Talks and Meditations
March 20, 2023, Anne V Muhlethaler

Body Scan Guided Meditation

Relax, soften, let go

In this guided meditation, Anne offers an introduction inspired by an interview conducted years ago of school kids who had been introduced to mindfulness. One of them, when asked what mindfulness means, quipped: 

‘It means not hitting someone in the mouth.’ 

This funny and direct response implies that a mindfulness practice teaches us the ability to pause before we act, or react. 

We explore in this meditation how shining a light inwards — learning to be with the body’s sensations moment by moment  — helps us become in touch with ourselves so that we can feel our emotions as they arise and subside. By learning to notice first, we become less likely to identify with the emotions. That means we will switch from ‘I am angry’ to ‘I am feeling anger and frustration’, for example. This distance between the emotion and the self gives us a new vantage point from which, when we feel reactive, there is the option to pause and choose the next action, rather than simply react. 

With mindfulness anchored in the body, we feel what’s happening and we get to choose how we respond to our relationships with others and our environments. Anne also shares that while mindfulness is a great tool to notice upset, frustration, sadness or anger, it’s also a tool to connect more directly with positive emotions like joy, love or awe.

And in this meditation, while we are exploring sensations scanning down the body, we also invite a sense of decompression, softening and letting go, in various areas of the body, to find a soothing and balanced attention.