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Coming home to the breath and cultivating compassion
by Elise Bialylew
A longer meditation to help you come back to the breath and experience greater compassion by Elise Bialylew
Coming back to the breath and cultivating compassion
Today’s meditation is a longer practice which runs for 25 minutes. It was a recording of a live meditation that I hosted for thousands of people around the world. It’s an opportunity to deepen your practice. If you’d prefer to stick with a 10 minute meditation you can always go to the meditations page to find all of the meditations that have been unlocked so far.
Along with today’s new guided meditation, you may like to experiment with using your breath to calm your nervous system through the ‘rest and digest’ breathing cycle. In this incidental mindfulness practice, try using the breath to activate the calming branch of your nervous system. This will balance out the chronically activated fight-or-flight response.
You can do this by breathing in for 4 counts, holding for 2 counts, breathing out for 6 counts, holding for 2 counts and repeating this rhythm of breathing for 2 minutes. If you have a moment, you can try it out right now.
Try this practice a few times today and see what you discover.
Be mindful while waiting: Waiting in lines can often be a frustrating experience as we feel held up in our day and get caught in tense thoughts that fuel stress and irritation. We can practice mindfulness by “coming home to the body” and letting go of frustrated thoughts” and transform these “waiting” experiences into opportunities to strengthen our capacity for mindfulness. Be mindful in the supermarket queue by tuning in to your body. Sense your feet on the ground and scan the body for any tension that might be present. Let that tension go. Check in with how you are feeling, notice any irritation or impatience in the body and us the breath, see if you can let it go. When you notice yourself caught up in thoughts like “why is this person in front of me moving so slowly” see if you can let them go and come back to the sensations in your body.
Here is a powerful short video called This is Water by David Foster Wallace which beautifully depicts the frustration’s of daily life and what we need to remember in order to transform them.