In this evenings class we practiced Mindfulness. I defined it as the practice of being present with everything that is, without having to change anything. The intention of the 45 minute session was to just be aware.
Most of the time we spend our days in our head, giving little attention as to what kinds of thoughts we are having, what our body is experiencing or acknowledging the information being provided to us 24/7 by our senses and our energetic body.
Yes, energetic body. Humans are mind, body and spirit - and our body is not just our physical body, it also includes about 3-4 feet of energy that surrounds us. This energetic field inputs information to us, however because we are in our minds so much we have moved away from honoring this part of our human capacity.
Before I get into the practice, I want to share what happened today before class. It was so perfect! I had just finished getting the room ready for class when about 7 minutes before start time a man with a box walked in and seemed to be preparing to do some work on the flooring. One of the regular participants had walked in just ahead of him and I was happy to see her and we began to greet one another but when the man walked in my body tensed up and our conversation immediately stopped. I asked him if he planned on working on the floor right now and he responded that he did. As soon as we began speaking to one another it was like electricity was shooting through my body, my heart began to race and I could feel anxiety rising in not just myself but also in the other participant in the room. I calmly informed him that I was about to teach a class in 5 minutes to which he tersely responded that he had to do this work and he was not going to drive back tomorrow. I told him fine, do what you have to do but I would be asking him to leave in 5 minutes.
He quickly did what he could and left, a few seconds later another participant walked in and suddenly I felt happiness in seeing another familiar face. The "mood" of everyone in the room was completely changed to one of happiness in her presence. It was then that I realized - ha! This man gave me a gift, this is exactly what I wanted the class to be about today - how we can physically experience the energy field another person is carrying and how having a mindfulness practice creates in us the ability to be sensitive to it (awareness) and at the same time experience a sense of solidity that allows us to not be moved by it. Yes, I experienced angst by this man's presence, but I was able to allow the emotions to flow through me - stay in calmness and communicate with firmness AND love that I would be asking him to leave in 5 minutes.
On the flip side - when we practice meditation or mindfulness, this creates an ability in our brain to experience happiness and positive thoughts and emotions. Meditation and mindfulness practice has been shown through research to activate the left prefrontal cortex in the brain. This is the region of the brain associated with happiness and positive thoughts and emotions. By cultivating our "set point" to this part of the brain we energetically bring this positive state of being everywhere we go. Just like the man with the box energetically shifted the mood in the room to an agitated state - we also have the potential to shift the mood of the room to a set point of "peace".
So the practice -
Set aside 15 minutes at least of time in a quiet space where you won't be interrupted. If you can, aim for 30 minutes. Play relaxing music if you like.
Begin by taking a deep breathe and as you exhale let go of all thoughts and worries of the day.
Take another deep breath and relax even more.
Bring your awareness to your breath. Just be aware of it.
If you are feeling restless, don't "try" to calm yourself down. Simply be aware that you feel restless. Being aware of how you feel is the goal of the practice - not trying to force feeling peaceful or making your thoughts stop.
Take another deep breath and be aware of how you are breathing. Are you breathing through your nose? Your mouth? Does your chest rise and fall? Is it your shoulders rising and falling?
What noises do you hear? Is it noisy where you are? What effect does it have on your body? Are there other people in the house with you? Can you feel them?
What does the air feel like on your skin?
Bring your awareness to other parts of your body one at a time. Go deep. Can you feel your lungs inside your chest? Are there any parts of your body that are tense? What does the inside of your eyes feel like? Can you sense the blood flowing through your body?
Is there anything your body wants to communicate to you?
For the last 5 minutes tune into your energetic body. Can you sense that field of energy around you? What does it look like? Does it have a color or a texture? Maybe it has a sound?
With intention, can you extend it out even further? Imagine it like a ball of light around you. Imagine that you can extend it out to fill the whole room. The whole block you live on. Can you fill the whole city?
Then, let it all go. Just let it go. And gently and slowly bring your awareness back into your physical body, back to the room you are in.
Namaste - Yesenia
Dig deep. You aren't your color, you aren't your gender, you aren't someone that is right or wrong, bad or good. A Divine spark. You are a song you are a shout you are a dream YOU ARE. Infinite.
Every Wednesday evening I teach a meditation class in St. Helena. It's one of the favorite parts of my week. I'll be posting each weeks topic to share the class with my online community since you can't be there in person.
Today's topic of focus: Affirmations. Up until today, I've stayed away from meditating on an affirmation during my class. I think there has been a lot of focus on positive affirmations as being a kind of silver bullet to "fixing" something one might perceive as an unwanted feeling or perspective. I don't think real change can come from resisting something or trying to force something to change.
I prefer the use of affirmations as a tool to help me align to a particular vibration I want to tune into. I like to use affirmations as an anchor when my mind feels like rocky water - it helps me tune into the station I want on my own personal radio station of experience and emotions.
My class is 45 minutes long but for you the reader, choose your own length of time but at least 15 minutes.
Before you begin, choose an affirmation you would like to focus on. Thousands of affirmations are at your fingertips using google if you need help coming up with one. Bmindful is also a great website where people from around the world post affirmations they have come up with. See if one resonates with you, or share your own on the website. I like to keep affirmations short and sweet so I can memorize them. They should always, always be positive and framed in the present tense. "I am happy" versus "I want to be happy". If you affirm the latter you will anchor the "wanting" instead of the "being".
Here are some examples:
Now that you've chosen an affirmation find a quiet comfortable place and take a deep breath. As you begin to settle down, become aware of our body and any tension or sensations that may be present. Using your breath, breathe into any tension and gently release it.
Silently, in your heart say your affirmation. Sit quietly for your allotted time, and repeat your affirmation to yourself as often as you would like. Have the intention to be in your heart as you do this. Give yourself silent pauses in between saying your affirmation and notice if it begins to shift how your body feels. Begin to experience your affirmation as an emotion. What change has it created in how your body feels? Do you feel more expanded? More peace? At ease? Allow yourself to be aware of what is present, as it is, without judgment.
For the last 5 minutes of the time you have allowed, I would like you to use your imagination. Begin to imagine how your life would be if your affirmation was realized. For example, if your affirmations was "Money and resources flow into my life effortlessly and all my material needs are met easily" using your imagination you can picture writing your rent or mortgage bill without any worry. You can see your sense of ease in your body language and you can imagine yourself smiling, enjoying the company of your family or friends without distraction. Using your imagination to experience the manifestation of your affirmation helps you move from the just thinking positive and into the being of it. It will help anchor the vibrational frequency of how you want to relate to the world and how it will relate back to you.
When you're done exploring with your imagination what your life would be like with your affirmation realized, come out of the meditation gently and slowly. Write your affirmation down, post it somewhere you can see it or carry it in your wallet - let it be your anchor throughout the week.
If you decide to try the meditation let me know how it went. Was it easy? Did you have any insights? What was challenging? If you choose to use it through the week how did that go?
Love yourself, Love others,
Exploring the essence of love through the Divine spark of creativity and inspiration.