Page 1

MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION with Henning Daverne 1 | MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


Contents 1.01 Welcome............................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 1.02 Henning Daverne......................................................................................................................................................................... 6 1.03 The science of happiness....................................................................................................................................................... 8 1.04 The happiness set-point......................................................................................................................................................... 9 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming...............................................................................................................................11 1.06 The two parts of your mind.................................................................................................................................................17 1.07 Observing your mind............................................................................................................................................................... 18 2.01 The scientific perspective.................................................................................................................................................... 21 2.02 New pathways.............................................................................................................................................................................23 2.03 The body-mind connection................................................................................................................................................25 2.04 The philosophical perspective.........................................................................................................................................26 3.01 Presence – the invisible element that gives value to our lives..................................................................... 32 3.02 The mindfulness attitude....................................................................................................................................................35 3.03 Mind management – learning from the past........................................................................................................... 37 3.04 Exercise – the past..................................................................................................................................................................40 3.05 Planning for the future...........................................................................................................................................................41 4.01 Breathing – the bridge between the body and the mind..................................................................................51 4.02 Relaxing breath...........................................................................................................................................................................51 4.03 Energising breath...................................................................................................................................................................... 52 4.04 Dynamic breathing exercise .............................................................................................................................................. 52 4.05 Alternate breathing exercise.............................................................................................................................................. 52 4.06 Qi kung exercise........................................................................................................................................................................53 4.07 How to sit in meditation.......................................................................................................................................................63

2 | Contents

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


SECTION I: Why? 3 | Contents

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

1.01 Welcome Welcome to the LitUpp mindfulness and meditation program. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this with you.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

The program is laid out across four sections that take you through the background knowledge and science that explains why mindfulness and meditation are so beneficial for our mental and physical health, through to guidance on how you can develop a mindfulness and meditation practice that works for you.

Section 1. Why? We all want to be happy – it underpins almost everything we do. But even though happiness is our number one goal in life, people rarely stop to think about what happiness really is. Here, we look at the latest scientific research on happiness, and discover what we can do to have the greatest positive impact on our own life satisfaction. I also take you through the philosophy that has underpinned mindfulness and meditation for thousands of years, and show you how recent Western scientific studies have backed up this ancient wisdom.

Section 2. What is meditation? Here, we look at what meditation actually is – what it involves, and how it affects our bodies and our minds.

Section 3. Presence & mindfulness Society has a big problem these days. We’re so busy, and our attention is pulled in so many different directions, that our mind is rarely ever in one place. That means we’re unfocused and split, and never fully available for anything. And it makes us vulnerable to compulsive anxiety and stress, as our subconscious thoughts drag our emotions down without us knowing it’s happening. Here, we look at how we can begin to manage the stream of our thoughts, and cut through the white noise and chatter that takes us away from the things that really matter in life. Because if we can bring our full attention to our experiences, we can find greater satisfaction in the things we do, build better connections with the people we value, and find greater focus for the tasks we need to complete.

4 | 1.01 Welcome

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Section 4. Tools & Meditations In this section, I introduce you to a number of tools – including breathing exercises and journalling – that you can use to find calm from moment to moment, and connect with greater happiness in your life.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

I also take you through eight guided meditations that you can use to find deeper relaxation and practice mastering your inner world. This workbook is designed to be used alongside the video program – it has extra information and exercises you can use to explore the concepts and ideas we encounter as we progress. It’s one thing to understand these concepts intellectually, and another thing to go a step further and interact with them and discover how they

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

affect you.

Sometimes people worry that taking an interest in meditation means they’ll eventually have to give up their possessions and move to a Buddhist monastery, but it’s really not about that. Whatever your values or priorities in life, you can use mindfulness and meditation to help ensure the pressures on you don’t harm your well-being, as well as to help you find greater clarity, presence and, ultimately, happiness. I wish you all the very best on your journey. Sincerely,

Henning Daverne

5 | 1.01 Welcome

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

1.02 Henning Daverne For 30 years I studied martial arts. I fought and trained people all over the world, from police and military special forces, to ordinary people who just wanted to learn how to defend themselves. It was through martial arts that I first discovered mindfulness and meditation as tools to access greater focus and presence and to balance stress.

