Settling the mind

Kristine Claghorn


 NOTE: This transcript may have been automatically generated using software and, as such, may not be completely accurate.

Welcome to this practice of settling the mind. Here, we’ll be settling our attention around a specific anchor. Using an anchor is the basic foundation of mindfulness practice for calming and settling the mind. We use an anchor as a way of studying our attention and remaining present.

Begin by finding a comfortable upright position. You can practice in any position that allows you to feel supported and at ease while also staying alert and awake. I invite you to close your eyes or gently cast your gaze downward. First, we’ll explore the different types of anchors and find what works best for you. You should feel a sense of ease and comfort with your anchor.

You may choose to anchor yourself in your breath, or you may decide to focus on the sensations of the body. You may also choose to connect with the experience of sound. You will be free to choose the anchor that is most supportive for you.

First, we’ll begin by opening your awareness to the experience of hearing. Notice the sounds and the space around you. Perhaps notice the sounds you can hear outside. See if you can connect with the simple experience of hearing and noticing these sounds without searching for the story or meaning behind what you’re hearing. Notice how sounds come and go, and notice the space between them. Rest your attention simply on listening with awareness for the next minute or so.

If you notice your mind has wandered, I invite you to gently bring your mind back to the present experience of hearing. When you bring your mind back to your anchor, do so without judgment or criticism. Thoughts coming and going is a normal human experience. Allow thoughts to come and go without needing to get involved, fix, or change them. Simply return back to your anchor.

I invite you now to shift your attention to the body with the same quality of awareness. Notice how it feels to be sitting in the position you are in right now. Perhaps you may notice the sensation of heaviness or pressure where your body meets the chair cushion or floor. Perhaps you feel the warmth of your hands resting in your lap or the stability of the floor beneath your feet. What is it like to rest your attention with these steady sensations of contact? You might check to see if there are any places in your body where you’re holding any tension or tightness. Becoming aware of those sensations, allow them to soften. [Music] Take a few moments to continue to feel the sensations of the body, noticing the contact of your body with the chair cushion or the floor as your anchor. You may also notice the warmth of your hands in your lap or your feet on the floor. Rest your attention here for the next minute or so.

If you notice your mind has wandered, I invite you to gently bring your mind back to the sensations in the body.

As we sit quietly, I invite you to shift your attention to your breath, noticing the sensations of breathing in and breathing out. Lightly rest your attention where you can feel the movement of the breath clearly. You may feel the breath at the tip of your nostrils and the rise and fall of your chest, or the movement of your abdomen expanding and softening. You may notice the feeling of the breath entering your nose and throat. As you breathe in, feel the sensations of breathing in. As you breathe out, feel the sensations of breathing out. We will be anchoring with the breath for the next minute or so.

If you notice your mind has wandered, I invite you to gently bring your mind back to the anchor of your choice, whether that’s hearing with awareness, noticing the sensations of the body, or bringing your attention to the breath. Bring a sense of kindness and warmth to yourself for using this as an opportunity to gently let go and begin again with your anchor for the next minute or two.

As our practice draws to a close, you may start to gently wiggle your fingers and your toes, allowing your eyes to open softly at your own pace. Let your heart be touched by this feeling of connection and awareness.

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