I have turned to yoga during the most stressful times of my life. It has helped me reconnect with myself, feel grounded, and reminded me of my strength. More and more often, I find myself sitting rather than moving and raising myself through meditation and mindful awareness. I listen to dharma talks and guided meditations and read books and stories that help guide me and reinforce the knowing that what I am doing is truly helpful and transformative. Through all of these practices, I developed trust in my intuition and ability to help others connect with themselves in similar ways. So, I offer you a guided mindfulness practice that may help you raise your awareness and level of self-realization.
You will be able to do this meditation at your own pace and take the amount of time needed in five transitions: Recognize, Acknowledge, Investigate, Sit, Ease.
Take several minutes to settle into the moment. Find a quiet place that is available to you. This might be a meditation room or corner, your car, your closet, or under a tree at the park. After you get situated, connect to the sensations of breathing and your body. Just notice you are here and you’re alive. Several slow, deep breaths may help you relax and signal your parasympathetic nervous system that it’s time to calm down and rewire the brain in ways that promote less reactive states.
When you’re ready, begin to RECOGNIZE what’s going on with you. Are there strong sensations, emotions, or thoughts? Does a specific part of your body feel pain, tightness, openness, or tingling? There may be many things happening at the same time. Choose one or two that seem easiest to connect with and notice what they are there. You may even recognize them because you’ve sensed them before.
Then, ACKNOWLEDGE that these experiences right now exist. Yes, you are feeling it; you are thinking about it; you are having this sensation. You may want to say aloud or softly to yourself, “I acknowledge that I am experiencing this (pain, sadness, joy, peace, itch, irritation, worry, pleasure…)”
Begin to INVESTIGATE your present experience. Ask it questions. “Grief, what do you need right now?” “Tightness, what are you holding on to?” “Happiness, when did you join in?” You may also investigate what other sensations, thoughts, or emotions are around or behind the prominent ones. What else is here? Has it changed since I sat down? Be a curious little chipmunk looking around for what’s nearby.
And then just SIT. Let yourself be. Reconnect with your breath, the sounds in the background, and yourself as a part of the Universe and all that it is. Sit. There’s nothing to do right now but sit. All that to-do’s will be there when you’re done here, so just sit.
Allow EASE to gently permeate your and your surroundings. Become a little softer, less rigid and defined, and welcome simplicity. Can you hold these sensations, thoughts, and emotions with ease and empathy? They are here. They are part of your experience and perception of this moment, whether you find them to be positive, negative, or neutral, they are here right now. Offer yourself this phrase, “May I hold this moment with ease and empathy.”
This meditation came to me last night at just the right time. Like many of you, I have people in my life who are unwell, a high stress job, a family to care for, and goals I have set for myself. At times I can feel overwhelmed and stretched thin. Repetition and regularity have made meditation more accessible to me and now I can “drop in” and take some time for myself during the day. After doing this meditation I felt lifted and more connected to my life. I felt my vibration and energy rise. I hope this allows you to raise yourself up, too.
Author: Tamara Kinoshita, Wellness Educator & Coach