Staying Grounded through Difficulty

A practice for creating space so that we can bring our best selves to life's challenges.

Last class, we started to use the 3-minute breathing space practice in relation to something that’s a challenge for us in our lives. This class we’re going to dig into that a little more.

The responsive version of the practice requires that we purposely identify and turn toward a situation that has or carries with it a certain amount of difficulty for us. But what we’re doing is mobilizing our natural capacity to be grounded and present, no matter what shows up in our lives. As we all know from experience, encountering a difficulty in this manner is far different from feeling blindsided by it and relying on reactivity or reflexive behavior patterns to deal with the event. Or maybe we’ve noticed our tendency to avoid a certain event; maybe we see it, anticipate it, and find a way of sidestepping or suppressing it.

In a nutshell, this practice truly invites curiosity, and that’s a very useful approach when it comes to aversion.

As with all 3-minute breathing space practices, this responsive version operates with the same inner workings. We use contact with two different forms of attention: the open, receptive attention in Step 1, the narrower, focused, concentrated attention…

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About the author

Zindel Segal

Zindel Segal, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders at the University of Toronto – He has pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation for promoting wellness in the area of mood disorders and has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the past 15 years. An author of over 10 books and 140 scientific publications, including The Mindful Way Through Depression – a patient guide for achieving mood balance in everyday life – Dr. Segal continues to advocate for the relevance of mindfulness-based clinical care in psychiatry and mental health.