In this practice, we will be connecting ideas and thoughts with bodily sensations. I’ll walk you through all of it. Follow along and do what works for you.
A Meditation to Nurture a Felt Sense of Gratitude
A 12-Minute Meditation to Nurture a Felt Sense of Gratitude
- Choose a posture that’s comfortable for you: standing, sitting, or lying down. If you want to close your eyes, you can. Know that at any point, if you feel uncomfortable, you can always open them. If you are standing, sometimes closing your eyes can make you a little wobbly, so you can open them, adjust, and close them again.
- Before we begin, take a nice big inhale. So inhale…and exhale. In this practice, we will be connecting ideas and thoughts with bodily sensations. I’ll walk you through all of it. Follow along and do what works for you.
- Begin by noticing the length of your body. Just noticing the entire length of your body, from your feet all the way up to the top of your head. And bring to mind this idea of length, but also this idea of strength and pride. Feel yourself, standing tall or lengthening long, and connect with the sensation of your feet all the way up to the top of your head, so the entire length of your body is connected with the idea of strength and pride and length.
- Now we’ll move to the back of our body. See if you can imagine what the back of your body looks like—the back of your head, your back, your seat, the back of your feet—and connect that with the idea of the past. Everything that’s behind you, your entire past, is connected with the backs of your shoulder blades, your seat. Maybe you can notice the space in between your shirt and your body, or the space in between your shoulder blades. Just bring to mind the back of your body, and connect it with the past.
- Next, we move to the sides of our body. See if you can imagine the sides of your body from shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, outside edges of your feet, maybe ear to ear. Think of that as connecting with the outside world, connecting with community. Even raise your arms up and see if you can create a little circle around yourself. Connect the sides of your body with this idea of protecting yourself, so you can create boundaries. But also, if you can, open up and reach your arms really wide, reaching out to your community, to those around you. Notice how you can reach really far and feel connected with those around you, but also create the safety of boundaries, connecting with the sides of your body, your shoulders, your hips, the outside of your feet.
- Take a moment to continue connecting with community by sending thoughts of love and kindness and gratitude toward others. Bring to mind someone or something, maybe a pet, that you have an uncomplicated relationship with, who you feel safe with. As you bring to mind someone who creates safety or something that creates safety, imagine sending these words to them: May you feel love and kindness. May you feel safe and secure. May you feel healthy and strong.
- And now, broaden those kind thoughts to your inner circle or your local community or neighborhood. Bringing to mind your community, send thoughts of love and gratitude: May you feel love and kindness. Imagining. All those people. May you feel safe and secure.
- Continue opening your arms and your circle of love and gratitude. Broadening your arms even more, maybe continuing it out to your nation, to your continent. Imagine all the people and beings on your continent, and then even further out, to the entire world: May you all feel love and kindness. May everyone, every being, every animal feel safe and secure. May you all feel healthy and strong.
- And now, bring your arms in closer to your body. Making that circle smaller and smaller, you can come back to our neighborhood, your community, all the way back to that first person or animal that makes you feel safe and secure. Connect with the outside of your body, the outside of your feet, your hips and shoulders.
- Bring your focus now to your internal world. What’s occurring inside of your body? Notice your heartbeat, your stomach digesting, your lungs as you inhale and exhale. Connect that with the idea of present-moment awareness. What’s occurring right now, in this moment? Your breath. Your heartbeat. And also yourself, connecting your awareness with all that you are. Take a moment to send yourself gratitude and love and kindness. If it’s available to you, put your hands over your heart.
- Think to yourself as you’re standing here in this present moment: May I feel love and kindness. May I feel safe and secure. May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy. Place your hands by your side, and move from the internal once again to the external. From the front of your body, the tips of your toes to your belly, to the outside of your chest, the outside of your shoulders, your face. Connect the front of your body with the idea of forward movement, and with the idea of all that is before you.
- Picture your entire body, connecting all the parts. The front of your body, the sides of your body, the back of your body, internal head to toe. Bringing it all into one thought, one image, and take a moment to send yourself some gratitude. You might say to yourself, Great job. Great job for practicing today. Maybe even put your hands over your heart again and saying, Thank you.
- Place your arms by your side, and then if you can, as you inhale, reach your arms up really high, all the way up. As you exhale, lower your arms. If your eyes were closed, you can open them. Just take a moment to look around and take in the colors, the sights, maybe even the sounds.
- Get curious about what you feel right now. What is the quality you feel right now? And then as you close this practice, give yourself one final moment of gratitude, saying to yourself, Thank you. Great job.
When it comes to building the habit of meditation, questions about how much to practice (and how to stick with it over time) may leave you shrugging your shoulders instead of relaxing them. Here are four strategies to help you build a practice that works for you. Read More