Thursday, 25 June 2015

Making Use of All the Senses in Mindfulness

The longer I go on with mindfulness practice the more I recognise that I can become stuck in ruts. We like habits and sometimes it's a relief to have stability in something in contrast to the turbulent emotional and internal lives many of us battle against. There is a need though, to 'mix it up' and rediscover the fresh in our experience of the everyday. I find that I focus a lot of my mindfulness practise on hearing and sight, I tend to ignore taste, smell and touch. Yet, I know when I do try something out that focuses on these senses I tend to enjoy the change and what it gives to me in opening up a sense of moving forward and experiencing new things in the every day.

To help structure my ideas around my senses I have put together a worksheet, with a view to including it in a day course I'm running in October. Let me know what you think - any feedback (kindly meant) is gratefully received!

Making Sense of Mindfulness

You have been practising Mindfulness for some time now. These questions are designed to help you decide what works best for you, and to help you try out fresh ideas to use all five senses in your mindfulness practice.

1. When I take time to be mindful I usually use exercises which use my
Hearing /Sight/Taste/Smell/Touch *

2. I have never or rarely tried exercises which use my Hearing/Sight/Taste/Smell/Touch *

*Circle the answer

3. List your top three favourites sounds:
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4. List your top three favourite sights:
________________________________________
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5. List your top three favourite tastes:
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6. List your top three favourite smells:
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7. List your top three favourite sensations (Touch)
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Now from these lists, note the experiences which you find help you to feel:
 Calmer
 Pleasure
 Enjoyable anticipation
 Warmth
 Nurtured
 Relaxed
Exercise:
Sit as you usually do when practising Mindful exercises. Notice your breathing and allow your mind to focus on the rise and fall of your stomach/rib cage. Focus on the sensation of your breath in your nose, then as it travels into your lungs and out again. Allow distractions from thoughts, memories, to pass through.
Now choose one of your senses to focus on. (touch or taste or smell make sure you have any props set up within easy reach). As you use your senses become aware of initial thoughts/judgements? Notice them, then let them go.
Spend some time simply experiencing your activity. Notice feelings about what you are experiencing. If it is pleasurable do not push it away, but allow yourself to sit with it. If it is negative, notice it and let it pass. Change your focus back to your breathing and away from what you are experiencing, then return return to the focus on your sense. Repeat twice more, then when you are ready, return your focus to the room.