In Mindfulness we sometimes refer to “bells”. Like we often use bells to frame the meditations we also have symbolic “bells”, that serve as sign posts or reminders that can call us back to a mindful space in everyday activity.
I had the pleasure of a central London rush hour underground journey this week – lots of emoticons would follow here, but I am still not very adept I their use! Standing squashed between many others in each direction I was getting quite warm and was starting to sweating, it is November so as I was dressed for colder weather.
And of course my attention was very focused on these developing sensations. I realised that actually it was a low level stress reaction to such an unnatural circumstance.
Anyway a little Bell sounded in my head. Here was a chance to try to practice what I always preach. Here was a chance to shift my own interaction with the situation. I closed my eyes and allowed my consciousness to sink into my body; I found a quiet space in my pelvis and settled there, exploring the feeling and sensations that were there in each moment.
Once quiet and settled, I allowed my awareness to drift to my hearing, losing myself in the sounds of acceleration, braking and deceleration, and to the noises of the wheels on the tracks. I settled into the moment, lost myself in the physical sensation of my gentle pelvic rocking, following the moments of the train carriage, and with my mind attending to the rattling and clattering of the train and it’s wheels as it continued its journey through the tunnel.
Before I knew it there was a gentle release of the physical reactions within my body. I did not strip away any clothing (which was actually impossible in context) yet my sweating had subsided and my mind was quieter. A conscious shift in my awareness was all that had been needed to dissipate the discomfort that I was experiencing.
The quiet act of accepting the situation and environment had given immediate, yet almost unnoticed, relief. It was actually noticing the dampness of clothing against now dry skin that really alerted me of this change. In that moment a coping strategy was born. A new lesson was learned by my consciousness in that moment. My commuting bell.
Look around you. These bells exist everywhere for the Mindful. Noticing them, and acting on them is an empowering practice. We all have these simple resources.
We all carry the bells that can ring these beneficial changes.
(c) The Mindful Horse, 2016