Spiritual Networks



These exercises are valuable preparation for daily attunement to your feelings and relationships.

  1. Bodyscan:
    (Feelings are energy moving through awareness in the body. Cultivation of bodily awareness is a vital foundation for consciously experiencing feelings.)

    Place your body in a comfortable position. Choose to accept that there is no right or wrong to this exercise. Whatever you are experiencing is just what you need to be noticing.

    Beginning with your toes, focus your awareness on successive parts of your body. Simply be curious about whatever you may notice. If judgments or other thoughts come, acknowledge them and choose to return to the body part on which you are focusing. Notice how each area fits on any of these dimensions: heavy to light, cold to hot, comfort to discomfort, light to dark, tense to at relaxed, soft to hard, clear awareness to unaware. Compare differences between right and left sides. Once you have a feel for an area, move on to the next.

    Follow any approximation of this sequence: toes, soles, heel, feet; ankles, calves, shins, knees, thighs (front and back, inner and outer), legs; buttocks, genitals, hips, pelvic bowl; lower back, belly, diaphragm, upper back, chest, torso; shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists, arms; palms, back of hands, thumbs, each finger, hands; neck, throat, tongue, jaw, cheeks, scalp, forehead, eyes, head; whole body all at once.

  2. Following the Breath
    (Breath is the carrier wave for emotion. When the breath is stifled, feelings are shut down. Cultivating free flowing breath is vital to experiencing emotion.)

    Without changing anything, simply focus your awareness on the inner movement of your breath. Notice where the softness allows movement, and what the movement feels like. Simply notice whatever you notice as you breathe in and out.

    Be attentive to the places where the movement does not happen.

    Notice what is happening as you inhale, how the soft fluid movement starts to build tension, how the tension resists the soft movement, how subtly the tension builds, eventually requiring release. Notice what you experience as you exhale, how the tension is released as you allow yourself to be emptied.

    Notice the moment of transition from inhale to exhale, and vice versa. Simply be curious about whatever draws your attention as you cycle through each moment of filling and emptying. If your awareness wanders away from your breath, gently bring it back.

  3. Mindfulness
    (Staying present to the moment is the essence of emotional awareness. Feelings are avoided by escaping into thoughts about the past or the future.)

    To practice conscious presence, simply choose to return awareness again and again to what is happening now. This includes word thoughts and images in the mind, as well as sensations and feelings in the body. When thoughts arise, you can simply notice them in the present moment of awareness. Let them be there, and let them go. You can ease your attachment to thoughts by returning your awareness of the rhythmic flow of your breath. This helps to anchor you in your body, and frees you to notice what you are experiencing there. In this way, the energy that is moving through the body as emotion becomes more and more clearly accessible.

    There is no right or wrong to this practice. Judgments about how well you are doing the exercise are simply thoughts to be noticed and released. All you need to do is simply be curious, allowing yourself to notice whatever comes into your attention, allowing it to be there while it is, and then letting it pass as something else arises to claim the focus of your awareness.

  4. Spirituality

    What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above practices, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

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