My journey begins in an unexpected place. I wonder where yours begins...
It started at an advertising technology startup, running out of a converted sushi restaurant... A group of bright young minds gathered in the old kitchen-turned-conference room for an early meeting of the new Mindfulness Club. Many of us didn't really know what we were there for and some were surely just looking to get a few mid-morning minutes away from their desks and computer screens. But what happened - at least for me - in that dingy old kitchen was truly life changing.
I had tried meditating before and like many others, had found very little success or benefit in spending a few minutes sitting uncomfortably and trying to not think. Turns out that trying to start a meditation practice as a 21st-century-Western-sales-professional by sitting down and turning your mind off is basically akin to trying to learn to ride a bike by dropping in to RedBull Rampage.
The Mindfulness Club is where I first began to understand what this whole meditation thing was about.
So what was different?
While our space was much less fancy than this, here's a decent representation of where it all began for me.
The head of the Mindfulness Club had downloaded an app on his phone which lead us through very simple, short mindfulness practices. We'd all gather around the table in mismatched office chairs (some of questionable structural integrity), he'd choose a recording, say "ok, ready?" and press play.
Through these short and simple guided practices, completed every day in that back room, I was introduced to the essential experiences of mindful breathing, body scanning, and becoming "The Observer."
Let's take a quick look at each of these practices and why they were so transformational:
To me, this is the foundation of a mindfulness or meditation practice. It all starts with the breath. For most of us, it's effectively impossible to control the mind, stop the flow of thoughts, or even really focus it in any real way without something else to turn our attention toward.
Luckily for all of us, there's a built in process which happens automatically and is extremely easy for us to notice... Breathing!
Try it with me now. Close your eyes and breathe. Not in any specific way, just keep breathing. Now pay attention to your breath. Where do you feel it? Can you feel your chest rise and fall? The air moving in and out of your nostrils, or further back in your sinus cavity? Just sit and pay attention to the sensations of breathing for a few moments...
Congratulations, you just practiced mindful meditation! And while the practice of mindful breathing can go much further and deeper than this, noticing your breath is the foundational practice that anyone can easily start with.
Another key foundational practice I learned at Mindfulness Club is how to do a body scan. It's quite simple really.
Start by taking a few deep breaths and beginning to notice your breathing. This begins to drop your attention and awareness from the mind into the body.
Now imagine yourself in one of those sci-fi medical devices where it scans your body from top to bottom or bottom to top.
Create a line that intersects your body and as you move it up or down, pay close attention to how your body feels at that location. Without judging any sensation as bad or good, just noticing what is there. "my ears feel cold", "my jaw is clenched", "My upper back is warm", "I feel the softness of my sweater on my arms", etc.
Body scanning is a very useful practice that we go deeply into in my Soul Connection Guidance sessions.
This is more of an experiential concept, so I'll keep it brief and we can talk about it more later. The Coles Notes version is this: If I can pay attention to my thoughts, then there must be some kind of awareness that lies beyond - is separate from - my thoughts. If there's an awareness that is independent of my thoughts, then I can learn to rest in that awareness to begin understanding my thought processes and how they work. As I work with this new perspective, I also start to realise that a lot of what goes on in my mind is effectively based in conditioned beliefs and learned thought/behaviour patterns. That means many of these thoughts which have been happening unconsciously up until this point are not only not mine (they've been impressed onto me by my culture, upbringing, previous experiences, etc.,) but often times they're not real.
This is where the process of reverse-engineering my conditioned beliefs and thought/behaviour patterns begins. I must become aware of the patterns and how they play out - usually leading to some emotional reaction - in order to start unravelling them and giving myself the incredible gift of choice in how I respond to my world rather than mindlessly reacting to it.
Walking the path home
The journey home to wholeness can begin in myriad ways and often in the most unexpected places or times in our lives. Energy is independent of time and space which means that while we're each on our own unique journey along our own unique path, we can choose to walk together regardless of where we are on our path and how long we've been intentionally walking it.
My purpose here is to act as a guide and way-shower. I can't walk your path with you, but I am skilled at how to walk and how to pay attention to the signs and the map as it unfolds with us.
I'd be honoured to walk alongside you on your journey home.
Ready to experience these perspectives and more for yourself?
Ready to start or continue your journey home?
On your way home and looking for help navigating the challenges along the way?
Submit an application at the bottom of my page here.
We'll start with a simple, no commitment discovery call and see what unfolds.
Until then, may you know happiness, health, and Love.