Meditation to Create New Patterns

I’ve developed this practice based on my Hakomi psychotherapy training and years of mindfulness based yoga practice.

Bring your attention to where you are right now. Just notice how you’re sitting, bring your attention to your body sensations and breath. Really slow things down and relax into whatever is going on. You might notice your breathing, without trying to change it, just notice. Notice your mind; are there a lot of thoughts? Are there spaces between? Can you slow your thoughts down to notice pictures, images, specific memories?

Now notice your emotional tone. Just breathe it in and name the emotion that is alive in you right now. There are 5 main emotions; anger, sadness, joy, fear and disgust. Often there is a mix of emotion so name what feels most present.

Next, experience that emotion fully; immerse yourself in its nuances; where do feel it in your body, where does it begin and end? Is there anything familiar about it?

Next, can you find the underlying belief? What do you believe about yourself or the world. (Ex: I need to hide to feel safe.) Identify the belief that sums up the emotion.

Once you have this, Can you find a new experience? Recall a time where you have felt the compliment to this negative belief. Maybe with certain people I can show myself and feel safe. What’s that like? To feel safe while being yourself? Recall any small or large experience of this, maybe it’s just being out in nature that gives you this new experience. Notice how it feels in your body, what new sensations do you feel? Notice where it feels concentrated in one part of your body, and let it spread into all parts of your body. Notice your breath as you do this. Really let your breath flow in the way it wants as you take in what it’s like to have these new sensations.

If you feel discomfort or overwhelm, tap into a resource. Perhaps it’s a tree, animal or person that reminds you everything is ok. Imagine that resource with you, letting you know you are safe where you are.

To close this exercise, ask yourself, “What do I need to know or do to remember this new experience?” Perhaps it’s a word, a gesture, a breath, or something you can do daily like, eat slowly with awareness. Perhaps it’s a yoga pose.

Here is the simple breakdown of this exercise:

Notice what you are feeling in the present moment and what stands out.
Slow down the experience down by focusing on body sensations, breath, and images or symbols that express the mental activity.
Name an emotion you feel.
Experience this emotion fully and find if there’s a belief attached about yourself or about the world.
Create a new experience by finding the positive compliment to the belief.
Experience the body sensations and new belief of this new experience and see if there’s an image, word, gesture or yoga pose that will remind you of this new experience.
The more you practice, the more you will be able to listen to the body’s intelligence and gain freedom in your life. It can only take a few minutes, a few times a day to make lasting changes. Consistency is the best remedy.

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