Posts Tagged ‘meditation’
Typically when we meet and connect with others, it’s largely through our forebrains. We’re looking to see who’s safe, where there’s a connection, what we have in common… generally things that involve thinking. However, another level connection comes from the heart.
Heart Breathing is a practice I occasionally teach to clients, and also in workshops where I help people communicate with ease and from the whole self. Even in formal business settings, it radically changes people’s interactions – it starts as a meditation, but also can be used to enhance heartfelt communication.
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, and close your eyes.
- Begin taking long, deep breaths. If like, place a hand or two over your heart.
- As you breathe in, visualize breathing in through your heart. On the exhale, imagine exhaling out of your heart. Practice for a few minutes.
- When interacting with people throughout the day, do this while you listen. They’ll feel your presence differently. As well, try to do it while talking, too.
What is the line between being and doing? Now, both Buddhism and critical theory discuss this. Basically, the concept that what we think of as a human being is actually a “human doing.” We’re constantly self-creating and reifying old patterns – emotions, thoughts, bodily sensations, and so on. This personality is actually a composite of largely unconscious habits.
Consider what it would be like to do less. Or, perhaps, to just… stop.
Well, that’s a tall order. If you do any awareness practices or meditations, you know this – because the mind keeps moving even when we’re sitting totally still. Nonetheless, to cultivate an ongoing relationship with stillness is to let go of patterns that we don’t desire.
Action: For the next 5 minutes… just 5 minutes… Stop. Sit. Look at flowers. Breathe. Notice thoughts and desires. See they’re there, and be curious. But return to breathing – it’s good for you.
Let’s look a little more at that inner critic. It might be viewed as the internalized Voice of Society. Or perhaps the Stater of Idealized Norms (how we Think everyone is supposed to be like). Or the If-I-Was-A-Good/Healthy/Functioning-Person-I’d-Be-That-Way Declarer. Or the Comparer (“That person is obviously doing much better than you are. Why don’t you do that?”). Or the Arbiter of What is Good and Proper (“and you obviously are not it”).
We hold everything a little too tightly, don’t we? Here’s a way to give yourself more space and permission to be, well, human.
Action: Next time you find that you’re judging yourself…
- Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and physically relax your body, especially your shoulders, chest and solar plexus (which is where we often store these feelings).
- Imagine that your body expands a few feet out, giving more room for these feelings.
- Let it keep expanding as much as necessary – to the size of the room… the building… the city… and so on, until you really have enough space and permission for all that you are. (Note: if it ever feels too big or spacey, just adjust it to be somewhat smaller again.)
Yes. You can give yourself that much Space and Permission to Be – All That You Are.