June 2019 meeting - Insole Court

We had our first meeting at Insole Court, Llandaff. Given this was a new venue and experience, we began with a  short grounding practice, taking our seats and bringing awareness to our bodies, our breath, and the ground beneath us, coming to rest in the present. 

Our first main practice. We came 'back to basics' with a body scan drawn from Jeffrey Brantley and Wendy Millstine's 'Daily meditations for calming your anxious mind' (p 108 - 109) entitled 'your inner body: a mindfulness meditation fro connecting directly with your body'. This is a practice to use both formally and informally, to 'tune into' the body throughout the day. The introduction to the practice says, ' By developing your ability to quickly connect with the 'inner landscape" of your body, revealed in direct experience of changing physical sensations, moment by moment, you can help your mind and body relax and ease the effects of anxiety and fear.' There was an introductory reading from 'Full Catastrophe Living' (Kabat-Zinn) beginning, ' Wholeness and connectedness are what are most fundamental in our nature as living beings..' In this section the body scan is described as '... a door to the larger world, in that what we see in the workings of our body teaches us many lessons  that apply in other domains in our lives. What's more, our bodies usually require some healing. We all carry around at least some physical and psychological tension and armour. Our body has a lot to teach us about stress and pain, illness and health.' (p 162). 

The practice was followed by enquiry. The practice is perhaps more like a whole 'body sweep' than a systematic body scan - but with positive daily applications. Most of us seem to feel the need to return to a whole body practice of some sort from time to time - to remind us of what bodies go through, and are telling us, if we listen!

Other variants of the body scan can be found in many texts - including a concise one in Tessa Watt's 'Mindfulness - A Practical Guide'  (pp 61 - 63) and a breath-directed one from Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman's 'Mindfulness for Health' (pp 63 -68).

We had time for a second practice - once more returning to the familiar and grounding practice of the 'Mountain Meditation', this time taken from Watt (pp. 178 - 179). In this meditation we use the idea of into bringing the image or metaphor of the mountain into our own body - 'with your base rooted in the earth, and your peak rising skyward. Feel the strength, stability and unwavering quality of the mountain.' (Watt p179).

The session finished with a short closing practice, with the expressed intention of bringing practice into our daily lives.