Overview Week 1This weeks focus was on the breathing body using body scans to get a sense of the breath moving in the body.
I’ve known of both primary and secondary experiences of pain after reading vidayamalas book. Being aware of these allows us to gently begin to separate our pain from the emotions and thoughts that follow. If we think of primary suffering being the physical pain/discomfort and secondary is the thoughts and feelings that come after the pain, during meditation we can notice our responses. In my case often there is a strong sense of failure and frustration, just noticing this is a step forward to lessening the secondary suffering, which is a key part of the breath works course.
Overview week 2
This week’s focus is on the breathing anchor, a meditation to ease and dwell within the breath, spreading further awareness into the body.
Following into week 2 the discussion was about doing and being modes. I’ve learned that I spend a great deal of time in doing mode, including striving, resisting, analyzing, daydreaming and comparing. Becoming more in being mode offers a greater sense of living for me, a sense of being in the moment. Relaxing into sensations of touch, hearing, and smells. The aim is not to always be in being mode it’s about catching our habits, thoughts and being aware of our sensory responses. In my experience living with illness and pain often I lean towards being in a higher state of being mode
My experience with the breathing anchor practises focused around thoughts and body experience. I used a new technique of approaching thoughts and bringing a kindly awareness(see tip 1)
I’ve noticed a softening and a stronger sense of self-kindness. It has been a while since I’ve felt self-kindness towards myself, by just softening towards my thoughts and gently letting them go make a huge difference to my mindful experience.
Tips For Overcoming Common Difficulties
Using a gentle, kind approach to thoughts, as a thought appears to imagine saying ‘hello’ and let it drift away saying goodbye. Frustration is a normal response to thoughts just gently allow them to be.
During mediation it can be easy to force the breath, I’ve found it calming to focus on the breath in my lower back. Or to ground the body or feet by feeling the body’s contact against the surface.
If the pain appears: approach, notice your response. Continue by saying hello and acknowledging its presence and gently let it aside.
When the pain is too much, bring your focus to a safe point this could be the breath, or external stimuli, such as a stone. I use a crystal for comfort.
Each time you notice you have drifted into doing modes come back to the five senses or ground your feet on the floor.
These tips are a combination of tutor advice (breathwork), other participants and what is working for me.