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Week 8 - Caring Moments

Let’s begin with a mindful centering practice to fully arrive to this space.

First, notice your body posture at this moment and begin to make adjustments to sit in an upright position that would allow you to pay attention fully in the next few moments.

You can let go of anything you may be holding. Bring your feet flat on the floor, back straight but not stiff, shoulders relaxed, facial muscles relaxed, and hands resting comfortably on your thighs or in your lap. Let your eyes gently close.

(pause)

To begin, let’s take a few deep breaths as an invitation to bring the mind and body together. Take a deep breath through your nose, and let the breath come out through your mouth. Let the exhalation be slow and long. Let’s do this two or three more times. Watch the body release as you exhale slow and long.

(pause)

Now let your breath move at its own pace and just pay attention to the flow of the breath in and out. Just notice the sensations of breathing.

(short pause)

First, let your awareness be attentive to your physical body and notice any sensations.

How is your body feeling right now?

(pause)

Now, let your awareness be attentive  to your mind and see what thoughts are there. When you notice a thought, just label it as “thinking”.

(short pause)

Then, begin to notice any emotions in the body and mind. When you notice any sensations, just label them as “feeling”.

Remember that whatever you notice, you can allow these sensations to be there without having to change them, push them away, or hold on to them. And when your mind wanders, just quietly bring yourself back.

Now in today’s practice we will be reflecting on moments in our daily life in which we felt cared for.  This can be as simple as someone smiling to us, or holding the door, or getting a nice text, social media response,  or email from a friend or family member. Or it can be something greater like support and care you may have received from a doctor or nurse if you were ill or injured.

Bring to mind now one such moment from either today or this past week.  Imagine this situation as if it were happening now. Reconnect with this sense of connection with this person who showed that they cared or gave you support.

(pause)

Relax into this experience of care and support, letting these sensations infuse your whole body and mind, like a tea bag steeping in hot water.  

If the mind wanders, let the pleasant memory of this caring moment, like a magnet, draw you back to it, to settle into the felt sense of it more and more.

(pause)

If you are having difficulty remembering or sustaining your attention on a caring moment with a person, another option is to call to mind a caring place where you feel at home, welcome, and relaxed.

Perhaps this place is your home, or a particular comfortable or cozy spot in your home. Or perhaps you feel at home in nature like in the woods or at the beach or in your grandmother’s house, or a place you have been to on vacation.

Bring this place to mind as vividly as possible, and allow your body and mind to settle into this space as if you were there right now. Allow these feelings of relaxation, peace, ease, and comfort infuse your body and mind.

(pause)

When you are ready, allow the image to fade, and simply let go into that feeling of care and deep acceptance, letting your heart and mind relax with a sense of openness, warmth, and deep acceptance, letting all be.  Take a moment to enjoy just being at ease, open and complete in this way.

(pause)

Now, let’s return to your breath and anchor your attention there again.

For a few moments, pay attention to the rise and fall of each breath and the feeling of the breath inside the body.

Let your mind rest in the natural cycle of your breath.

There is no need to do anything right now.

Just rest in the experience of your breath.

(pause)

To close our practice, let’s bring to mind a sense of gratitude. Take a moment to feel the sense of appreciation for all the times we have been cared for and supported in our life.  Reflect on the various people, places, and resources that supported us in large and small ways in the present and past.

(pause)

See if you can during the rest of your the day, begin to be more aware of small moments in which you receive care from either the people around you, the natural world, or physical spaces like your room, library, coffee shop, etc...

Now, slowly allow movement back into your fingers and toes, then into the whole body, stretching slowly, and then allow the eyes to open when you’re ready. Take your time.

 

Week 8 - Caring Moments
Collection The Art and Science of Human Flourishing - Fall 2017
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)