episode description & show notes
Harriet shares a short guided meditation with you, focussing on creating space to welcome whatever is going on in your environment, body, breath and mind.
Read the full transcript:
breath, body, awareness, attention, sound, notice, wriggle, moment, feel, experience, space, settle, sensations, practice, soles, surfaces, mind, pause, cultivated, rest
Hi everyone, it’s Harriet here with a special bonus episode of In our experience to get you through until season two launches on the first of February. Today, I have a little guided meditation for you. And for this practice, really, it’s just important that you’re comfortable and that you feel at ease. So you might like to take a moment to settle yourself on a chair, maybe you’re feeling a little tired today, you want to lie down, maybe you’re sitting on the floor on a cushion. Really take your time to get settled in, get cosy, wriggle around, make all of these little movements and gestures to show you that you’re ready for a moment of pause and attention. And you might choose to have your eyes open, or your eyes closed for this, maybe resting your gaze at a point somewhere out in front of you on the floor on the wall. And as your body starts to settle into this space, you could feel a bit of a reflex arise here to take a few fuller, slower breaths. So let that happen. Let that come. Maybe there’s a little bit of a sigh. Maybe that sigh provokes a little bit of a wriggle. And eventually, here, body and breath can begin to settle. As we start to welcome ourselves into this moment of attention. Welcome ourselves into this moment of slightly deeper, more present awareness. You might begin by noticing the points of contact between your body and the supports beneath you. Whether you’re sitting on a chair, or lying down, or sitting on a cushion. Noticing where your body meets these surfaces. You might notice any sensations associated with this, maybe pressure, texture, temperature. And seeing if you can explore what it might be like to allow your body to be even just 5% more supported here. Let your body rest down into the surfaces around you just 5% more. And from here, you might begin to expand your awareness towards your environment. So checking in with the environment around you, noticing things like the temperature of the air. Maybe there’s an awareness of how much light is in your space, whether that’s with eyes open or behind your closed eyelids. Maybe there is an awareness of sound you could start with the obvious sounds like the sound of my voice, the sound of your own breath. Gradually letting more sounds make their way in. Maybe the sound of people or pets that you’re sharing your space with maybe a little bit further afield, that could be the sound outside of your home—traffic, nature, weather. And for a few moments, sitting with this gentle awareness of sound so ears are opening to the sounds around you. Sound comes and goes.
And using this awareness of sound using this awareness of your environment to pause and to really appreciate that you are here. You’re right here knowing that it’s okay if there’s still lingering residue of your day so far thoughts, to do lists. That can just sort of trickle away in the background. But as much as possible, resting your attention with the sounds around you. Recognising that you are right here. From this awareness of your environment of the sounds around you, it might be that you’re ready to bring your attention a little closer towards your body, perhaps taking a little scan of your body from the crown of your heads down towards the soles of your feet. Building up a little picture of how your body is feeling in this moment. And as you scan through seeing if you can be curious and open to what’s in your experience of your body today. So there’s no right or wrong way for your body to feel. And there might be all sorts of different sensations happening here, tiredness, tenderness, pain, restlessness, numbness, and all of these are okay, there’s no need for us to fix or do anything. As we make our way, scanning through the body. In fact, seeing if you can actively meet your body with a sense of welcomeness, almost as if you were saying hello to a friend that you saw on the street—so meeting your body, meeting these sensations with warmth, with friendliness, saying hello and then moving on to the next area of your body.
And when you make your way down to the soles of your feet, we can sort of circle our attention back around to rest on the breath. And if this is comfortable for you, letting your attention rest wherever your breath feels most at ease today, and that could be at the nostrils. That could be in the throat or in the chest, maybe in the belly. Maybe lower in the pelvis, in the abdomen. And you might feel a desire here to take a fuller breath. Let that come. Let it go and then seeing if you can allow your breath to settle back into a steady resting rhythm. Giving the breath a lot of space here to be just as it is.
You might notice as you inhale the air is slightly cooler against the nostrils. As you exhale the air is slightly warmer.
You might notice the rise and fall of your belly or the expansion and contraction of your ribs.
And for the next few moments seeing if you can allow your awareness to rest with your breath as much as possible.
Knowing that your attention will wander and that’s really okay that’s not a problem when you find that your attention has gone elsewhere. See if you can gently bring yourself back towards your experience of your breath. And this can happen as many times as you need it to. It might feel like it happens 10 times a second or 100 times a minute. This practice is really not about being with your breath 100% of the time it’s not about emptying the mind, it’s not about cultivating this sort of arbitrary sense of stillness or serenity. This practice is about coming back. How often and with how much gentleness can we return our attention to the breath.
Because that’s all we’re really trying to do here is to create just enough space in our experience to notice, when our attention has gone elsewhere, to bring ourselves back and it’s this space that allows us to experience more ease more compassion.
It’s this space that also allows us the opportunity to check in with how our heart and mind are doing. So just as we’ve done with our body and with our environment, and with our breath we can now turn attention towards the very sort of deepest and softest part of us if that feels okay today. And if it doesn’t, you can stay with your breath, you could come back to your body or even to the sounds around you. But if it feels okay for you to glance across the surface of the mind, then perhaps noticing where your thoughts go—noticing the feelings or the memories that are right at the top.
And once again, this isn’t about doing anything with what we notice. We don’t need to make anything happen, we don’t need to fix. We can notice what’s there. So if it’s grief, notice that grief if it’s an email that you’re composing, notice the email. If it’s joy, if it’s frustration, if it’s boredom, if it’s sleepiness, can you be welcoming of all of your experience? Can you welcome all of yourself to this space?
And spend spending the last few moments of our practice sort of resting in this open, welcoming awareness that we’ve cultivated for ourselves. You might let your attention wander back to sound, back to your breath. Perhaps noticing how you’re feeling in your body, how you’re feeling in your attention or in your breath as we come towards the end of this moment. And as your attention starts to come back towards the present, back towards the space that you’re in, it could be that you want to start to have a little wriggle here. Perhaps keeping the eyes closed or focused on a point and in front of you, but a little regular fingers or toes or shoulders. Moving in any way that feels good that helps you come back, maybe a few deeper breaths. And really pausing here to thank yourself for this time. Thank yourself for this moment of pause and attention and thanking you all so much for joining me.
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