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MBSR Class 7

1.        Experiment without recordings in daily practice. Total practice should be 45 minutes or more, dividing the time as it feels most supportive. So maybe 10 minutes of standing movement followed by 25 minutes of sitting practice and then a 10-minute body scan (gentle movement-guide is here). If practicing without a recording is too difficult, try to alternate with recording and without.

2.      Continue informal practice. Just noticing throughout the day what you are feeling and how you are feeling. Acknowledge, as you go, the wakefulness that's present in each moment of remembrance and intention.

3.      Use STOP (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed) or RAIN (Recognize, Acknowledge, Investigate, Nourish or Non-Identify or Nurture (you can't go wrong with any of them). We'll do more on both next week.

4.        Continue working with what you take in. Remember to pause. You can do this in an entry-level, low-risk way by examining your habits around consumption of food, alcohol, conversation, social media, news. You can even approach the novel you're reading or the walk you are about to take with the pause. Notice how approaching all of it makes you feel and how doing all of it makes you feel and how you feel when you pause before doing all of it. Notice how the feelings and thoughts that arise around all of your choices.

Here's the protocol, which changes depending on whether there is a person involved or you're examining your choices and habits.

  • Pause - as in, move to stillness physically and mentally.

  • Relax - welcome all sensations and emotions.

  • Open - spaciousness and mutuality if another person is present. Please know that you can intentionally pause around physical pain. We tend to say we are IN pain. This is the opportunity to see pain as a series of sensations in the body that you have labeled unpleasant and unwanted. This is a time of moving toward those sensations and creating space around them or expanding the space around them and seeing if you can relax around them and loosen the grip on the pain. Acute pain (hey, you just did something weird to your toe, woman!) is your friend. It's adaptive; it tells you that something is amiss and needs attention. Chronic pain, which frequently travels with anxiety about it, is different. Chronic pain is what leads to a host of other problems. BOTH can decrease through MBSR, and pain tolerance can increase (although at the initial moment of acute pain, good luck with that unless you see it coming). However, mindset is crucial, as this entire endeavor is about training the mind. If you have a "prove it to me" attitude, this is likely a non-starter.

  • Attune to Emergence - if you are with another person, be open. Suspend judgment and expectation and just enter the moment by inviting whatever shows up.

  • Listen Deeply - within yourself as well as to the other person if there is one.

  • Speak Your Truth

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