Coming to our senses
ARE YOU READY TO TRY? IF SO, YOU CAN FOLLOW THE STEPS OF THIS BRIEF MEDITATION, WHICH INVITES YOU TO CONNECT TO YOUR SENSES WHILE STANDING OR SITTING STILL.
1. PICK A PLACE
Find a place to meditate, the only criteria being that you should make sure it's a place where you won't be interrupted in the next few minutes. You can meditate at your office in a meeting room, at home, or anywhere if you are traveling. It can be indoors or outdoors. It could even be right here and now, as you're reading this article, in this very chair.
3. LOOK AROUND YOU
Now take a few moments to connect to your visual perceptions. With a childlike curiosity, look around you. You can move your head slowly. It doesn't matter if the place you're in is very familiar, or completely new to you. Simply look at it as if it were the first time you discovered it. Look for the shapes, the colors, the light, the textures… If any mental comment comes up in your mind (“this is a car”, or “I don't like this color”), just notice it and let it go to come back to your direct perception of reality.
6. WATCH YOUR INNER WORLD 4. LISTEN
You can decide to be standing or sitting. Whatever your choice, adopt a comfortable position where you feel both uplifted and relaxed. Try to have an upright position as this helps heightening your attention to your environment. Take a couple of minutes to feel this posture in your body. Feel the force of gravity in each of your cells, and the contact points between your feet and the floor, and your legs and the chair. Allow yourself to feel grounded and centered. Then, as you would direct the beam of a flashlight from one direction to another, redirect your attention to your sense of hearing. If you feel like it, you can close your eyes for a few seconds. Extend your awareness all around you – 360 degrees. Try to be open to each new sound, without trying to retain any. Pay attention also to the silence in-between the sounds. What quality does it have? Sooner or later, some thoughts will arise in your mind – and maybe some emotions as well. This is perfectly fine and natural: the mind generates thoughts and emotions and the goal of meditation is not to get rid of them. On the contrary, include them in the field of your awareness: they are part of your experience in the same way as all of your other perceptions. Do not reject them, but also try not to get completely absorbed in them. Simply let them pass through your consciousness like clouds in a bright blue sky. If you lose contact with the present moment, simply acknowledge it and come back to your perceptions.
2. STAND OR SIT STILL AND GROUND YOURSELF 5. FEEL
MEDITATE ONLINE OR ON YOUR MOBILE WITH PETIT BAMBOU
Now you can include your other senses in this sustained awareness of your perceptions. Feel the contact of your clothes on your skin, the temperature and the movements of the air caressing your skin. Notice if you can smell or taste anything. Feel the sensation of your breath as it comes in and out of your body. To close the session, just notice how you feel. Do you feel relaxed and open? Or drowsy? Jittery? Whatever it is, that's fine: remember that the practice aims at bringing us back to what is already there, not to produce any special kind of feeling or mindset. The benefits of the practice flow naturally from this acceptance of the present moment.
If you wish to go further with meditation, mindfulness apps are a great way to start a meditation practice. The Petit Bambou app is the leader in continental Europe and provides some free meditations, as well as dozens of programs to dive deeper into specific applications of the practice.