Tag: Guided meditation

#NZ Lockdown Day 15

Register, Allow, Inspect, Noursh-guided mindfulness meditation for feeling emotion (R.A.I.N.)

I (finally!) recorded the “RAIN”-meditation I use in the intro course to mindfulness meditation, week 3. People either love it or hate it. I have recorded it for people who loved it. Or those who want to try a R.A.I.N.-meditation for the first time. And of course those who hated it might want to give it another go.

R.A.I.N. meditations assist with exploring icky feelings and bodily sensations we usually don’t want, label as negative, prefer to ignore, push away or try to fix. R.A.I.N. is an excellent tool for persistent emotions that keep gnawing or are repetitively triggered.

R is for recognise (the feeling) or register the feeling; starting by noticing there’s “something there”. A is for allowing it to be there, recognising that whatever you feel is  okay (even when it doesn’t feel okay). Allowing leaves the judgement outside the door. I is for investigating or inspecting, getting to know the feeling; it’s qualities, it’s location in the body, it’s associated thinking patterns. And finally, N is for non-identification (I feel this, but the feeling is not who I am. It’s a passing thing and it doesn’t define me, even though it seems temporarily part of me) or N for nourishment. In this guided meditation we use Register, Inspect, Allow and Nourish.

If you are new to using guided RAIN meditations, don’t try and tackle the “biggest” emotion straightaway and don’t start with the toughest upheaval. Practice this technique first. Begin with feeling (from a situation) that is mildly unpleasant, something not too threatening. Perhaps the feelings arising from a quarrel with a colleague, for instance, or an impatience with your neighbour, irritations from an encounter with a stranger in the supermarket, or something such as a slight sensation of restlessness that can be felt present somewhere in the body, like a persistent background noise. While it’s often external events, conditions, encounters that seem to elicit feelings/emotions/sensations, whatever goes on in you is still yours, you own it. With kindness we acknowledge they’re our perceptions and interpretations.

As with other (guided) mindfulness meditation sessions, these formal sitting times are to ‘build up muscle’, a muscle of emotional strength and curious kindness. Not only to be able to “tackle”, or rather “be with” bigger feelings over time, but also to build the skill to use these R.A.I.N.-tools ‘on the fly’, ‘in the world’, out in the wild, whenever you might need or want to use them. Until they become second nature – with awareness.

Unlike psychological or behavioural approaches, you are not asked to analyse or overthink your feelings/emotions/sensations. You “RAIN” them! This is important to remember. To remember to just feel and notice. Use breath where needed to focus awareness on the body whenever attention gets stuck in the mind. Write to me with any questions!

Click here to access this guided mindfulness meditation, stored on Soundcloud. It is about 14 minutes long, but of course you can use it multiple times a day if you feel to. The session ends with three tinkles of a meditation bell.

Difficulty concentrating? Try this

For a lot of people in so called lockdown here in New Zealand/Aotearoa, their main issue is difficulty concentrating. As you probably know (since you’re visiting this page), a meditation-a-day will help with mental clarity, mental peace and the ability to handle being here and now, not dwelling on the past or leapfrogging ahead to the future. Hopefully you’re able to find a quarter-of-an hour of time-out from others if you are in a “bubble” with more people. Hide under a duvet in the laundry wearing headphones if you must. Because here is a new recording for you to practise with if you wish: a guided, 14-minute, guided mindfulness meditation, with lots of silences – especially at the end. It focuses on breath, upper body and relaxation and of course, focus for the restless mind.

Also, I do think it is important to stay informed and not somehow hide under a rock while this COVID-19-thing is making its mark on the world. But there is so much information available and so much of it is only half the (currently available) story or fear-based biased rubbish, that reading or listening to the news isn’t always helpful, and the shouting crowd on social media sounds kind of extra nutty at the moment.

But this morning I found all my current questions answered in Kim Hill’s interview with British clinical virologist Dr Chris Smith (especially regarding whether or not to wear a face mask in public; currently a hot topic in many countries, including New Zealand/Aotearoa.  I felt their conversation was very sane, scientific and calming. So if you’re interested, this is the link to the interview for additional peace of mind.

Mindfulness “not working”? Do it anyway. Here’s why

Even if you feel mindfulness meditation is “not working” (whatever that means!), do it anyway. The benefits occur, even if you feel they don’t. Here’s a reminder of the benefits of mindfulness meditation from the Mindfulness Works Newsletter today:

“How mindfulness works to reduce stress and anxiety

Practising mindfulness meditation will automatically and quite naturally cause us to relax more often; it does this by triggering the relaxation response. When we are sitting in one place for a period of time and focusing on our body or our breath and we naturally start to relax, we find that:

•    the breathing slows
•    our blood pressure drops
•    our heart rate slows
•    oxygen in our blood increases
•    our muscles relax
•    the mind starts to soften and/or feel more spacious.

Over time and with consistent practice, both the structure and the chemistry of our brain changes so that we are relaxed and at ease more often. This happens automatically and, in fact, it shows us that relaxation will happen even if our mind seems very busy and full of thoughts.”

So keep practising, especially during these big changes in daily life all over the world because of…. you-know-what!

And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email via the contact page, or leave a comment!

~

If you’d like a guided meditation to use, you could check out this open awareness guided mindfulness meditation recording on Soundcloud.com, made by me. Or choose from the heaps more, wonderful Mindfulness Works NZ facilitators, put Mindfulness Works in the search box and find a voice you like.
I also recommend having this in the background if you don’t live in nature (and are lucky to have unlimited data/wifi): 8 hours of bird and water sounds (on Youtube)

Breathing in, I know I am breathing in…

This beautiful, simple, guided meditation was written by Thich Nhat Hahn. Some twenty years ago, I found it in a library book while on my seeking journey. I learnt it by heart, so I would be able to say it to myself on the rhythm of my breath. For a while I used it every time I sat in the hotpools at the New Plymouth’s aquatic centre after early morning swims. Then I forgot about it for a long time. When I started teaching mindfulness meditation for Mindfulness Works, I traced it down on the internet, because I remembered how grounded, calm, connected to all aspects of earth, nature and breath it would make me feel. I have recorded it for you to listen to and use if it appeals to you (click here). In the recording I’m repeating the meditation-poem three times to coincide with a medium speed breathing rhythm. It lasts just under 3 minutes. Alternatively, use these words to make your own recording to play back to yourself, or learn it by heart and use it on the rhythm of your breath. Use not just the words as words, but also as visualisation or imaginations or mind-pictures if you can: Breath, In, Out , Flower, Fresh, Mountain, Solid, Still, Water, Reflecting, Space, Free.

#NZ Lockdown Day 2

photo: Kapiti coast, by Sitara Morgenster

Open awareness meditation

I used to use a version of this guided Open Awareness mindfulness meditation in the last classes of the Mindfulness Works Introductory courses and a lot of people liked it. It takes into account all experience during “sitting still” while “focusing attention without judgment”: breath, body, sound, feelings and thoughts. It’s a refreshing, easy meditation. Note that there are lots of long silences, in which you get time to explore the instructions in yourself. The total time is 13.5 minutes.

Click here to access the 13.5 minute Open Awareness meditation (it will take you to Sound Cloud). Feel free to download it, use it, share it, like it and leave a comment!

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