Nine months in....
In April 2020 I started offering a simple weekly online audio only guided meditation with the intention of supporting a settling of our individual and collective nervous system, and resourcing ourselves more consciously through our connection to the energetic field of presence.
More than nine months later we are still gathering each Monday at 7pm UK time and for some of us the sessions have become a regular source of strength and connection.
The following offers some context and reflections that have arisen through the experience of this offering; and an invitation for anyone who would like to join to know that they would be very welcome.
The power of simple repeat
The sessions are purposefully kept simple and repetitive. They are guided throughout, with some pauses to deepen into a particular focus.
Returning to the same practice offers a profound opportunity to deepen awareness of the ways we resist, hold on and demand things to be different to how they actually are. As we become more aware of these, an opportunity arises to soften and loosen around habitual patterns.
Simplifying our practice to anchoring ourselves in our breath, body and energy field offers little stimulation for the mind, thus supporting our attention to re-orientate away from our thoughts ~ be they creative or repetitive, so that we can land more deeply in something of the present moment.
Resting in and as our nature.
These would have just been nice words to me ten years ago, an invitation that may have passed me by or at best landed as a concept to strive for. At that point, my meditation practice was one of strong effort, a fair bit of striving for stillness and many many moments of full identification with whatever was passing through my mind.
My first meditation practice of Vipassana gifted me with strong training in concentration, which was important for someone like me who had developed strong identity with mind. Concentration practices excel in re-orienting attention away from thinking; they slowly create more spaciousness around compulsive mental habits by repeatedly pointing one's awareness to an alternative focus such as breath and body sensation.
Moving towards a practice that is centred around resting as nature, as awareness, as being (fill in your preferred word), has been a gradual process that continues to deepen as my nervous system becomes more and more regulated. I remember starting to notice qualities of presence in others, a close friend who had done a lot of energy work, people who led meditation enquiry circles and then teachers online. These qualities of presence were varied in flavour but always within the broad brush strokes of ease, calm, spaciousness, warmth, joy and clarity. I was then lucky enough to find a teacher who both embodied a strong field of alive and warm presence, and who has also repeatedly guided me back to a softness in my attention, a gentleness in my receiving of my experience, and full permission to relax, trust and enjoy my nature.
This doesn't mean that I don't experience pain, difficult feelings or strong thought patterns anymore. It doesn't mean that I don't fall into striving sometimes. But what it does mean is that when I sit with my experience, there is a connection to something, or awareness of something of the energetic field, a presence that expands beyond the physicality of my body, that permeates my body and that feels warm, supportive and very non-demanding. Simply put, a quality of being that my nervous system recognises as benign and safe and therefore starts to settle, relax and open into.
Meditation and trauma
Trauma is a reality for all of us. Some of us carry huge personal wounding from this lifetime, others are more directly impacted by the collective trauma of living in a world that is built on the untruths of separation and disconnection from nature, and the unfairness of inequality and systemic oppression.
It is healthy and appropriate to have some caution towards meditation in relation to our trauma as meditation is a powerful practice and can touch into places of instability and overwhelm in us. In my journey of offering meditation I hold a healthy concern in relation to this and am committed to ongoing study, training and conscientious practice. From January I am taking a six month training with David Treleaven into trauma sensitive meditation to support my existing work and the creation of some more bespoke offerings that will come out later next year.
The foundational invitation of Deepening Into Being Together is to trust your own experience above and beyond anything else, to follow what feels right for you, and to commit to self kindness and honesty in your practice. The sessions are kept simple and always rooted in connection to simple anchors like the hands or breath. It is my hope that this foundation along with the gentle and supportive guidance creates a safe space within which people can explore what feels right and helpful for them.
Deepening Into Being Together is an audio only offering which may also help people to feel safer and more contained in their own space. There is the option of sharing your experience through a chat feature and simultaneously you are so welcome to be with us whilst keeping full anonymity.
Joining Deepening Into Being Together sessions
You are so welcome come along to one of the weekly sits; either as a one off, an occasional drop in or to attend regularly
To sign up for email notifications you can go here
If you would like to listen to a recording of a previous session you can do so here
Thanks so much for reading this blog ~ if you have any questions or reflections I'd love to hear them and you can email me at email@example.com