Category Archives: Mindfulness

Meditation 106: Walking Meditation on Body

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

So far you have been meditating in a sitting position. This meditation exercise is done while walking. Make sure you are walking in a pleasant and safe place while doing this exercise.

In this walking meditation, one allows stresses in the body to unwind, so the body regains its relaxed and natural form.

Meditation Exercise 6:

Unwinding stresses in the body

Purpose:

To train the student to BE there and let the body unwind. The idea is to get the student to BE there while walking and not do anything else but BE there.

Pre-requisites:

Complete the exercises up to Meditation 105: Suppressed Memories

Study Walking Meditation

Instructions:

Find a safe and quiet pleasant environment, such as, in a farm, park or a garden where you may spend half an hour. Start walking leisurely.  Become aware of your natural breathing. Gradually become aware of your body from head to toe. Notice how the various parts of the body are moving without interfering with their motion. Notice how other parts of the body are being carried along. Experience the body walking, stopping, turning, bending, stretching, etc. Get the feel of the clothes on the body.

Start feeling the sensations present in the various parts of the body. Experience them fully one by one. Let any stresses unwind as they may. Do the same with any aches and pains present. Do not force anything. Let it all happen naturally. You let the stresses in the body unwind on their own, so the body starts to become increasingly relaxed.

All this while, you use your breathing as the stabilizing factor. In other words, whenever your attention strays you bring it back to your breathing and start experiencing the body again. Perceive the sensations, aches and pains in the body just as they are without interfering.

Continue this exercise for at least 20 minute. Let any stress in the process of unwinding complete its cycle.

You may repeat this exercise as often as you wish.

End of Exercise:

When a significant stress in the body has been released, accompanied by relief, then this exercise is passed.

NOTE: At any point you may return to a previous exercise if you feel that you need to complete it.

.

Walking Meditation

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Walking meditation is done while walking in an open and pleasant environment, such as, in a farm, park or a garden. One meditates on the body and the physical environment while walking. Like in any meditation, the guiding principle is “being there and seeing things as they are.” Walking meditation on the body and on the physical environment is best done separately.

.

The Body

In walking meditation on the body, one allows stresses in the body to unwind, so the body regains its relaxed and natural form.

Once you start walking you, simply start observing the body without interfering with it.  Become aware of the natural pattern of your breathing. Notice the disposition of the various parts of the body at different times: in walking, turning, bending, stretching, stopping, etc. Get the feel of the clothes on the body, their weight, temperature, etc. After a little while, start putting you attention on different parts of the body and feel any sensations, aches or pains present.  You let the stresses in the body unwind on their own, so the body starts to become increasingly relaxed.

All this while, you use your breathing as the stabilizing factor. In other words, whenever your attention strays you bring it back to your breathing and start observing the body again.

.

The Physical Environment

In walking meditation on the physical environment, one observes one’s physical perceptions until they become clear and sharp.

Once you start walking you, simply start observing the physical environment without interfering with your perceptions.  Use breathing as your stabilizing factor, as before. At first you focus on the physical perception of sight. Notice the size, shape and color of the things in the environment and their overall visual pattern. Look as far as you can see. Then start putting attention on the perception of hearing also. Notice the quality, tone and loudness of sounds. Do this until your perceptions of sight and hearing start to become sharper.

At the end of your walk you may go to a coffee or tea place. There you practice the perceptions of touch, taste and smell as above.

.

Summary

The whole idea of walking meditation is to perceive things as they are. One perceives the sensations, pains and aches in the body as they are. Similarly, one perceives things in the environment just as they are.

This exercise may be done again and again until one’s perceptions of the body and the physical environment improve.

.

Meditation 105: Suppressed Memories

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Up until now you have been running out the reactions triggered by the external environment. In this exercise you shall be running out the suppression of past experiences. It is possible that the suppressed memories may have already been released through pervious exercises.

Meditation Exercise 5:

Unwinding suppressed memories

Purpose:

To train the student to BE there and let the mind unwind. The idea is to get the student to BE there and not do anything else but BE there.

Pre-requisites:

Complete the exercises up to Meditation 104: Reaction to Locations

Study Unwinding the Mind

Instructions:

Find a quiet location to meditate, where you may be undisturbed for at least half an hour. Start by observing your breathing. Let your attention roam freely. Notice if there is an area of memory where your attention goes to automatically. Notice if there is a location or a person central to that area of memory. Use this “item” as your stabilizing factor for the successive steps. In other words, if your attention gets lost, then you bring it back to this item, and start all over again.

Use the location or a person central to the area of suppressed memory as your stabilizing factor.

Let you mind roam freely in that area of memory. Simply follow the natural flow of attention and observe whatever is unfolding. Do not avoid, resist, deny, or suppress what the mind brings up. Just be curious. Do not interfere and try to figure it all out. Let the mind associate the data as it may. You simply observe and experience the thoughts and emotions as they arise.

Observe and experience the thoughts and emotions as they arise without interfering with the mind.

If attention gets lost during meditation, then you simply bring it back to the location or the person that you are using as your stabilizing factor. Continue to observe and experience without interfering. You simply BE there and not do anything else but BE there.

