In this practice inspired by Jack Kornfield, you are invited to develop a mind that is vast like space, where experiences both pleasant and unpleasant can appear and disappear without conflict, struggle or harm. This way, you practice shifting your attention from your experiences to the spacious consciousness that witnesses it all. “We see the dance of life, we dance beautifully, yet we are not caught in it. In any situation, we can open up, relax, and return to the sky-like nature of consciousness.” – Jack Kornfield
The wheel of awareness is a useful visual tool for the way the mind works when we meditate. It was developed by the psychiatrist Dan Siegel .
Our awareness could be seen as lying at the centre of a circle like a hub, from which, at any given moment, we can choose to focus on a wide array of thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations circling around us on the rim of the circle.
With practice people report feeling more clarity and calm, a deeper sense of stability and even vitality.
Take a few minutes to pause, ground yourself in your body and turn your attention inward to know how you are feeling and find a sense of balance in the midst of all your activities.
Mindfulness practice invites us to feel our emotions fully and consciously, to make space for them, even the difficult ones, instead of avoiding them, pushing them down or being completely dominated by them.
We learn to bring awareness to the felt sense of what is happening to us when we are triggered, to feel our own vulnerability.
When we experience strong emotional reactivity, one practice that is particularly helpful is self-compassion with RAIN (described by the meditation teacher and psychologist Tara Brach in her book Radical Compassion).
RAIN stands for the four steps of Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nurture. These steps are easy to learn and can be used whenever we feel stressed, fearful, reactive and confused. Over time, they build inner resilience and trust in our own wise heart, so we can respond to life in a way that expresses our truth.
Mindfulness meditation is an embodied practice, an invitation to come back to our body, as a portal to presence. The basic meditation instructions are to be mindful of the changing stream of sensations without trying to hold on to any of them, change them or resist them. The invitation is to let go of our mental map of the body, and instead to directly enter each body part with awareness.
This is a deeply grounding practice inviting you to visit your inner refuge and cultivate feelings of love, care, connection and safety within yourself.
Finding our resources and creating an inner refuge helps us be with our difficult emotions and experiences as they arise in our life and in our practice. This inquiry will help you contact positive emotions, especially a sense of care, strength, stability and safety in the present moment.
It is based on the teachings of the meditation teacher and psychologist Tara Brach in her book “True Refuge”.
Letting go is a process, sometimes all we can do is “let be”: not trying to get rid of the experience, but softening into a state of allowing. It is what we practice with the second wing of mindfulness, allowing our experience to be whatever it is, without trying to hold on to it, push it away or change it. This allowing is made possible when the heart is open, we bring a loving presence to our experiences, without any added judgment. When we can allow and accept what is present to us in our life, it brings a felt sense of release in the body and the mind. We make space for our experience to be here, and we actually can feel more spacious, less contracted.
It is like opening a fist, letting go of the tension of grasping.
: “Letting go is the opposite of clinging to our hopes and ideas about how things should be and allowing them to be just as they are.” – Sharon Salzberg
The capacity to love that is inherent in every one of us can be awakened and developed through the practice of loving kindness or metta, which is a 2,500-year-old practice. It is meant to cultivate a state of mind that radiates kindness, wishing well without wanting anything in return. Over time it helps awaken love when you are not feeling it, and deepen and amplify it when you are. It uses repeated phrases, images and feelings to evoke loving kindness and friendliness towards oneself and others. Traditionally, we begin with ourselves and continue opening our hearts to eventually include all beings.
The practice of loving kindness is an intentional practice to open and awaken our heart and grow feelings of caring and warmth, first towards ourselves, then towards others, and to the whole of life. the cultivation of kindness and loving presence is a central part of our mindfulness practice. It determines the quality of our attention, how we relate to the present moment, allowing with loving presence, not judging, not resisting, but rather opening to and accepting our experience with the kindness of our heart.