Focus and presence

The martial arts tradition sees mental “fitness” as a vital component of performance. Two opponents can have the same skill level and the same physical condition, but the fighter with the best mental condition will always prevail.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Good mental condition gives us increased clarity and focus – allowing us to think quicker and see clearer, even under pressure. It allows us to bring our full capacity to the task at hand and execute much more effectively than someone whose thinking is scattered and unclear. Just as we train our bodies to improve our physical condition, mindfulness and meditation are exercises we can use to improve our mental condition.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a CEO or a fulltime mum, we all have challenges and stresses in our lives. We all have times when we need to focus but can’t find the clarity required. And we all go through periods when anxiety or worry blocks our enjoyment of the things we hold dear. These days, I teach mindfulness and meditation to people from all walks of life – from CEOs of major companies who want to access higher performance, to individuals who want to learn how to balance stress or find greater happiness and meaning in their lives.

6 | 1.02 Henning Daverne

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

Overcoming stress

Fighting sports are physically and psychologically demanding – the rigorous physical training schedules and the risks of combat make it an extremely stressful occupation. The human body is able to handle high levels of stress – but what we can’t handle is sustained stress for long periods of time. Our bodies release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as a kind of shortterm booster fuel to get us through stressful situations – but they become toxic for our bodies when we’re in high-stress mode for too long. Meditation allows us to spend a relatively short amount of time in deep relaxation to clear this toxic stress from our system and return to face our challenges with renewed energy and clarity of mind.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

7 | 1.02 Henning Daverne

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

1.03 The science of happiness As we go through life, our level of happiness increases or decreases depending on what happens to us. If you get a new job or a new partner, you become happier – but after a while this new thing that made you happy just becomes normal to you. The extra happiness wears off, and your level of happiness goes back to what it was before. Likewise, you become sad if something negative happens, but the sadness wears as you come to terms with it, and eventually you return to your “normal” level of happiness. MOODS

NEW PARTNER NEW JOB

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

The happiness set-point

LOSE JOB

LOSE PARTNER

TIME

But the really interesting question here is – what determines your normal level of happiness? In other words, what determines the point you keep returning to after the novelty of life-changing events wears off? What determines your happiness baseline? Psychologists call our individual “normal” level of happiness our “happiness setpoint”. And in the next section, we’re going to explore the factors that shape your happiness set-point. It’s absolutely crucial to understand this because it can help you focus on the areas of your life where you get a high return on the energy you invest – that is, to focus on the things that really make you happy. And it will help you avoid falling into happiness traps – misconceptions about life that suck your energy but give you very little happiness in return.

8 | 1.03 The science of happiness

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

1.04 The happiness set-point The happiness set-point is obviously different from person to person – we can all see from our own experience that some people are just generally happier and more positive than others. Psychologists wanted to understand what determines each person’s happiness set-point, and they found that it comes down to three factors.

SEC TION III

1. Genetics

Presence & mindfulness

50 percent of your happiness is determined by your genes.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

You got it from your parents the moment you were conceived – it’s fixed and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

2. Circumstances 10 percent of your happiness is determined by your life circumstances. Take a moment to think about that, because it’s truly astonishing. We spend our whole lives trying to be happy. And the way we often try to find that happiness is through constantly improving our life circumstances – chasing new possessions, new friends, new partners, new experiences and higher status. But the return we get for all that effort is tiny in terms of the happiness it brings us. What does that mean? We all live in different life circumstances. We can be more or less healthy, we can be richer or poorer, more or less attractive, attached or single, working or jobless – these are all life circumstances. The happiness trap is thinking – “I will be happier when _________ [fill in the blank]”. Changing these life circumstances does influence your happiness, but only by 10 percent.

9 | 1.04 The happiness set-point

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


3. Thoughts & actions

SEC TION I Why

40 percent of your happiness is determined by your intentional thoughts and actions. That means the way we think and act has a far greater impact on our happiness than our life circumstances.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

In other words, intentionally changing the way you act, think and interpret the events in your life will make you much happier than changing your life circumstances.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

This is why mindfulness and meditation are such powerful tools. They can help you appreciate and enjoy the good things you have. And they can help you understand and interact with your own mind on a deeper level. Through mindfulness and meditation you can learn to manage the stream of your thoughts and focus on the things that lift you up, instead of getting swept away with automatic thoughts that bring you pain, regret or negativity. Of course, we should all put effort into making our future brighter – but with a small shift in attitude we suddenly understand that we don’t need to postpone happiness until we reach our destination. We can enjoy the journey.

10 | 1.04 The happiness set-point

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming We do things because we believe they’ll make us happy.

SEC TION II

We work harder to get a promotion because we believe the extra money and status will make us happier and more fulfilled.

What is meditation?

We search for new partners or new friends because we hope they’ll bring us joy.

SEC TION III

We buy a new car or a new sweater because it makes us feel good, either when we use them or when others see us having them.

