Find­ing still­ness

De­velop your aware­ness to find the still point at your cen­tre

Health & Fitness - - Contents -

De­velop your aware­ness to find the still point at your cen­tre.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a guar­an­teed way to re­duce stress, boost your men­tal and emo­tional well­be­ing and en­hance your in­ter­per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence – all at the same time?

The wheel of aware­ness med­i­ta­tion, de­vel­oped by neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist Dr Dan Siegel, does just that. It uses the sym­bol of a wheel – cen­tral hub, spokes and outer rim – to help you gain in­sight into who you are and what mat­ters most to you. It’s quite a de­tailed med­i­ta­tion, but prac­tised reg­u­larly, can bring a deep sense of peace and pur­pose to your life.

Be­gin by clos­ing your eyes and be­com­ing aware of your breath, then draw your at­ten­tion in­wards. Af­ter a few mo­ments, di­rect your aware­ness out to the rim of an imag­ined wheel. Di­vided into four quar­ters, each sec­tion of the rim rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent ele­ment of con­scious ex­pe­ri­ence – sen­sory aware­ness, phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion, in­tro­spec­tion and con­nec­tion.

MAK­ING SENSE

The first quad­rant re­lates to how you draw the out­side world in, via your five senses. From your cen­tre, imag­ine ex­tend­ing a spoke out to the rim of the wheel and al­low your at­ten­tion to rest on the sense of hear­ing – the sounds in the room, the build­ing and out­side the build­ing. Let them fill your ex­pe­ri­ence, then imag­ine mov­ing the spoke to the sense of sight. With your eyes slightly open, give your com­plete at­ten­tion to what you see. Con­tinue in this way with taste, smell and touch, each time al­low­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence to fill the hub of your aware­ness. Take a deep breath in, let it go, then vi­su­alise mov­ing the spoke to the sec­ond quad­rant.

LOOK­ING INWARD

Now rest your at­ten­tion inside your body. Do a body scan by tak­ing your aware­ness to the whole of your body, at­tun­ing to your mus­cles, bones and or­gans, and notic­ing if you can sense any heat, cool­ness, move­ment or dif­fer­ence in den­sity. Finish by rest­ing your at­ten­tion on your heart, then take a deep breath, let go and move the spoke to the third quar­ter of the rim.

MIND MAT­TERS

Here you fo­cus on men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties – thoughts, mem­o­ries, be­liefs, im­ages, plans, feel­ings and de­sires. First, open your mind to what­ever comes for­ward, whether a thought, emo­tion or mem­ory, and no­tice how it feels. Next, bring your at­ten­tion to how a thought or feel­ing arises. Does it ap­pear sud­denly or slowly? Ob­serve how it feels while it’s present (Is it con­stant? Does it in­ten­sify?), then be aware of how it leaves your aware­ness (In­stantly? Im­me­di­ately re­placed by an­other thought?). If you can, be aware also of the space be­tween your thoughts. What does that feel like? Again, when you’re fin­ished, take a deep breath in, let go and move the spoke to the fi­nal quar­ter.

GET­TING CONNECTED

This sec­tion is about in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness, so spend some time re­flect­ing on and feel­ing the con­nec­tion you have with your fam­ily, friends and the com­mu­ni­ties you’re a part of (your neigh­bour­hood, work­place and clubs you at­tend). Next, ex­pand this aware­ness to in­clude your county, coun­try and even­tu­ally the en­tire globe. Fi­nally, ex­tend thoughts of lov­ing kind­ness both to your com­mu­ni­ties and yourself. Finish with a deep in­hale and ex­hale.

The wheel of aware­ness is a qui­etly pow­er­ful med­i­ta­tion and, as you prac­tise it over time, you’ll be­gin to deeply ap­pre­ci­ate that you are not your thoughts or your emo­tions, but the one who ob­serves them.

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