I’m struggling to write this blog post about my mindfulness journey, although I’m not really sure why. But once I stop worrying about the quality of my writing and let the worry go, my thoughts begin to take shape. It is only then that I realise that the main insight I’ve gained this week is the power of letting go.
Since starting the programme, I’ve been carrying out the meditations at least once a day, many times twice. Every morning before I start work, I lay on my bed and listen to the guided meditation. I begin the routine of locating my left foot before bringing the next part of my body into awareness. I hold the sensations in my mind, before breathing out and letting that body part go. I imagine it dissolving, breaking up into a thousand little glittering pieces before disappearing into blackness.
Once, when focussing on my heart, an immense feeling of sadness sunk into my chest. As I breathed out and let my awareness go, the emotion lifted and dissolved. I don’t get this feeling again on subsequent practices, even though I’m aware there is probably more to release. We’re reminded in class that we shouldn’t have any expectations of achieving any particular state of mind or result. There is no right or wrong way to feel.The only requirement is a regular practice.
In addition to the meditations, we are asked to complete other exercises each week and record our thoughts, feelings and reactions to pleasant events. As we share our experiences in class, someone talks about hearing birdsong outside their window while doing the body scan. Other’s share the pleasure of the sun warming their face, something I also took pleasure in this week. You quickly find that you can take pleasure in the small things and importantly, allow yourself to enjoy that moment, without sabotaging it with worries or concerns.
It isn’t all birdsong and sunshine, I still get stressed, angry or demotivated by external events, but I find it slightly easier to let the emotion go. The biggest benefit I’ve noticed is that my low-level anxiety has started to reduce. I am also aware that stopping the practice would quickly bring this anxiety back. Externally, the changes are subtle. While my partner has remarked on my slight increase in calmness and reduction in anxiety, internally the change feels quite large. Maybe, because we tend to judge ourselves too negatively, even small changes in mindset will probably feel quite large.