and Grounding
This meditation is a practice of settling the body and mind, and grounding into the body here and now, and resting within the environment.
It is also a relaxing meditation, seeking, through breathing, to let go of tensions in the body, and mind.
It also introduces an open awareness stage once we have settled, allowing a full field of awareness, noticing anything that arises.
The practice goes through four stages; soothing, grounding, resting and the breath. The first stage of soothing breathing can also be used as a micro meditation or an introduction into other meditations. The whole practice can also be used as an introduction and settling into a longer practice, building from the final being with the breath stage.
This meditation is a way of approaching a difficult situation or incidence.
It is not about solving or analysing the difficulty, but is about accepting it as being as it is and exploring how it is. In this way it is about coming to an understanding of the difficulty as it is.
In the practice we are being open to whatever comes up, possibly things which we have hidden or chosen not to fully notice or accept before.
This can be regarded as a form of open awareness as we are generally not choosing to focus on any specific thing but allow things to arise.
If the practice becomes too difficult at any stage we can always return to the breath and complete the practice for now.
Open Awareness Meditation
This meditation is a practice of expanding and holding your awareness, across a larger field of attention. It is about expanding the range of your awareness, moving it out into your environment like the rising sun expands light across the land. It may even move beyond your environment.
This meditation, by allowing the awareness to go whatever arises, can utilise practices developed through a range of other meditations such as sounds, body or labelling thoughts.
Once the awareness has expanded, it is then about holding this open awareness as you sit, or even as you pursue daily activities after the practice has completed.
As with all meditation practices, this is a dynamic activity, and your mind is likely to drift. If it does then as usual acknowledge this, maybe bring it back to the breath briefly, and let it flow out again into the wider field of awareness.