Last week I posted a nudge to find something that triggers you and to take a conscious breath around it in order to notice what you notice. This is to give you a direct, visceral experience of why “taking a breath” is such a common piece of advice, and also to give you a little training in your perception of subtle energy.
So what did you notice? When I do this with others the very first thing they usually perceive is that they are bigger than whatever it is they felt was consuming their attention. They begin to discern a difference between a calm, peaceful, light, spacious field and a flow of energy that feels comparatively disharmonious.
I like asking clients to regard the disharmonious flow and use words to describe their experience of it. “Heavy,” “sluggish,” “zig-zaggy,” “tightly-coiled,” or “jumbled” are common descriptors.
Once they have a grasp on that experience, I ask them to bring their awareness back the field of spaciousness so they can hold both the spaciousness and the disharmony at the same time. Aside from this being good practice managing your subtle senses, it is also a powerful neutralization of our tendency to judge everything as “good” or “”bad,” “better” or “worse.” With this exercise we are simply comparing two different flows of energy, both of which are equally interesting to a curious mind and open heart.
This is really what we are doing when we become present with ourselves as energetic beings. “Taking a breath” isn’t just about creating a pattern interruption and giving yourself a bit more time to make a decision. Mindfulness is not just about training the mind, but all the inner senses, including the heart and the gut.
Yes, I’m still dancing around the topic of the head/heart/gut. It’s just coming through in a different way than I expected. More to come, but again I’ll give you some space to experience this bit of the practice for yourselves.