Dr Jan Goss

How are You [Feeling]?

To all intents and purposes it is a simple enough question, but if we are asking that question in the context of a mindfulness forum or group, it can take a little longer to find the answer, to really be present with our self sufficiently, to allow us to be specific about how we are feeling, rather than offering a cursory ‘I’m fine’, or ‘not so bad’!

I attended a Day of Mindfulness in Manchester on Saturday, hosted by the Zen tradition that I practice with. At the beginning of these groups and the ‘secular’ groups that I facilitate, it is customary to go around the group and give our name and a word or two about how we are feeling. It often takes me a few moments to bring my attention back into my self and be able to answer that question well – and on Saturday I understood why.

I realise that in answering that question I am doing my best to put one word to a most complex system – my ‘self’. Through recent training in the theory and practice of Psychosynthesis (a form of psychotherapy – that compliments mindfulness nicely), I have become increasingly aware of my self as: body, feelings and mind, three distinct and yet interconnected aspects of my self. So, in answering that question it is helpful to take our time, to be mindful.

Have a go now if you like (just think of it as ‘checking in’ with your self – the first part of a 3 Minute Breathing Space), close your eyes and answer these three questions:

  • How does my physical body feel in this moment?
  • What is the feeling, or emotion that I am experiencing in my heart right now?
  • What is the current condition of my mind?

So what were your answers? Were you surprised to notice these three aspects of your self? For me the answers were as follows:

  • My body is feeling tired, it is 6.30pm and the end of a long day, my arms and shoulders ache slightly, as does my neck
  • Emotionally, I am feeling satisfied and pleased
  • My conscious/thinking mind is calm and clear

The value of this exercise for me, right now, is to listen to that information and stop working for the day – that is what my body, feelings, mind is telling me and I am going to ‘listen’ to it, and continue tomorrow….

The point of the exercise is to take our time and listen to our needs in order to ensure health and wellbeing, we might decide as I did yesterday, to call it a day or we might just use it as a ‘reset button’ and start again, minus the stress we were previously carrying in our body, feelings and mind.

You might like to have a go at the meditation below…scroll right down.

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