Guided Meditation 4
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
We have been exploring how to use meditation to deal with anxiety. This is our 4th meditation on this subject. Each meditation builds on the last and introduces a new skill, so if you are interested but haven’t done any of the previous meditations they will make more sense if you return to the beginning and work your way through. Each meditation is about 10 minutes long, so pretty easy to fit into a busy schedule. You can access them all through these blogs or by clicking on the link “meditations” on the top bar of my website homepage.
These meditations are an aid. They don’t replace professional help. If you are following along with these meditations - having a go at each daily for a week before moving on - and noticing no improvement or finding sitting in stillness with your thoughts to be particularly distressing you may need to seek professional support to explore what narrative is feeding that anxiety.
We tend to identify different feelings as part of who we are rather than viewing them as passing phenomena in the mind. This can make us feel like we are standing in the middle of a violent storm, getting tossed around and buffeted. Meditation is a skill that helps us to take a step back viewing this inner mental maelstrom as though we are looking at a raging storm from a bit more distance - through a window.
We have been practicing “noting.” Becoming still, anchoring ourselves to the present with a focus on the breath and observing ourselves with curiosity, looking at what takes our attention away from the breath and lightly assessing:
1. Are they thoughts, feelings, or sensations?
2. Are they set in the past, future or present?
This week we add a third layer of noting:
3. Are they pleasant, unpleasant or neutral? If you feel an emotion, can you name it?
Remember, we are noticing these passing thoughts, feelings and sensations without getting completely wrapped up in their story. Filing them away in an imagined filing cabinet in our head or whatever visualization works for you, and then returning to the breath - like doing a stock-take of the mind. Each time you practice you may like to journal your experience to see trends in your inner world, or to watch how your inner and outer world changes over time.