Uncertain Times

In these uncertain times we have an opportunity to work more on our practices in order to stay connected and to draw on our inner strength and deep intelligence. Our capacity to sit and be with ourselves in simple ways becomes something we can use to nourish and rest back into a strong centre. A daily practice at the start of the day is always helpful but there are many ways of connecting aside from or as well as this.

Regularly coming back to your body breath connection becomes a good stress buster, and will keep you in touch with how you are and closer to your inner resources.

Through your day keep noticing when you have been taken away into some worry, anxiety, feeling overburdened or into some ‘over thinking’. In this way you develop the witness; that part of you that ‘watches’ what is presenting, that is not lost, but catches and ‘sees. This is the first stage; the seeing. You catch this movement away, and from here you draw your attention back to body and breath, staying close to; to anchor yourself and keep in the present moment.

Take short breaks in the midst of what you are doing to bring yourself back to this close to, body breath awareness. Good areas to focus your awareness and attention on are your feet, your thighs and the base of your torso – the whole broad wide base, resting into the surface beneath you. These areas; your connecting to them, with your feeling attention, will help to build your ground and anchor you down. Feel also the connection between your feet and the floor, between your buttocks, the base of your torso, and the surface of the chair/bed/floor, feel any support behind you etc.

It is helpful to see and acknowledge any anxiety, worry and so on. You do not need to deny or fight it, this only creates a fight and makes it stronger. Let it be, include it as what may be a part of what is presenting. No judging, criticising, condemning! but engaging your witness consciousness to watch, to be present with. It is a compassionate opening to yourself and your reality, a close accompanying, a being with and close to yourself. Do not think about it, this takes you away, but rather choose to keep the ‘close to’ your body breath focus, and doing so will build and strengthen your connection and help to reduce any stress.

When focusing on the body, the breath, the present moment, you do so without thinking – you are developing a feeling awareness. It is your thinking mind that takes you into fear, anxiety and other stress states. Thoughts will of course keep coming, keep pushing in, keep hijacking your attention. You simply draw your attention back each time you notice when you have become lost in thinking, and then keep coming back. Don’t make it into a problem, but do have a strong intention to stay close to and to keep coming back.

Anxiety or worry may seep or flood, and you can use your friend the witness to catch it, then watch it. You can open to the fact of its presenting with compassion and then bring your attention back to close to, here now, being in this moment. We need to accept any stress that is presenting in order to get beyond it. And then keep coming back, time and again to your anchors, to the resting, rooting, in and down.

Use the witness to watch and see your own reaction to the times as they are unfolding and then use your practice to draw you close to, to being present in the moment with whatever is presenting.

Also if you find yourself rushing in body and/or mind, slow down, get close to, allow your breath to flow. This may include noticing that you hold or restrict your breathing. Notice, let be, without demand or trying to make it different. Get close to the breath as it is presenting and see if and how it responds to your open non-interfering, undemanding attention.

It is helpful also to notice any place or area in your body that is tense or tight, where you may be holding on, and bring your ‘close to’ awareness and attention to this place, then stay a while. What happens when you stay close to it, accompanying, when you take a few minutes to be with it, feeling deeply and without thinking about it? As much as possible keep with your feeling attention, not thinking about it. Remember it is the thinking that spirals you into anxiety, worry and unhelpful stress states.

Those of you who have been working with me for a while will already have an appreciation of what I am talking about, for those who have not, these suggestions may not make much sense. Sometimes you will need to have worked to develop this ‘muscle’ in order to begin to understand and know it’s value and effectiveness. But equally you may find you can work with it right away.

I intend in due course to be offering meditation classes on line. Do let me know if you would be interested; there will be limited places. I hope that this will offer a means of helping you to keep regular connection and to accessing the inner depths where peace, strength and deep intelligence are waiting. More on this soon!