3 Guided Mindfulness Meditations

Heart Medicine

An Excerpt from Heart Medicine by Radhule Weininger

As we encounter difficulties, mindfulness is crucial: it allows us to be present, here and now, with nonjudgmental, moment-by-moment attention. Penetrating a LRPP [Long-standing, Recurrent, Painful Pattern] with mindfulness dissolves the LRPP’s power source and creates opportunity for profound change. The energy that has been trapped by our entanglement with a LRPP is released and transformed into awareness and wisdom.

The practice of mindfulness is a form of “awaring,” or applying moment-by-moment awareness with a nonjudgmental attitude to whatever we are experiencing in each instant. Awaring is the process-oriented verb form of awareness. By comparison, the field of awareness, out of which everything arises and falls back, can be seen as the noun form. Self-awareness is awaring or being mindful of ourselves and our inner experience, while meta-awareness extends our mindfulness to include our environment and the relationships with which we are engaged. With both the self-awareness and meta-awareness aspects of mindfulness, we are now able to address our LRPPs.

Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn how to be present and how to notice when we are not present, which usually means our mind is somewhere else—thinking, ruminating, or worrying about the future or the past. When we are mindful, we learn to let go of the habit of ongoing distraction through external stimuli. We contact an inner sense of balance and calm and begin to realize that it is possible to return to this refuge of steadiness, quietude, contentment, and ease. Body, breath, thoughts, and feelings become infused with the oxygen of awareness, and our LRPPs can no longer constellate in the same way. As we learn to observe the process of getting LRPPed as it unfolds, we become less reactive. Gradually, our ancient configurations dissolve and, over time, may even disappear.

Turning Our Gaze Inward 

When we feel out of balance, it may feel counterintuitive simply to sit still, be quiet, and look inward. Usually we try to distract ourselves with a pleasurable activity—anything that will take our mind off our painful feelings or difficulties. But mindfulness meditation is a courageous step toward focusing on what is going on inside. As we become aware of ourselves, we’ll notice how our body, mind, and heart feel. We always have a choice: either to run away from an unpleasant experience by distracting ourselves or to confront the truth of our experience by becoming mindfully present.

Contacting the Felt Sense of the Body

Bringing our attention to the felt sense means becoming aware of how particular physical sensations express what’s going on in our bodies, thoughts, and feelings. The following guided meditation can be helpful in attuning to the felt sense. Please read through all the steps first before going through them. Most of the practices in this and later steps are meditative in nature.

FEELING THE FELT SENSE PRACTICE

3–5 minutes 

  • Sit comfortably, turn your gaze inward, and become aware of your inner landscape.
  • What sensations are you aware of in your body? Stay with that feeling for a while.
  • Be aware of the sensations around your face. For example, perhaps there is tightness in your jaw or around your eyes. Stay with that feeling for a while.
  • Notice if there is tightness in your neck and shoulders, your belly, arms, or legs.
  • Begin to fill your whole body with awareness.
  • Become aware of each sensation with kind curiosity.
  • Whenever you notice you’ve become distracted, kindly lead yourself back to the sensations within your body.
  • Acknowledge yourself for having noticed that you were distracted and for your ability to return to your present experience.

Listen to the Guided Meditation

Coming into Relaxed Alertness

Being mindful of the physical sensations in our bodies helps us to connect with the present moment and brings us into relaxed alertness. When we sink beneath the turbulent waves of our thoughts, we can find an underlying sense of calm, peace, and relaxation. This felt sense of the present moment is often experienced as a refuge, a point of balance and ease. Learning to regularly drop into this awareness lowers our baseline level of agitation, anxiety, and stress.

To work toward relaxed alertness, follow this brief body scan exercise.

BEING IN THE NOW PRACTICE 

4 minutes 

  • Notice the felt sense of your body touching the chair, the cushion, the ground.
  • Notice the muscles in your face relaxing, the muscles around your eyes softening, your jaw dropping.
  • Feel your shoulders letting go and your arms and hands letting go of any tension they might be holding.
  • Now bring your attention to the center of your chest, your heart, and feel your breath flow ever so gently.
  • Be aware of rawness, ache, numbness, or vibration you might be feeling at the center of your chest.
  • As you feel your belly, you might notice it softening.
  • Sense the sensitive skin on the back of your body, guiding your attention very carefully, inch by inch, from your toes to your head.
  • Feel your buttocks touching the chair and supporting your trunk and the base of your spine.
  • Be aware of your arms, your legs, your entire body filling up with presence.
  • Feel your body as a whole, every inch of your body becoming alive and aware.
  • Then feel the surface and the inside of your entire body filled with consciousness and wakefulness.
  • Linger on this sensation while being fully aware of your whole body sensing itself deeply.
  • You have arrived in the NOW.

Listen to the Guided Meditation

Attuning to the Natural Breath

In learning to be mindful, it is helpful to attune to the subtle sensations of the natural breath. With very refined attention, we can contact the felt sense of its every movement. The natural breath is the uncontrived breath, the breath that is not controlled or managed in any way. Following the sensations and movements of breath moment by moment can lead to a deep state of concentration. The Buddha himself is said to have reached enlightenment through the practice of mindfulness of breathing. As we attune to our breath, our thinking mind calms down and relaxation naturally descends over us. We are learning to allow our body to be breathed and for breath to breathe us, letting our awareness and breath flow together in a relaxed and spontaneous way.

To practice mindfulness of breathing, please follow this guided meditation.

MINDFULNESS OF BREATHING PRACTICE

4 minutes 

  • Let yourself settle into the sensations of your body, sensing the touch points where your body meets the chair, cushion, or ground.
  • Feel the entirety of your body and allow it to be filled with consciousness and wakefulness.
  • From this field of body awareness, feel your breath arising naturally by following its sensations and movement.
  • Be aware of every instant of your body breathing, every moment of your in-breath and every moment of your out-breath.
  • Intensify your focus to every instant of breathing without getting tense, while remaining completely relaxed.
  • Without controlling or managing your breath, follow your natural breath. Surrender to your body being breathed, your breath breathing you.

Listen to the Guided Meditation

Share

Related Books

Heart Medicine

Taught by: Radhule Weininger

$18.95 - Paperback

Heartwork

Taught by: Radhule Weininger

$16.95 - Paperback

Triggers

Taught by: David Richo

$16.95 - Paperback

Healing through the Dark Emotions

Taught by: Miriam Greenspan

$22.95 - Paperback

Radhule WeiningerRADHULE WEININGER, MD, PHD, is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and meditation teacher. She leads weekly and monthly meditation groups in Santa Barbara and leads retreats in both the United States and internationally at La Casa de Maria Retreat Center, Spirit Rock, Insight LA, the Esalen Institute, the Garrison Institute, and she is the author of Heartwork: The Path of Self-Compassion.