Presence & mindfulness

And we go all-out to avoid the pain that blocks our happiness.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

We try hard to be good friends, good workers or good family members because we’re good people – and if we don’t fulfil our responsibilities, we’ll get bugged by stress, worry or shame. Happiness is – at least partly – the sense of peace we get from living in alignment with our values. So we can see that, if we look behind every external goal we pursue in life, we find a deeper internal goal of wanting to get to a state of being that is full of contentment, ease and happiness.

Being When I use the word “being”, I’m talking about how you feel at this very moment. If you witness your thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and life circumstances, how does it feel to be you right now? This is your present state of being! Our aim is to bring our present state of being closer to our natural state of relaxed openness – and eventually to connect more and more with this natural inner state as we live our outer lives. When you experienced a situation in the past, the experience took place in the present moment at that time. And the past you remember now only exists in your mind in this present moment. Likewise, if you think about the future, you’re doing it now – when the future comes, it will be your present moment at that time. If you analyse it, you can see that “being here now” is your only true reality. 11 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

When we think about “being” in this way, it becomes clear why it’s so important to learn how to live in the present moment. Meditation is a deep connection with the present moment. And the more we succeed in living in the moment, the more we’re able to make this a habit that we carry with us into the future. It can become a habit or pattern to appreciate the present moment – from moment to moment – that we can carry with us throughout our lives. Conversely, if you make a habit out of living in the future – that is, living in an imagined picture of the future in your mind, instead of engaging with what’s actually real for you right now – it becomes harder and harder to break out of this thought pattern and you miss the only place where true happiness can exist: the present moment.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Some people hear the message “live in the present moment” and think it’s not compatible with real life. “How can I take care of my bills and career and family,” they ask, “if I don’t think about the future?” But I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think about the future. Living in the present moment includes planning for the future – we just learn to manage our minds so that worries about the future or regrets about the past don’t pollute the present moment.

Becoming When I use the word “becoming”, I’m talking about living life in “transit mode”. It’s the happiness trap that goes something like:

“I’m not happy now but happiness is just around the corner. I’ll be happy when I connect with a special situation, object or person sometime in the future.”

So many people’s lives are underpinned by ideas that run something like, “I’ll work myself to death for 30 years and then be happy when I retire.”

12 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

They sacrifice time with their friends, their kids and their families because their entire focus is on reaching their goal. Having meaningful future goals is healthy, and studies show that happy people tend to have well defined goals.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

And meaningful goals and ambitions are absolutely compatible with living in the present moment.

SEC TION III

The message here is just to remember to enjoy the ride and not fall into the trap of postponing your happiness until you reach your goals at some point in the future.

Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Goal A goal is something you want to have, own, get or complete, sometime in the future. Being goal-oriented means you focus on your future goals. When you reach a goal, you can cross it off the list – it’s done with, complete.

Value Your values are how you want to behave, deep in your soul. They determine the direction you want to move in life. Being value-oriented means you focus on the ongoing process of living according to your values with no end-point in mind. To explore your values, you can ask yourself: – What sort of person do you want to be? For example, do you want to be peaceful, loving, strong, fair, courageous, compassionate? Values are connected to states of being. – If life were easy, and you didn’t have to fight with fears and difficult feelings, what would you love to do with your energy and time? – How would you like your relationships to be with other people? Your family, friends, romantic partner, colleagues? – What things in life are most important to you?

13 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

The Fisherman and the Banker

An investment banker was taking a much-needed holiday when he saw a small fishing boat sail into shore. The fisherman jumped out and started to unload his catch. The banker was impressed. “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” he asked. “Oh, only two or three hours,” said the fisherman.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

“But why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the banker asked. “I catch what I need to feed my family and pay my bills.” “But what do you do with the rest of your day?” said the banker. “Well, I sleep late,” said the fisherman. “I take the boat out and catch a few fish, then I come back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a siesta with my wife, and when evening comes, I stroll into the village, and me and my buddies sip wine, play guitar, sing and dance late into the night.” The banker listened to him, and said, “I can help you. I’ve got an MBA and I know what I’m talking about. You should spend more time at sea and catch more fish. Make more money, so you can buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you can buy more boats, set up your own company and your own processing plant and distribution network. Then, you can move to the city and build a grand office to manage your business.” “And after that?” said the fisherman. The banker laughed, “This is the best part! Now you can sell the business and make millions.” “And after that?” “After that you can retire,” said the banker. “You can move to a little fishing village and everyday you can sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, and take siestas with your wife. In the evenings you can stroll into the village and sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

A few years ago I was teaching an older man who told me that his goal was to sell his house. His kids had grown up and moved out, and he and his wife didn’t need such a big place anymore. He thought that selling the house would free up time that he and his wife could spend together.

