To experience the phenomenon of acceptance from mindfulness, a central meditation is proposed that combines three meditations: body scan, thought and sound meditation and compassionate acceptance meditation.
General aspects of the mindfulness exercise
The mindfulness offers us the possibility to perform a highly enriching session whose central exercise combines three meditations:
- Body scan
- Thought and sound meditation
- Meditation to accept difficulties
This exercise lasts about 30 minutes. In the first eight or ten minutes we will use the development of the body scan; then we will bring the attention to the thoughts and the sensations for eight or ten minutes to go slowly into the reading of the somatic experience of the difficulties in the remaining eight or ten minutes.
With this exercise of meditation in a seated position, a progressive journey is made through the anchorages with which the practitioner is already familiar: the anchorage in the body, as an element that settles the attention in the present moment, passing through the meditation of sounds and thoughts.
This is an element that allows us to anchor ourselves in the flow of the mind and the senses, expanding our receptivity, since we do not intend to identify with what is happening in the outside world or with the thoughts or sensations that arise, but only try to observe them without attachment and let them pass.
As we progress in this meditation, we reach a state of being able to approach the observation and acceptance of difficulties, an element that offers us the possibility of anchoring ourselves in the compassion that is generated by meditating with a compassionate attitude.
In this way, the practitioner can advance little by little in the three central axes of this session, to accept, to allow and to let be, which are the actions that we want him/her to incorporate when carrying out the meditation.
Step by step of the combined meditation
Below are detailed instructions for conducting this exercise:
- Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Inhale and exhale and feel how with each inhalation air is entering your lungs and with each exhalation you expel more toxicity from your body.
- Hold your left hand four fingers below your belly and place your right hand near your heart. Now, for a few moments, feel the air coming in and out. Just that, there is nothing else to do: just feel the air coming in and the air going out.
- On the next breath start to bring your attention to your feet; and breathe. To your legs; and breathe. To the spine; and breathe. To the internal organs; and breathe. Notice how you feel when you are breathing.
- Again, anchor yourself in the lower abdomen: breathe. Back to the heart: breathe. And go through your upper body: ribs, collarbones, arms, hands, wrists. Bring your attention to the cervicals: breathe. To the head, breathe. Feel everything that goes through your body when you are breathing. You’re not doing anything more than that; you’re breathing.
- Let’s slowly pay attention to the sounds. We start by listening to the breathing, the air coming in and out, the sound it makes as it goes in and out through the nose. We become friends with our blood, which flows through our veins and arteries, with the fluids in our body and with our heartbeat. They are all internal sounds. Intestines, arteries, veins, fluids, air are all part of our body.
- Now we pay attention to these phenomena, and little by little, when we recognize them, we can observe other sounds of the space in which we are. A small external sound, a bird, a bell, a human being, a dog. All of them are part of the condition of existence.
- Listen to the sounds around you, allow everything to express itself as it is, accept it and let it exist. Let yourself be, allow your being to express itself and accept to be pure existence that breathes. Gently return to the breath, paying attention to the exit and entrance of the air.
- While sitting, if you notice painful thoughts, emotions or feelings trying to divert your attention from the flow of the breath, you can do something different from what we have practiced so far.
- When your attention has approached the bodily sensations and they take the lead in the field of consciousness, remind yourself that you are not trying to change them, but exploring how they come and go from your body. It may help to say to yourself mentally, “It’s okay to feel this. Whatever it is, it’s good that you give me permission to open up to it.
- Then try to stay conscious of these bodily sensations and observe your relationship to them. Are you trying to get rid of them, or are you able to give them your full attention, accepting them, letting them be as they are? Repeat the words again: “It’s okay. Whatever it is, it is good that you give me permission to open up to it.
If during this meditation you are not assailed by difficulties or concerns and wish to explore this new approach, try to deliberately remember a difficulty you are currently experiencing. It doesn’t have to be something very important or critical, as long as you are aware that it is something unpleasant or unresolved.
Check if you are able to notice and get close to the feelings in your body. Become aware of these sensations, direct your attention to the region of the body where they are most intense, focus your breathing on that area, explore the sensations and notice how their intensity rises and falls.
If possible, keep your awareness of these body sensations and your relationship with them, breathing with them, accepting them and allowing them to be as they are.
When you notice that the bodily sensations no longer occupy your attention with the same intensity, return your attention to the breath. If you do not experience any intense body sensations in the next few minutes, try breathing in and out with whatever body sensation you experience.