Welcome back to MBSR meditation series.
In this meditation called “Turning Towards, Allowing & Opening” we are setting an intention to allow into awareness the whole of our experience, including the pleasant, the neutral and the unpleasant dimensions and aspects.
Cultivating greater equanimity, acceptance, and kindness. Practicing being with whatever is true for us.
Settling into a comfortable sitting position, either on a straight-backed chair with the spine self-supported, or on a soft surface on the floor, with our bottom supported by cushions.
Arriving in a posture that embodies a sense of wakefulness.
With the head balanced and chin tucked slightly in, the shoulders can be dropped and relaxed.
Allowing your weight to sink down through any points of contact with the chair or floor, and where possible, letting any tension dissolve into the support.
Remembering we are not trying to get anywhere or achieve any special state, we can let go of our usual habit of striving to do things well.
It is enough to be here now, moment by moment, just as we are.
I am your guide, Nejra. Let’s begin.
Awareness of Breath and Body
And so, bringing our attention now to what is actually happening with us in this present moment.
So perhaps just asking ourselves, “What is going on right now? What thoughts are around? How do we feel?”
Sensing what is transpiring in the body. Practicing dropping into our experience.
Inviting curious attention in noticing the movement of the breath. As if it was the first time.
So taking time, feeling the sensations, as the breath rolls in and rolls out.
Allowing it to move through its cycle of in-breath and out-breath. Riding the waves of breathing.
Moving awareness to the level of physical sensations in the body to the sensation of touch, contact, and pressure in the body, perhaps where it makes contact with the floor or the chair.
Knowing that if at any time sensations, thoughts, feelings arise that are too strong, we can always choose to come back to an anchor like the breath or contact with the floor, move or pause the meditation.
It is all okay.
So, practicing being with the breath or feet on the floor as our anchor.
Breathing down into the ground.
To open space in awareness, using the breath as a vehicle for kindness and compassion.
Breathing in, a softening. Breathing out, a letting go.
Now at a certain point, as best as we can, gently turn towards our current experience, allowing whatever is here, to just be present.
With a soft, kindly, nonjudgmental attitude. Can we choose to lean in and towards what is here for us right now?
We may like to say “It is okay, this is how it is in this moment, let me feel it”.
Practicing escorting our attention down from the headspace into the body… What is here to be felt?
As best we can, allowing our experience to unfold breath by breath.
Noticing any tendency to move away from or towards any sensations, perhaps labeling, noticing any judgments that may arise.
And ff we feel overwhelmed by any sensation, thought, or emotion, remembering we have the choice to nurture ourselves and choose to anchor ourselves.
Just being, breathing, anchoring,
Now if it feels safe for us, choosing to open our attention to also hold any unpleasant thoughts or feelings. What is here?
As best we can, practicing softening into it. Scanning to see if this difficulty has an echo in the body? A tightening, clenching, closing?
Holding it in our kind awareness as we would a child who was hurt. We might console the child, have compassion, hold it, soothe it.
And so we might choose to do the same with our emotional pain, by bringing it into the light of awareness.
Breathing in – a loving-kindness. Breathing out of it – a letting go, letting be.
Without pushing it away, judging the experience, or wishing it was different. Simply allowing it to be.
Breathing in. Breathing out.
And if it feels right, shifting the focus of awareness to hold now the pleasant dimensions at this moment. Calmly allowing it into the light of our awareness, we don’t need to make up pleasantness, as it is already here. We just gently practice holding the space.
It might be something like feeling the sensation of gravity, our body melting into the contact with the chair of floor – pleasant.
A relaxation in the hands, a warmth – pleasant.
Sunlight through the window – pleasant.
Quietness – pleasant.
Softness in the belly – pleasant.
And enriching it by going deep into the experience with our senses. Absorbing the pleasant down into the body. Lingering with the sensations. With curiosity.
And now, broadening out our field of awareness and taking a step back and holding the neutral, the pleasant, and the unpleasant experiences. All in our focus.
Allowing all to unfold in this moment to moment awareness. Allowing them just to be. Side by side. Attending to whatever arises. Cradling it in loving kindness. Mindfulness opens another layer of being fully present with the simple joys of life.
Being here, now. As we are, whole. Opening to the totality of our experience. Being fully human. And exploring our shared humanity.
Noticing the thoughts and emotions. The echo in the body, breathing into it. Practicing allowing ourselves to be exactly as we are.
Sitting with the negative, positive and neutral aspects. And now grounding ourselves, sending the breath all the way into the ground.
Offering a hand on the heart as the closing of the session, perhaps contemplating this unique experience.
How can we make more space and compassion for the totality of our experience? The pleasant, and the unpleasant. Breathing in, and breathing out.
Gently turning our awareness to inside our physical body, inviting a sense of movement for the body to explore.
The turning towards, allowing and opening meditation is now complete.
Thank you for practicing with me. In the next session, we will be exploring meditation for Awareness of Thoughts, looking at thoughts rather than from thoughts.
See you in the next practice.
”Remembering we are not trying to get anywhere or achieve any special state, we can let go of our usual habit of striving to do things well. It is enough to be here now, moment by moment, just as we are.