The following meditation is led by Tara Brach, meditation teacher, psychologist and author.
So, we’ll begin the evening with a meditation. And if this is your first time, or you’re newish, the first place to pay attention is to your sitting posture. So as you settle yourself, you might close your eyes and then adjust your posture so that you come sitting upright. So there’s a quality of sitting tall. And sitting in a way that feels centered and balanced, in the way you might sense if your ___ balance by leaning maybe to the left a little, and then to the right, forward, backwards, and we kind of come centered now. You’ll feel that quality of gravity, feeling the kind of rootedness in the earth. And then like a tree, you’re rising up from the earth into the sky. And that feel at the top of the head, as if there’s a string that’s pulling upward a bit, so that the chin comes parallel to the ground.
Let the eyes be closed softly. And begin by taking a nice, full, conscious in-breath, nice deep, full in-breath. Feeling along as even a bit more than you might be used to. And with a slow out-breath, let the breath go out slowly enough that you can feel the sensations of letting go. That’s it. And then again, a nice deep, full in-breath. And a slow out-breath, letting go, letting go. And one more time. Inhale deeply. And then the out-breath, feel the sensations of releasing, letting go. Allow the in-breath to occur naturally. Letting the whole cycle of the breath, ___ in a rhythmic way, in a natural way. And just notice the quality of the presence that’s here. If you sense the contrast of kind of maybe where you were, and right now, a little more fully inhabiting the present moment.
And then bring a gentle attention to the heart area and notice the state of your heart right now. Maybe in a physical way where there’s toughness and a sense of openness, solidity or ___, flowing or stuck, believing that there’s a mood there without any judgment. Just to detect it. Just to notice. What’s the mood?
If you deepen that inner listening, you can begin to inquire as to what your intention is for coming here tonight. Your intention for the evening. And listen for what feels more sincere. What do you sense your heart really longs for? The more we’re remembering what matters to us, what’s most important, the more we’re really living from our depths. So sensing your prayer, your intention, will bring our voices together opening as ___ community with a simple chant of ___. This mantra of connectedness, oneness. And you might bring the palms together at the heart as a way of really connecting with that heart energy as you chant. And to three… three rounds.
We begin by inhaling deeply.
Resting the hands again. In your lap or your legs. Return your attention in a simple way to this body posture. To this sitting here. So you’re aware of the sensations of sitting.
Let’s scan through the body and just notice if there are areas of particular tightness or tension. Letting your awareness go whenever you notice tension and see if you can float, or untangle a little, soften some in that awareness.
And in some particular areas that you can consciously soften, it can really help open up energy and flow in the body. One area is the region of the eyes to soften the eyes, to let the brow be smoothed. Perhaps, imagine a smile spreading through the eyes, the corners of the eyes, a bit up. Then there’s a sense of receptivity. You might notice the flicker of light and dark. And more sensations open up in that region of the eyes.
Relaxing the mouth. You might again sense a slight smile at the mouth. Even in the inside of the mouth. Relaxing the tongue, and in particular, the root of the tongue. Letting the tongue rest in the lower palette of the jaw, jaw unhinged. And begin to sense the aliveness of the sensations in the mouth. And then imagine and sense the throat, feeling the neck. Begin, just let your awareness inhabit that area. Aware of the play of sensation. Allowing the shoulders to fall away from the next sound, relaxing back and down. And see if you can feel the shoulders from the inside-out. Again, softening, and opening to the play of sensation. Can you feel some movement? Some flow? Some tingling? Some vibrating?
Can your awareness feel your hands? Making sure the hands are resting in a ___ easy, effortless way. Softening the hands. And then feeling from the inside out. If you bring a very intimate attention to the hands, perhaps, you can notice again this dance of sensation. Tingling and vibrating. Places with pressure, pulsing, warmth, cool.
Just as a cup that can be filled with water, this body can be filled with awareness. Waking us up to the aliveness that’s here. Notice what happens when you let awareness feel the chest when you become aware of that. And the chest, from the inside-out, the heart.
Relax the tensions. Just noticing the experience of sensations of the energy there. Bringing the awareness into the belly, the navel area. Letting this next breath be received in the softening belly. This breath. And now this one, softening, receiving. And again. Softening, and receiving.
Letting the awareness fill the belly, noticing from the inside-out. What’s it like? Can you feel the movement of sensation of energy? Can you ___ the attention deep into the torso, letting the awareness feel the pelvic region. Again, a relaxed attention, receptive, closed in, noticing the movement of the energy, the aliveness that’s here.
You’re letting this awareness scan down to the legs, feeling sensations in the legs, right into the feet. Placing the awareness in the feet, feeling the aliveness there.
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