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Mindfulness Theories & Practices #10: Despair/Hope–A Short Meditation

Working With Opposites – Despair/Hope — A Short Meditation

“Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Either close your eyes or lower your eyelids so that your eyes only have a slight gaze in them….Take a few releasing and relaxing breaths….Breathe in….belly is rising….Breathe out….belly is falling….Follow your breath for a few moments….Breathe out for the count of six….Breathe in for the count of six….Now: think about a time in your life when you felt despair….when you felt a sense of anguish over a situation….when you felt a sense of hopelessness….Notice: where in your body/mind that sensation of despair appears. Does it appear in your chest?…. in your gut?….in your heart?.…in your head?….in some other part of your body?…. Notice the location of the feeling of despair in your body/mind….its shape.…whether it changes….  how it changes…. Sense into that sensation of hopelessness…. Now: think about a time in your life when you felt hopeful, positive and buoyant. Notice: where in your body/mind the sensation of hopefulness appears….Chest… Gut… Heart…. Head…. Some other part of your body….Sense into its form…. its location.… the way it changes.…Now: Sense into the sensation of despair…. Then into the sensation of hopefulness.…Back and forth…. Sense into the sensation of despair, then into the sensation of hope….Now sense into the sensations of despair and hope simultaneously, and notice what happens in your body/mind…. Despair…. Hope….Sensing into one, and then into the other….Back and forth…. Then sense Despair and Hope simultaneously….Now return to noting your breath…. Breathing in and Breathing out several times….and when you’re ready come back to full awareness….Now: Take a few moments and reflect on what you felt in your body/mind when you sensed into the sensations of despair and hope simultaneously.”

 

Our discussion of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson in our book club on January 29, 2016 inspired me to write this meditation. I included this meditation as part of my reflections on our discussion. “Working with opposites” is one of the techniques I use in conducting a Yoga Nidra session.

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