Mindfulness Exercise One

Introduction

This first practice focuses on how our minds are usually distracted by multitudes of sensory experiences. We often attend to thoughts that pop into our heads. The practices are built upon the sense that by being more present, we can begin to become more aware of how we are responding to stimuli, and train our mind not to engage. It is worth highlighting that through this, we are not  trying to rid the mind of thoughts (impossible) or suppress them (potentially dangerous) but learning to let thoughts and feelings just arise and disperse without attaching meaning to them.

Exercise 1: Recognising the Unsettled Mind

This exercise is adapted from Mindfulness Association MBLC course materials. The exercise will take 5 minutes.

Audio

The Unsettled Mind – read by Karen Lawson

Transcript

  • Sit comfortably with your back straight, with your feet firmly on the ground. Take a moment to recognise what it feels like to be held by the ground, to be anchored and supported.

  • If possible keep your eyes open and experience being where you are. Feel the pressure of your body resting on the seat and ground; become aware of the space around you; notice how you naturally become aware of sounds and other sensory stimuli –  family chatter, birds outside, cooking smells.

  • This practice is very simple: just allow yourself to be there, experiencing whatever happens when you sit and do nothing. Decide to sit and do nothing.

  • In a surprisingly short time you will find that you are thinking about something, even though you had decided to do nothing. When you realise you are thinking, simply bring your attention back to being there doing nothing.

  • Once again, before you know it you will have drifted away following some random thought. So once again, when you realise this, bring your attention back to being there doing nothing.

After the Practice

After the practice, take a few moments to reflect and journal on these questions.

  1. How did you experience ‘doing nothing’?
  2. Where did your mind go – to the future or to the past?
  3. What other sensations did you experience?
  4. What was happening in your body?
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