14 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

His goal was to sell the house, but the value underpinning his goal was to spend more quality time with his wife. We talked about it, and I asked if having a large house was really stopping him from spending more time with his wife.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

Selling a house can take years. But he and his wife could act on the value right now – spend more time together right now, and be happier right now. The message here is that we don’t need to postpone our happiness.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

We can start being happy right now if we shift our focus to what really matters.

Goals and values

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

GOAL: VALUE:

I want to achieve higher status with my job or possessions I want to be accepted

GOAL: VALUE:

I want to find a partner I want to be loving, caring and passionate, and have fun

GOAL: VALUE:

I want to be a doctor I want to be able to help people

As you can see, goals and values are not exactly the same, and understanding the difference shows you that you have a choice. You can choose to live a life that fulfils and satisfies you now through focusing on what will really make a difference to your happiness.

Exercise Let’s try a simple thought experiment. Close your eyes and spend a minute reflecting on what you’ve heard. What thoughts come up?

Do you see any areas in your life where you’re falling into the thinking trap, “I can only

15 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I

be happy when I reach my goals”?

Why

SEC TION II

What is meditation?

Write down a few of your current goals. SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Can you identify the values that underpin these goals? In other words, how are you really hoping to find happiness through reaching these goals?

What is the one thing you can choose to do today to align your actions more closely with your values?

YOUR JOURNEY

I invite you to look upon the exercises we do here as an open-ended journey – you don’t need to find the final answer today. Perhaps you’d like to return to them again in a week or two, and continue to return to them every now and then over the coming months or years. You may find that, over time, you’ll start to track changes in your thinking.

16 | 1.05 Values & goals – being & becoming

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

1.06 The two parts of your mind If we want to find clarity and greater control over our mental energy, we should begin by understanding how our consciousness works.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

There are several theoretical models of the mind, but the one I think is most intuitive divides the mind into two categories: the THINKING SELF and the OBSERVING SELF

The Thinking Self This is the content of your mind-stream – it includes thoughts, emotions and sensations. It’s the part of you that thinks,

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

“I should have / could have / would have / I must / I have to / I need to...” Your thoughts and emotions come in a never-ending stream. They’re constantly in motion, as each thought and emotion continually leads to more thoughts and emotions.

The Observing Self This is the part of you that’s not involved with the thoughts. It’s the part of you that knows, “I’m having a thought.” The observing part of your mind is like a silent, unmoving witness. One of the main aims of training in mindfulness and meditation is to untangle these two parts of the mind – to become aware of how the thinking self is influencing you, and to be in control of where it takes you.

THE OCEAN

Think of the ocean – on the surface you’re constantly pushed and pulled by the waves and currents. But if you know how to dive down below the waves, you find stillness and peace.

17 | 1.06 The two parts of your mind

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

1.07 Observing your mind I invite you to try a short exercise – the aim is to help you become aware of the two parts of your mind, and to enable you to start investigating how your busy, thinking self relates to your silent, observing self. It’s a kind of training exercise for the meditations we come to later. Find somewhere quiet to sit. Close your eyes and try to witness your own thoughts and emotions for a minute or two.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Take a breath. Connect with a peaceful place in your body and then try to become a witness to what you’re experiencing. It could be physical sensations – heat, cold, comfort, discomfort – whatever you feel in your body. Or it could be feelings or emotions – happiness, sadness, tension or stress. Try to witness these experiences without engaging with them, analysing them or trying to change them. Be aware of your thought processes. What’s on your mind? Where are your trains of thought leading you? Whenever you notice yourself getting involved with a train of thought, try to gently disentangle yourself from it and become a witness again. Try to rest into the role of a witness and just observe your thoughts. Can you observe your thoughts without getting entangled in them? What happens if you align with your observing self and not with the thoughts? Can you rest into the witness role and just watch your thoughts floating by?

18 | 1.07 Observing your mind

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

When you’re finished with the exercise, take a few moments to write down what you experienced.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV

Tools & Meditations

19 | 1.07 Observing your mind

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SECTION II: What is meditation? 20 | 1.07 Observing your mind

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

2.01 The scientific perspective One of the first scientific studies of meditation was carried out by two doctors from Harvard Medical School in 1971.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

They measured volunteers’ brain waves and heart and lung function during meditation, and found that their metabolic rate very quickly decreased to a state lower than most people typically reach in the deepest and most regenerative part of their sleep cycle. In other words, meditation gives us deeper and more regenerative relaxation than sleep 02 CONSUMPTION DURING SLEEP & THE RELAXATION RESPONSE 4

SEC TION IV

0 CHANGE IN OXYGEN CONSUMPTION (%)

Tools & Meditations

SLEEP

-4 -8 -12

RELAXATION RESPONSE

-16 -20

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7 HOURS

These two Harvard doctors, Herbert Benson and Robert Keith Wallace, defined meditation as a “wakeful, hypo-metabolic, physiological state”. In other words, in the state of meditation the mind is awake but the body is asleep. There are several other definitions of meditation available, but this one works for us because it highlights the two central characteristics of the state we’re aiming to be in: – A relaxed body – An alert mind

There are many different types of meditation, but it doesn’t matter which technique you use as long as you can enter this state with a rested body and a wakeful mind.

