Mindfulness, Magic and Emotional Release
I was driving along yesterday and I became aware of how my thoughts were running away with me. They were not necessarily unpleasant thoughts but they were busy thoughts – taking me away from what I was doing and I most definitely was not concentrating on my driving.
So this morning I decided to sit and meditate using the most basic of techniques which is to sit quietly without any words to guide me and to just focus on my breathing. I wanted to become more mindful of my thoughts. I also wanted to remind myself that my thoughts are not me – they are just were my brain chooses to focus its attention.
As I was meditating and focusing on my breathing and my body I became aware of some tension in my body and just allowed my attention to focus there – not trying to change anything just noticing the tension and letting it be.
After a short while, I experienced an emotional release in my body. To me it makes complete sense that as our minds learn to ‘let go’ and gain new awareness about ourselves that our body starts to release old patterns too – these old patterns include the tension in our bodies and sometimes this new awareness and focus of attention can lead to physical change too.
Although I have read many books on meditation and mindfulness, I have rarely read anything about experiencing emotional release. So I just want to tell you about it – just in case you experience it yourself. If you have never felt a flood of emotions or muscle release during meditation don’t worry – this is perfectly normal. If you have – I want to tell you that this is also perfectly normal although I suspect much rarer and nothing to be worried about. The way I look at it is that whilst these emotions and tensions are buried in your body they are not doing you any good so allowing them to be released in a gentle and controlled way when you are in charge can only be a healing experience.
As I was doing this meditation this morning a short although quite deep book called ‘Self Observation – the awakening of conscience – an owner’s manual by Red Hawk came into my mind.
I believe that Red Hawk’s ideas are so accessible and useful that I started to recommend his meditation to my coaching clients as a way to help them to stay calm in, often difficult, situations. Because of its value, I then decided to include an outline of his approach in my book the People Skills Revolution Handbook. I thought you might find the following excerpt interesting.
You will notice that Red Hawk’s approach takes the body scan meditation which is a cornerstone of Mindfulness, one step further when he invites the reader to focus and stay with the tension in the body.
Nearly every religious or spiritual tradition includes meditation in its daily practice. It can have a very powerful affect on quietening the mind and driving out negative thoughts. I use meditation to keep me calm, improve the mind body/link and develop my intuition.
Recently I have also taken to recommending it to clients since I believe that the benefits are so powerful. I have included a very simple meditative practice here for you to follow if you would like to do so.
Although there are a wide range of meditative practices available the one that has worked best for me is the one advocated in ‘Self Observation – the awakening of conscience – an owner’s manual’ by Red Hawk, who teaches at the University of Arkansas.
In this book the author suggests that our thoughts are binary and that in any given situation we have the choice to select one of two options for example – positive or negative, like or dislike, past or future. Once our basic positions about the world are selected the mind selects only those ‘bits which verify and validate its programmed perceptions of the world’.
He goes on to explain that those perceptions form the basis of our belief systems, so that if we believe the world to be a cold, uncaring and unfriendly place we accept and integrate only the information, which reinforces this belief. I hope you can see the similarity between this idea and the approach to changing negative beliefs which is set out in chapter 3.
In ‘Self Observation’ the author believes that tension in our body is linked to negative thoughts we have about ourselves. He suggests that in order for us to become aware of and let go of our negative thoughts, that we need to observe unnecessary tension in the body and then to relax it.
To this he adds four laws of self observation.
- Self observation without judgement (or interference)
- Don’t change what is observed
- Observe unnecessary tension in the body
- Self honesty
Using this process for a few minutes a day and gradually building up the amount of time you spend focusing on the tension in your body will assist you to reduce negative thinking, improve the connection between your mind and body, enable you to feel more calm and centred and develop your intuition.
Settle into a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths in and out. Start to notice your breathing. Once you are into a settled breathing pattern start to use your thoughts to scan your body to identify any areas of tension. When you find an area of tension in your body just move your attention there. Allow it to be and do not try to change it.
As you focus your attention on the tension, it will start to change – you do not have to do anything to make this happen.
On day one sit and observe the process for 15 minutes. Increase the time you meditate by a few minutes each day if you can.
Do the meditative process every day for a week and record your thoughts each day.
|Day||Amount of time||Thoughts or experiences|
If you have found this useful, include a mediation of around 30 minutes to 45 minutes into your daily routine.
As you begin to feel calmer and more centred, your intuition will increase and you will begin to sense areas of conflict and tension around which may require your attention.
In the past you may have previously missed these situations or become embroiled in them.
You may also start to notice opportunities or what I call ‘magical moments’. These are times when the answers to questions become obvious to you or the right person appears at the right time to provide a new insight or solution.
I believe that these opportunities are always around us but when we are able to remain calm and observant we are much more likely to notice and be able to take advantage of these situations.
What magical moments have you experienced as a result of staying quiet, calm and centred?
Meditation is a deceptively powerful technique which can be used to calm both the mind and the body since they are so intrinsically linked.
It is increasingly being used in schools, prisons, hospitals and in the corporate world to help people cope with the pressures of modern day life and become more calm and relaxed whatever happens around them.
With thanks to Jo Grant for the use of her photograph in this article.
Please note this blog is copyright (2017) and cannot be shared, stored or otherwise transmitted without the prior consent of the author Pamela Milne