Yesterday I went to a meditation workshop held by Sandy Newbigging, the focus was the concepts held within his new book ‘Body Calm’ which struck a chord with me because that’s exactly what I’m working on in my own life right now… Calming my body and optimising my mind-body connection!
I scribbled lots of notes in my notebook as the day went on and so wanted to extract some of the key points here, in part so that I can reflect on them and better utilise them in my own life and work, but also so that you may be able to benefit from his teaching too. The notes below are more like a series of bullet pointed concepts, some ideas to sit with and mull over. Hopefully one or two may help create curiosity and mind shifts for you in your own life.
I had already bought his new book Body Calm as a previous event a few weeks ago, and so for the purpose of this blog post I got a cheesy selfie… yay! :-)
Our bodies are not against us- they our teachers sending us messages. Once we acknowledge this, it is a hugely power and powerful mindset!
‘Rest is best and harmony heals’. Stress is the result of there being disharmony within your mind body soul and life. Central to Body Calm is the invitation to rest in your conscious awareness.
Body Calm begins with mind calm, and mind calm begins with knowing who you really are. Your ‘Self’. The mind is temporary and constantly changing, if we focus on this we run into problems. Our awareness is the unchanging part. Our Self
Problems come when we are ‘feeling our thinking’, external factors don’t cause a negative feelings. Our own relationship to those feelings does.
Peace is not the absence of emotion- peace can exist with any emotion through our awareness of Self. Here co-existence of peace and emotion is always possible regardless of the emotion we are experiencing. When we are suffering, we have dropped ‘into’ the emotion and have left the state of ‘observing’ the emotion.
I personally love that point above! The awareness (Self) is only ever in the NOW, all thoughts of past and future can never be present.
You have the initial reaction then typically you have the ‘dwelling’- it’s the dwelling that causes the stress and the suffering and that’s what we want to reduce. Regardless of the gravity of the emotion itself, when it’s happening in the now it doesn’t cause stress, it simply is ‘happening’.
GAAW0 = gently alert awareness wide open. This is the fundamental concept of Sandy’s meditation technique to engage the Self, we can do this with eyes open or closed, gazing forwards yet being aware of the greater environment.
Virtues are like ‘iclouds’ above our heads. When we engage in GAAWO, we are aware of the conflict and emotion and so are in a position to be able to download the virtue we need more of e.g feeling frustration offers us the virtue of patience and we need to actively Choose to bring this in (or another virtue need more of in that scenario).
We often live through a series of thoughts, not in the present and not ‘fully and completely’. Fully and completely is Sandy’s definition of life. Life happens on a spectrum of all possibilities. We tend to want to hang out on the positive end of the spectrum, yet that is not living a full human experience, we need to be able to willing and able to live life right across the spectrum.
Stress is not the cause because stress is caused by something- it is not the source. Inner conflict is the cause- that requires two opposing forces, the attachment and the resistance. We get caught in the middle of the push-pull dynamic, we resist what’s happening because we attached to something that we want to be happening instead. Stress is not caused by your circumstances, it is caused by resistance to the circumstances. When we keep focusing on it, it persists.
I AM not my EMOTIONS. I simply HAVE emotions.
I AM is permanent and unchanging- the Self, yet EMOTIONS are transitory and when we reflect back we can always think of a time in our lives that we haven’t felt that emotion.
Emotions = energy, and we need energy to create and heal. To optimise our life. The more emotions we have the better.
Emotion = energy in motion!
I love this symbol of energy in motion, from the whole workshop this was the concept that spoke to me most profoundly, I often find myself bouncing from the highs to the lows, full of overwhelm and anxiety. Resisting that overwhelming is not embracing and trusting it for it’s power to create and heal and allow me to travel that journey of becoming my highest self. It’s the resistance that hinders this progress, the resistance that creates the struggle and the stress. not the energy itself. Game changer!
We are born with only two fears-falling and loud noises. Everything else is learned, labelled and conditioned. As humans we tend to apply labels to everything. But we could benefit more from understanding what this emotion feels like within our body, how it manifests, that it is a transient messenger… before simply labelling it and putting it aside.
When you feel an emotion, recognise it and respond as a welcoming sign of growth and healing. “Hello energy, thank you for passing through, feel free to hang out as long as you need to.”
Life is happening to invite us to wake up consciousness- nothing comes along to hurt you but to wake you up and help you grow. Knowing this ultimately means that what your experience is less important than your relationship with it.
With the right attitude, you can use all that happens to you as an invitation to step up, wake up, and fully show up.
i'd love to hear your thoughts on these concepts, how you feel about your own relationship between your body and mind, and your awareness of the inner 'Self'? If you are super curious… Get in touch and let's arrange some time to chat about it!
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