21 | 2.01 The scientific perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

12 minutes A few years ago, I ran a study together with a neurologist from the University of Copenhagen.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

The benefits of meditation had already been scientifically proven – people who meditate have better health indicators across the board. They suffer less stress and fewer heart and lung problems, and report far higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction than average. But all the research had been done on people who’d spent years meditating for long periods every day. We wanted to find out – what is the minimum amount of meditation a person needs to do to get those same health benefits? To answer that question, we took 61 volunteers and randomly divided them into two groups. One was the control group – they just went about their lives as normal. The other was the active group – they meditated for 12 minutes every day for two months. We put both groups through a battery of physical and psychological tests, both at the beginning of the experiment – before the active group started to meditate – and then again after they had spent two months meditating. Then we compared the results to see what changes had occurred. We found evidence that just 12 minutes of meditation every day leads to: - Increased focus and concentration - Decreased levels of stress - Higher levels of happiness

22 | 2.01 The scientific perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

2.02 New pathways Every memory and every skill you have is stored in the physical hardware of your brain – in brain cells called neurons.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

And whenever you learn something new, you’re creating new physical connections between these neurons. You know how it is when you’re trying to learn a new skill – it’s tough at the beginning, but it gets easier the more you practice. That’s because, as you improve your abilities through repetition, the connections between your neurons are getting stronger. The more we do something, the more deeply it becomes ingrained until it becomes second nature and we do it without even thinking. That’s why old habits are so hard to break – because these neurological connections become so strong over time. One way to think of it is like wheel tracks on a dirt road. The more you drive down the road, the deeper the tracks become, until eventually it’s almost impossible to drive anywhere apart from inside the tracks you’ve already made.

MRI SCANS

In the last 20 years, scientists have carried out some fascinating experiments that show how memories and skills are linked to the physical hardware of our brains. Before GPS was invented, London taxi drivers used to have to memorise every street and landmark in the city – that’s 60,000 streets and 100,000 places of interest – before they could get their licence. Scientists looked at a few of these drivers’ brains in an MRI scanner, and found that the parts of their brains responsible for spatial relations were much larger than in other people. A different study scanned a group of professional violin players, and found that they had greatly enlarged the areas of their brains responsible for finger control.

Through regular mindfulness and meditation practice, the areas of the brain associated with empathy, focus and positive emotions get bigger, while the areas associated with stress and negativity become smaller and less active. Through mindfulness and meditation, we’re reprogramming our brains to think and feel in happier and more beneficial patterns.

23 | 2.02 New pathways

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

And the more we get into the habit of thinking and managing our thoughts, the easier and more natural it becomes. It is easy to change our minds, but it takes time to change our brains. But through repeated practice, we can create new neural pathways that translate into new gray matter in the areas of our brain used to execute our new habits. Once the brain has changed through “brain fitness” our new habits becomes our default outlook on life.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

24 | 2.02 New pathways

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II

2.03 The body-mind connection When you close your eyes and imagine biting into a sour lemon, the glands in your mouth instantly start producing extra saliva. It’s a great example of how the body and mind are connected, and how thoughts produce physical reactions.

What is meditation?

“Our thoughts are not tax free.” SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Our bodies don’t distinguish between actually doing something or just thinking about something – so, for example, if we picture a happy memory, our bodies produce neurotransmitters and hormones associated with relaxation and happiness. But if we worry about our overwhelmingly huge to-do list for tomorrow, or if we ruminate on our regrets or embarrassments, our bodies produce hormones associated with stress and negativity. It’s the body’s way of preparing itself to go into action – it’s getting us fired up and giving us the adrenal kick and energy we need to solve our problems or get our jobs done. Unfortunately, we tend to think much more about our problems and our to-do lists than we do about the good things in life. A lot of people struggle to turn off these thoughts – they run unconsciously in the background, 24/7 – and that’s bad for us in two ways: 1. It prevents us from ever truly focusing on what we’re actually doing right now. That means that our experiences always have something lacking, and nothing we do is ever truly satisfying. In other words, life is better when we’re fully engaged with what we’re doing. 2. Stress hormones damage us when they’re in our system for too long. They help us perform in the short term – but if you push too hard and for too long, you burn out. Mindfulness and meditation have great health benefits because they give you tools to manage the flow of your thoughts more constructively. This results in a healthier immune system, lower blood pressure and an overall reduced risk of stress-related disease.

