It is a grey and overcast day in Sussex. I am outside with the horses and the birds are singing. In the background I can hear slurp slurp slurp as Dainty goes to work on the salt lick. Squirrel is led down in front of me, quiet, dozing, in a state that feels meditative. It smells earthy out here, and I can taste the peppermint tea I have not long finished drinking.
Dainty loves to get involved!
Those of you quick enough to notice, will have clocked I just described what each of my senses is experiencing; what I can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Such a technique is the mainstay of many a good novel, but it is also a portal to being mindfully conscious. This is a simple technique we can employ any time to calm ourselves and bring us "back to our senses". I invite you to take a moment, wherever you are, to slow down and connect in with:
something you can see that you weren't noticing before
something you can hear that you previously weren't conscious of
something you can feel that previously you were tuning out
what it smells like where you are right now
what are your taste buds experiencing - even if you have long ago stopped eating.
Now notice how you are feeling.
Such an exercise is a classic mindfulness exercise and is great for bringing our conscious thinking into alignment with the data our unconscious brain is being fed. To mentally be in the same place as where our body is reduces conflict between the data of where we are, and the imaginary world we might be experiencing in our thoughts. It's also the basis behind the advice:
Be where you are.
When I do this exercise, I find myself being on some level connected to my awareness of everything, and yet also experiencing nothing, all at once. This is our true state. The observer and see-er of life. None of that observing requires any kind of label in truth, just a knowing it is there, it is happening. This is true consciousness, and it is easier to attain than many think. What isn't so easy is staying there! We tend to drift off into thought, imagination, fantasy, judgement, problem solving, fixing and pushing away. It's not that those responses aren't valid, it's just we tend to over indulge and do them all far more than necessary. We only need to problem solve once when the time calls for it, not hundreds of times in our head. Which is why we practise. We practice our meditation, we practice being consciously aware throughout our day and we practise being grounded and in connection with our body. Which is why I run practice sessions! Practise is so much more fun with friends! We meet every Monday, unless it is a Bank Holiday. We welcome anyone that has an established meditation practice and we play with a wide range of topics and techniques. Get in touch if you'd like to know more.