Group on 5th May 2016

We began with a practice where we combined mindful walking in the grounds (a lovely day) with a concentration-type 'Taking in the Good' practice (see Rick Hanson's 'Just One Thing') - a mix of traditional and neurobiologically - inspired practice. It's useful to come back to walking as a practice, not necessarily to treat it as a formal practice, but always useful to ground and reconnect literally with where we are in time and space. By deliberately focusing for 10, 20 or 30 seconds on the good moments & experiences in our life, we are helping to incline our brains and minds towards the positive (see Hanson for more information and ideas). 

Following enquiry from the above practice, we had further discussion around the value of flexibility of practice and the different routes to self-compassion.

There was a selection of poems taken from the anthology 'Being Alive' edited by Neil Astley:-

'The Gift' by William Stafford

'The Mower' by Philip Larkin

'The Bright Field' by R. S. Thomas 

We finished with a short closing practice.

 

Group on 7th April 2016

We started the session with a 'Mindfulness with thoughts' practice, working with expanding our minds around our thinking and creating a spaciousness to open up our minds that can so easily contract around our thoughts in ruminative cycles. Followed by enquiry. Discussion followed around practice, the 'habit' of self-criticism and self disparagement; feeling emotion in the body as a first step to letting go; deliberately slowing down our mental processes - aka thinking!  Finishing with a short practice with 'whatever crops up', practicing 'opening up the space' around out mental and  physical processes and experiences.   

Rumi (1)

You wander from room to room Hunting for the diamond necklace   That is already around your neck      - Rumi

Emily Dickinson (1)

"To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations..."  Emily Dickinson.  

Group on 4th March 2016

We shared a 'Compassionate Breathing' practice based on a meditation from Christopher Germer's website mindfulselfcompassion.org (free downloads). Followed by enquiry. Discussion followed around Loving-Kindness meditation and some of the suggested practices (again see mindfulselfcompassion.org for downloads) which some have been using over previous weeks. There are many, many variants and adaptations for Loving-Kindness and Compassion-based practices, and flexibility and gentleness in approach is encouraged as such practices can be challenging and difficult for some. We finished the session with a 'Waiting on yourself' practice - again adapted from Germer.