25 | 2.03 The body-mind connection

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

2.04 The philosophical perspective In the West, the central philosophy around living a good life tends to go something like this:

SEC TION II What is meditation?

“I need to improve myself. I need to develop myself and connect with my goals to accomplish a feeling of fulfilment, happiness and wholeness.”

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV

At its root, this line of thinking can be traced back to one unconscious belief that most of us hold:

Tools & Meditations

“Basically, I’m a flawed person.”

The Eastern perspective is the opposite. It sees relaxation and inner fulfilment as our natural state – in other words, when we’re in a state of relaxation, we naturally feel at ease. Most of us don’t live a life of natural ease, though – we’re stressed and unfocused and rarely truly happy. Eastern philosophy therefore begins with this question:

“If I’m naturally happy and fulfilled, why am I feeling stressed and unhappy?”

According to the Eastern perspective, it’s because we take on so many different roles with the different people we encounter. You’re a son or daughter to your parents, an employee to your boss, a lover to your partner, a friend to your friends – the list goes on and on.

26 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

All of these different roles come with different obligations and expectations, and this causes us stress. We’re rarely able to rest or fully be ourselves – and eventually it becomes hard to tell the difference between our true self and the roles we’re taking on.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

Someone people, when they hear this, think that it’s incompatible with the busy lives they lead. But the message here is not that we should give up our everyday lives. Of course, we live in the real world, and it’s natural and healthy to have wide and varied relationships.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

But resting from these stressful roles and returning to our natural state for a moment helps us fulfil our roles and obligations from a better place when we return to our everyday lives.

In the Eastern tradition, the aim of meditation is to return you to your natural state. You wipe the slate clean and allow yourself to rest for a moment – free from all these different roles and obligations. You calm your nervous system and reconnect with your inner peace. In this state, you’re unworried by the past or the future. You have inner leisure – as if you’re lying on the beach. You just feel the sun on your skin and hear the sound of the ocean, and you don’t feel pressure to do anything or be anything other than who you are. Roles or ego or desires can crowd out that relaxation you’re feeling. If you start to think, “I should have / could have / would have bought an ice cream / gone for a swim / or done something differently”, you’re giving yourself stress that’s taking you away from your natural state.

“The goal is to fall into just being.” “Stress blocks your natural state.”

Your attitude in meditation In meditation, we’re aiming to be entirely present in the moment. To do this, we adopt an attitude of total acceptance. We have no agenda and desire for this mo27 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

ment to be any different than it is – we accept what we’re experiencing without judgment or reproach. You can think of it as like being your own best friend in the way that a best friend is totally supportive and non-judgmental.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Even if you’re feeling sad or angry or upset, if you sit with a friend who can be present and non-judgmental while you get lost in your feelings, their accepting attitude will soon help you come back to your natural self. If we become aware of our own inner dialogue, we find that the way we criticise ourselves in our own minds is way beyond what we would accept from anyone else. This extremely critical attitude that we hold towards ourselves creates enormous pressure and stress. Adopting this attitude of total acceptance and non-judgment gives us a much-needed break from this stress, and helps us to rest into our experience in meditation.

The inner journey Our schools and role models never taught us how to live and function in the outer world from a state of inner fulfilment – it’s just not part of our societal paradigm. In one way, adopting all these different roles is like a defence mechanism – we’re not grounded enough in ourselves to function without them. Learning to function in the outside world without losing contact to our inner selves is a skill you can learn through three phases:

1. Realisation: In the first phase of the inner journey, you “realise” who you are when you’re free of external pressures, and you’re playing any externally imposed roles. You’re simply your original self, resting in your natural state. You feel authentic, real, natural, content, free, relaxed, at ease – not because you have fulfilled any short-term need or desire, but just because you’re your own true self. In this state you have the feeling that “nothing needs to be different. Everything is perfect.” You will even see perfection in imperfection.

28 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

It’s one thing to read about these things called the “natural state” and your “true self”, but if you don’t have a conscious understanding of it through direct personal experience, it probably just sounds like a fairytale. Realisation means that when you have direct personal experience of this state, the “realisation” dawns on you.

2. Integration: Your destination on this inner journey is home. Because when you’re in your natural state, you feel at home wherever you are. “Home” becomes an inner state you can rest into, and not just one particular physical location. “Integration” means that you narrow the gap between the moments of peace you experience when you’re sitting meditating and your normal stressful life. As you go through the integration phase, you gradually expand your capacity for living in your natural state into more and more situations in your normal outer life. And you expand the feeling of inner presence to every part of your body.

