Begin as you did for the focus meditation, to the point where you are noticing the differences between one breath and the next.

When you are settled, let go of the focus on your breath, and either bring to mind something that has been troubling you, or just be aware of whatever demands your conscious attention.

Recognise what is going on. Stop what you are doing, take a time out, and ask yourself exactly what it is you are experiencing and name it.

Allow whatever you are experiencing to be as it is. Welcome it. Let it be, knowing that it too will pass.

Investigate it. Be curious, open to whatever may come to mind. Where are you feeling this in your body? Is it still or moving? Hot or cold? Rough or smooth? Pleasant or unpleasant? Constant or changing? What is it trying to get you to do? Why did you give it the name you did? What do you believe about it? Where does that come from? What stories are your ‘mind monkeys’ telling you about it? How do they help you? If it is a belief or attitude you have had for some time, how has it served you? How has it affected your life? What would life be like if you let go of it?

What colour is it? What shape? What, if anything, does it smell of? What does it sound like? If it were a politician, who would it be? If it were a car, what would it be? What does that tell you?

Do not try to analyse it. Just ask the questions and see what comes to mind. Leave the subconscious to get on and do its thing offline. Remember, any insights may come later, so it is worth keeping your journal to hand. Writing them down also helps you to distinguish between real insight and more ‘mind monkey’ tales.

Non-identify. Be aware of the thought, the feeling or the sensation as what it is, part of us undoubtedly, but not the whole of us. It is not who we are, and it does not – should not, anyway – mindlessly dictate what we do.

Now, choose how to respond.

When time is up, finish the exercise as you did the focus meditation, scanning up your body, before reconnecting with the sounds and sights around you. Be aware of how you feel before getting on with the rest of your day.

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

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