I really liked today's guided meditation by Jeff Warren, which I regularly listen to on the Calm iPhone app. So much so, I made a transcript of what Warren had to say.
The ellipsis (...) in the transcript below indicate a marked pause in the guided meditation.
This afternoon I shared some copies of the transcript with my Tai Chi class. There's a close connection between the notion of staying in the center of a movement and basic principles of Tai Chi.
More philosophically, I enjoyed Warren's observation that when we're right in the middle, we have the greatest ability to adjust to the changing conditions of life.
Meaning, if we're not strongly mentally leaning in one direction or another, when life pushes us we're able to flow with that demand more easily than when our mind is determined to head somewhere else.
In the Middle
Transcript of guided meditation from Jeff Warren on the Calm iPhone app
One thing we explore often in the Daily Trip is the idea of being present to exactly this present moment. Not a bit ahead or a bit behind, but right here, right now, in the very middle of it all.
This is one of the meanings of equanimity. The ability to be right here, in the middle, balanced at the very center of your life, free and available to go in any direction.
And that's the idea we're going to play with today. First in stillness, and then, in the last minutes, just for fun, in motion.
Start by closing the eyes, or keeping them half open, whatever is comfortable for you. And take a few deep full-body breaths. Stretching up the spine on the inhale, alert, poised, and then settling into your seat on the exhale, relaxed, bringing out any tension.
Already, we're right in the middle between alert and relaxed, between the in-breath and the out-breath.
We're also in the middle of this exact moment. All the sounds around you, maybe distant, or close. All the sensations, and feelings, and thoughts inside you. Maybe lots of them. Maybe very few. Sitting in the middle of it all, letting everything be here.
If you like, choose a simple home base. This will be a place you can rest your attention on, returning to it again and again throughout the meditation.
So maybe the soft sensation of the breath down in the belly, or it could be another body sensation, or it can be a sound. Whatever you choose, practicing right here with it.
...OK, present with some sound or sensation, not gripping it. Light, noticing the subtle details. Keep going.
...Sometimes, we get a bit ahead of ourselves. Anticipating the next breath. Or thinking about the future. Or we get a bit behind, dwelling on something that's already past. Can you come back and stay right here, poised in the exact middle of everything?
...Sitting in the middle. Thoughts and feelings, of course, will be there. But they're just passing through. And you sit, centered and poised and aware.
...So let's play with a very simple movement.
Maybe lift your hand, and gently turn it back and forth. Can you move it so slowly and deliberately, that there's no momentum at all? In other words, at any moment you could as easily turn your hand the other way. Or move it forward, or backwards, or really any direction.
The idea is to stay at the very center of the movement. This still point, where anything can happen, where you're not committed to moving one way or the other, where there's no habit taking over. Keep playing with this.
Maybe turn your head, or twist your body a little bit. Playing with the same principle of moving really slowly and staying right in the middle of the movement.
OK, so you can keep moving if you're enjoying that.
Being right in the middle is the place where you're most available to life. It's this zero point where we have the potential to move in any direction. It's a practice of freedom. Free to respond, and not to react. Free to be present. Free to live. It all happens right here, in the middle.
OK. When you're ready, open your eyes. Thank you for your practice. I'll see you back here tomorrow.