3. Actualisation: Actualisation means bringing something from its potential state into its actualised state. For example, you could have a natural talent for gymnastics, but unless you practice, you won’t become an Olympian. You may have a natural talent for leadership, but unless you study and gain experience, you can’t lead a multinational company. In the same way, we all have the potential to live in our natural state, but unless we practice bringing this “true self” into the world, it will remain in its potential form, and we will continue to interact with the world only through the externally imposed roles we play. Actualisation involves a permanent shift away from playing numerous different roles, and back to your original self. You’ll no longer define yourself by your roles – a child, a parent, a stressed person, etc. At your core, you’ll be yourself. You may take on roles as needed, but inside you’ll function from your natural state. In Eastern philosophy, continuously experiencing changing states of pleasure and pain as we play these different roles is called samsara. A life of inner leisure and freedom from externally imposed roles is called nirvana.

29 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I

The journey through these three phases is a journey from samsara to nirvana.

Why

Exercise – the roles you play SEC TION II What is meditation?

Take a pen and paper, and note down what comes up when you examine these questions: What are the primary roles you take on every day?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

How do they differ with different people?

What are the feelings you experience in those roles?

30 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

Š Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SECTION III: Presence & mindfulness 31 | 2.04 The philosophical perspective

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

3.01 Presence – the invisible element that gives value to our lives Society has a big problem these days. We’re so busy and our attention is pulled in so many different directions that we’re never fully available for anything. Our minds are constantly focused on the past or the future, and that disconnects us from what’s in front of us right now, and makes us alienated and separated from each other.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

Being here now Presence is about bringing your full focus to the present moment.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

It relates to the two parts of the mind – the thinking self and the observing self. If you can align more closely with your observing self and become a witness of your thinking self, you can start to be more present and connect more deeply with your experiences. - Being present allows us to make more authentic connections with other people - It frees up our mental hard-disk and enables us to focus and perform better - It gives us charisma and makes us seem somehow more solid, decisive and rooted in ourselves

Presence in the everyday - Imagine you give your partner a hug when you arrive home from work. Of course, you’re physically present when you’re hugging someone, but if your mind is still engaged with issues from your job, you’re mentally absent. You’re with your thinking self at the moment of the hug. You’re thinking, “I have to remember this. I shouldn’t have done that.” Your partner will sense that the hug feels somehow empty. Empty of what? Empty of presence.

32 | 3.01 Presence – the invisible element that gives value to our lives

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

But when you bring all of your attention back to the moment, you become present, and your partner will feel this in you. When you’re present, you’re a more substantial person. Presence is a kind of substance that others around you may pick up – consciously or unconsciously – as a kind of warmth, peace or glow.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

- Imagine a child is telling you enthusiastically about the things she’s done today. You can look into her eyes and act like you’re listening, but if your mind is elsewhere, she’ll sense that about you. Children have an excellent sense of reality – and when she senses you’re not present, she may just turn around and move on to someone or something else. Her actions say it loud and clear: “What’s the point of talking to you – you’re not here.”

Your missing presence destroyed the moment you could have shared together. Presence is an invisible element that gives your life value.

- Imagine sitting down with your family to watch a program on TV. You’re hoping to share an experience and a connection with each other, but if one person is on Facebook, another is writing an email, and another is shopping online with their iPad, you won’t feel connected, and there’ll be a sensation of restlessness between you. But when everyone shuts down their devices and watches the program together, something magical happens. It’s like presence descends on you. Your thoughts start to wind down. Your emotions start to rest and your body relaxes. At that moment, you feel fully present in the moment. Everyone there feels close and connected to each other, and you start to enjoy the experience. Presence is elusive, but it gives you the sensation of connection to yourself and to the people around you.

- Imagine there’s an ongoing conflict in your relationship. Even if you and your partner are in bed with the lights off, you can still sense that your partner is upset.

33 | 3.01 Presence – the invisible element that gives value to our lives

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


Why

It’s dark – you’re not picking up any visual clues, and neither of you is saying anything, but you can still feel it.

SEC TION II

Children sense these things naturally, but as we grow up we start to complicate things and overlook the simple connection we have to other people through presence.

SEC TION I

What is meditation?

We have a kind of invisible communication with our surroundings through presence.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

- Imagine you’re at a meeting and everyone is on their computer or iPad. Everyone’s physically present but no one is mentally present. That means that this meeting will be unproductive.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

But when you consciously choose to be present now – when you leave aside any concerns that aren’t related to where you are right now – you bring all of your focus and mental energy to the task at hand and you become truly productive.

