Theme: Setting the scene
- 10 minute or 30 minute body scan on 6 days this week on Insight Timer. There are now loads of great mindfulness app to try and see what works for you. You can find our recordings here for the;
- Choose one daily routine activity and deliberately bring moment-to-moment awareness to that activity each time you do it, just as we did in the raisin exercise eg brushing your teeth or making a drinking a brew.
This weeks poem;
Sisyphus (Sissyfuss) Perhaps It Would Eventually Rode, But…
That rock that we have been pushing up the hill – that one
That keeps rolling back down and we keep pushing back up – what if we stopped
We are not Sisyphus.
This rock is not a punishment
It’s something we have choose to push.
Who knows why.
I look at all the names we once carved into its sedimentary sides.
How important I thought they were, those names.
How I’ve clung to those labels
How I’ve cared about who’s pushed harder and who’s been slack.
Now all I want is to let the rock roll back to where it belongs.
Which is wherever it lands,
And you and I could, imagine! Walk unencumbered all the way to the top.
And walk. And walk.
And never stop.
Except to discover what our hands might do if for once they were no longer pushing.
Theme: From Being in our Heads to Mindfulness of the Breath (Perception)
- Home Practice: Do Body Scan for at least 6 days of the week again this week
- Practice the 10 mins Mindfulness of Breath for 6 days
- Choose a different activity to be mindful of each day, e.g. getting dressed, brushing teeth, first cup of tea or coffee.
- Keep a record of one pleasant event each day.
This weeks poem;
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Mindfulness of the Body in Motion and in Stillness (Gathering the Scattered Mind – anchoring with body and breath)
- Practice the standing/sitting mindful movements daily for about 15 minutes, mindful of what you feel and without rushing or striving, on 6 days.
- At a different time practice being mindfulness of breath for 10 minutes, on 6 days
- Practice the 3 stage breathing space 3 times daily, at times you have decided in advance (Use the audio recording the first couple of times then try doing without it).
- Keep a record of one unpleasant event each day.
- Continue paying attention deliberately during one routine activity, and begin to bring this deliberate mindfulness to other moments during the day, when you remember.
THE JOURNEY BY MARY OLIVER
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late enough,
and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Theme: Noticing our Reactions to Stress
- Practice sitting meditation breath and body 3 times this week
- On the other 4 days practice mindfulness of breath
- Practice mindful walking either in everyday life or using this audio guidance
- Practice the 3 stage breathing space at least 3 times each day and when you notice stress
- Bring Mindful awareness to daily activities such as waking up, before lunch, going to bed.
I will not live an unlived life
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me.
To make me less afraid,
Loosen my heart until it becomes
A wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance
To live so
That which comes to me as seed
Goes to the next as blossom
And that which comes to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit
– Dawna Markova –
Week 5 Theme:
Allowing things to be as they are – from Reacting to Responding Mindfully
Poem: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Recommended Home Practice
- Practice 20-30 minutes sitting with breath and body meditation including sounds, then thoughts and feelings at least twice this week.
- On the other days do a 20-minute practice or two 10-minute practices of your choice. Try doing this without the audio recording – you can use a timer or an app on your phone.
- Practice the 3 Step Breathing Space at least 3 times each day, either when you think of it or connect it to daily activities, as last week.
- Practice the 3 Step Breathing Space Coping/Responsive whenever you notice unpleasant feelings or feel unbalanced.
- Practice deliberate moment-to-moment awareness from time to time during the day.
- Treat yourself with kindness this week.
This is the short animation about the head v’s the heart
Theme: Turning towards difficulty with kindness to ourselves
- Do the Mountain Meditation Practice a couple of times this week. Or if you think it may be helpful, practice the 20-minutes Sitting with Difficulty meditation a couple of times. Choose a minor difficulty until you have got some familiarity with this practice .
- On the other days do a 20-minute sitting practice (breath, body, sound). Try doing this without the audio recording using a timer or an app to tell you when time’s up.
- Practice the 3 stage breathing space 3 times each day, either when you think of it or connect it to daily activities, as last week. Practice the 3 stage breathing space with the extended instructions whenever you notice unpleasant feelings or feel stressed.
- Practice deliberate moment-to-moment awareness from time to time during your day.
Poem: Guesthouse by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.