If the mind has stopped unwinding and nothing new is coming up then go back to the beginning. Let your attention roam freely and notice the area of memory it is going to automatically. It may take some trial and error on your part before you discover the area of memory that is ready to unwind. Make sure you are not rushing the mind.

It is absolutely imperative that you do not dig into the mind in your anxiety for answers.

Continue this exercise for at least 20 minute. You may continue for longer if it is going well. Soon or later you will have the area of suppressed memory that is ready to unwind, Very soon after that you will find yourself in possession of some answers and relief.

If, all of a sudden, there is a big realization that makes you very happy, you may end the session immediately and enjoy your win.

You may repeat this exercise often as long as suppressed data is coming up..

End of Exercise:

When major suppression of memory has been released, accompanied by great relief, then this exercise is passed.

NOTE: At any point you may return to a previous exercise if you feel that you need to complete it.

.

Unwinding the Mind

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

To unwind means “to undo or loosen from a tightly engaged condition:” For a spring loaded toy, it would be loosening the spring from a tightly coiled condition. For a tense mind, it would be loosening it from a tightly suppressed condition.

Most difficulties in life arise when perceptions and memories get suppressed. Such thoughts are then waiting to be released. Relief comes when the mind is allowed to unwind itself.

.

Suppression

When too many things are happening at once as in an emergency, and there is impact and pain as in an accident, then there is little time to sort them out. As a result such perceptions get suppressed and become deeply buried memories. One may have some idea of such a memory, but the details are not available to consciousness.

Suppressed memories are waiting for calm moments so they can come up to consciousness, get sorted out, and released.

The stress of daily life, however, does not provide calm enough moments to release deeply buried memories.

.

Unwinding

After several sessions of mindfulness meditation the mind begins to settle down and arrive at some calm moments. This provides the mind with opportunity to start unwinding itself. The attention automatically goes to an area of memory that needs to be examined and sorted out.

But that area of memory may have mental pain and confusion associated with it. Under these circumstances one must be cautiously aware of what is unfolding without interfering with it. To become anxious and start digging into the mind for answers is something you must not attempt.

The mind seems to unwind in a certain way to protect itself. It releases suppressed memory slowly so as not to overwhelm awareness with too much pain and confusion. Left to itself, mind will gradually present data that is safe to look at. Any attempt to rush the mind only makes it less responsive and it may get you into deep trouble.

Simply follow the natural flow of attention and closely examine what is unfolding. Do not interfere and try to figure out things beyond what the mind is presenting.

Soon the mental fog shall start to lift and long suppressed material shall come to view followed by realizations. This process may continue even outside the meditation session. Sometimes the mind may take days before all the suppressed data is available to arrive at the answer.

Relief comes from looking patiently and not from searching anxiously.

.

Locations & Personalities

You have been using breathing as a stabilizing factor while your mind is settling down (See Settling the Mind Down). This means that as and when attention gets lost during meditation, you bring it back to your breathing and start all over again.

Once the mind has settled down enough the attention goes automatically to a suppressed memory that is available to be sorted out. You use the location or personality that is central to that memory, as your stabilizing factor. If attention gets lost, then you bring it back to the location or personality of that memory, and start all over again.

Use the location or personality central to a memory as your stabilizing factor.

It is possible that the details of the suppressed memory have sorted themselves out and the attention is freed up with a sense of relief. In that case, you may not even care about that memory, or its location and personalities. If the sense of relief is great, you may even end the meditation session, and enjoy the win. Otherwise, you may go back to breathing and simply wait to see what the mind brings up next.

Session after session you let the mind unwind until no more suppressed data is coming up.

.

Meditation 104: Reaction to Locations

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Until now you have been meditating in a calm environment. You may find that the calmness of the mind may be affected by different locations. The environments at different locations may trigger different reactions in the mind.

Meditation Exercise 4:

Confronting different environments

Purpose:

To train the student to be there comfortably in different environments. The idea is to get the student able to BE there comfortably in any environment, to BE there and not do anything else but BE there.

Pre-requisites:

Complete the exercises up to Meditation 103: Reaction to People

Instructions:

Choose an environment that is only slightly more chaotic than the one you feel comfortable in. Sit at a location in that environment where you would not be disturbed physically . Start meditating in that environment with eyes closed, half closed or open as happens naturally. Handle any reactions and mental chattering as per the previous exercises. There should be nothing added to BE there.

You may be apprehensive in the beginning in a new environment and may start meditating with eyes open. But as you feel more comfortable your eyes may close naturally. Let the reactions run out and discharge with eyes closed, half closed and open. Let it all happen naturally.

As you are able to be there comfortably in an environment with no more reactions to run out, you may choose to meditate in a slightly more chaotic environment. You may do at least one 20-minute session in each environment. Some environments may require multiple sessions until you feel totally comfortable.

You should build up your ability to be there comfortably even in very chaotic environments, such as, a crowded mall, a street corner, a crowded bus or train station or even a graveyard in the night (if it is physically safe) without feeling afraid or embarrassed.

End of Exercise:

When major reactions are discharged, and the student can just BE there comfortably in any reasonably safe location, then this exercise is passed.

NOTE: At any point you may return to a previous exercise if you feel that you need to complete it.

.