Mindful’s founding editor Barry Boyce shares a practice on how our vulnerability can connect us to everyone and everything around us.
This meditation practice is about mindfulness of body or mindfulness of embodied experience because whatever is happening isn’t happening in an abstract way, it’s happening here—in our bodies. So we need to return home, to go back to square one. And so we can call this practice a coming home practice, a being home practice, or a square one practice.
A 12-Minute Meditation to Come Home to Your Body
- Your eyes may be opened or closed. If they’re opened, your eyes are lowered in a soft gaze and not focusing on anything in particular. In fact, before you close your eyes—if you’re going to close your eyes—I just want you to take a moment to appreciate the sense of sight (if you are sighted).
- Notice the colors, shapes, and forms around you in your immediate environment. Whether it’s closed in a room or whether you have a vista beyond.
- Now, notice what you’re hearing. Is there anything you’re hearing in the immediate area? In the middle distance? Beyond?
- Notice what you see, what you hear, and what you sense with touch. Feel your bottom touching the chair. Feel the temperature of the air in the room and on your skin. If you like, you can close your eyes. Let your chin drop down slightly in a gesture of respect.
- Notice your sense of taste and the sense of smell. They’re likely to be reduced right now unless you’re sucking on a lozenge or you’re in an area with a very potent smell. Nevertheless, you have smell and taste, so you have all your faculties of sensation. Let’s take a moment to appreciate that. Your hands may be resting on the top of your legs or wherever is convenient. If you’re in a chair, let your feet touch the ground, the floor. Which is ultimately connected somewhere down there, with the earth. So through your feet and your seat, in your chair, you’re connected to the earth. Sense the environment around you.
- Pay attention to just three fully conscious breaths. You don’t need to manipulate your breath in any particular way. Just for a moment, in your own time, pay full attention to three conscious breaths. In and out.
- Now that we’ve dropped in and we’re inhabiting our body in whatever environment we’re in, I want you to appreciate the warmth in your body. In Fahrenheit terms, it’s 98.6 degrees. That would be a very hot day in the outer world. You have a lot of warmth in your body. You don’t necessarily experience it as such, but if you contemplate it a bit, you can have a sense of that warmth. You’re not a frozen block of ice. We have lots of blood coursing through our body and other fluids going on and it’s operating at quite a warm temperature.
- So, direct that warmth toward yourself, in your mind. If you have thoughts fighting against you, they can be reduced through warmth. Like when somebody is in distress, you give them a hug and you share your warmth with them. So you’re inhabiting and embodying the warmth in your body, and the warmth in your mind. It’s very warm. It’s very kind. It’s very soft. At the same time, you have an upright posture and you are attentive.
- Now, as we close, imagine that warmth radiating out. Think perhaps of someone you know who’s going through a difficult time or is in some kind of distress. Just let them into your mind’s eye, and let them feel that warmth because it radiates out from you. We all know this experience. When you approach somebody and they project warmth onto you, you can feel it.
- Let your warmth radiate. This is actually possible because of your vulnerability, because of our vulnerability. Our vulnerability is what connects us to what’s around us and those around us.
In honor of The People’s Practice Conference, a 24-hour virtual mindfulness event, Boo Boafo from Urban Yoga Foundation shares a 20-minute practice to cultivate the tools to nurture, strengthen, and give courage to our fearless hearts.