Throughout the rest of this section, we look at how you can become more present in your everyday life. “Presence is the greatest gift you can give to another person – and to yourself.” There’s an old riddle that goes like this: “What is it that everyone gives but no one takes?” The answer is, “Good advice.” Conversely, we could say, “What is it that nobody gives but everybody is ready to take?” By now I’m sure you know that the answer is, “Presence.”

34 | 3.01 Presence – the invisible element that gives value to our lives

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

3.02 The mindfulness attitude Being present is also known as being “mindful”. Mindfulness is an attitude.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

It’s an attitude of acceptance of facts you cannot change. “You intentionally choose to adopt an attitude of non-judgment and acceptance of the present moment – to be present in the moment.”

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Through mindfulness we develop a new relationship to our inner and outer experiences. We avoid being taken for an unconscious ride by our negative automatic thoughts, and through this we increase our capacity to live in the present. The difference between meditation and mindfulness is that meditation is a state whereas mindfulness is an attitude.

“You have uncomfortable emotions, but these emotions are not who you are” If it starts raining on a day when you had plans to be outside, you don’t need to waste your internal energy complaining or feeling hard done by. Your negative emotions won’t affect the weather, but they will affect you. You can extend the same attitude towards yourself. You can learn to align with your observing self and to witness your thoughts and emotions. From this standpoint you can allow anything to come up without giving it the authority to command your life. With this attitude of acceptance and non-judgment, you don’t need to engage with every problem and try to find solutions with actions and strategy. Instead – through stepping back and not giving these problems your energy – you can dissolve the emotional impact that they have on you. Once the emotional impact has dissipated, your problems will not weigh so heavily upon you, and your energy will be freed up to work on constructive solutions when the time is right.

35 | 3.02 The mindfulness attitude

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

A mindful attitude towards yourself Earlier we looked at how our extremely critical attitude towards ourselves gives us an enormous amount of pressure and stress.

SEC TION II

Adopting a mindful attitude can bring immediate relief from this stress.

What is meditation?

Suppose you’re thinking, “I shouldn’t have done that.” Well, if you already did it, criticising yourself now will not change what you did.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Or maybe you’re thinking, “I should have done it better.” Again, it already happened. In many ways, extending the mindful attitude to yourself is like being your own best friend. If you change your inner dialogue from cruel self-criticism to neutral non-judgment, you will find yourself in a much more peaceful and resourceful place.

36 | 3.02 The mindfulness attitude

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

3.03 Mind management – learning from the past In our everyday life, the problem isn’t that we don’t want to be present – it’s that we’re not aware we’re not present. Or if we are aware, the problem is that we don’t know how to become present. One of the keys to developing presence through mindfulness is mind management. As we’ve seen already, our thoughts and emotions are constantly in motion – they run unconsciously in the background, without us being aware of where they’re taking us. And we know from our knowledge of the body-mind connection that these thoughts and emotions cause us stress, which damages our bodies and makes us unhappy. Through mindfulness, we’re aiming to become conscious of our thoughts. The goal is for us to have thoughts – not for thoughts to have us. There’s a great quote:

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

When we become conscious of our thoughts, we can start to ensure that they’re making us happy and energised, instead of negative or demotivated.

Timeframes If we can’t choose to be here right now, either we’re caught up in thinking about events or issues related to our past, or we’re worried about things that may come up in the future. - The key to the future is to plan - The key to the past is to appreciate the good things and learn from the bad - The key to the present is acceptance and appreciation

37 | 3.03 Mind management – learning from the past

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I

Emotional resources

Let’s say you get stuck in traffic on your way to the airport, and you miss your flight.

Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

It’s easy to become angry at the circumstances or the people responsible, or to become sad about the consequences of missing the plane. But the fact you missed your flight will not change – nothing you think or feel will affect that fact in any way. It already happened. Now it’s a part of the past. Anger, regret and bitterness will make you miserable – and what’s more, that negative emotional state is not a resourceful place from which to take action to try to solve the problems that result from missing your flight.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Dealing with the past - The key here is to become mindful of the contents of our mind-stream – we want to become aware of what we’re thinking. - When we think about the past, we often return to things that went wrong. We think about how events should have gone better – how we didn’t do as well as we should – or how we embarrassed ourselves or let other people down. - To overcome this negativity, we start by recognising that we can’t change the past. Instead, we change our attitude towards our thoughts and emotions. - The aim is to consciously bring acceptance and non-judgment to the thoughts and emotions connected with the past. - Through disengagement, the problems of the past will not be solved, but they can be dissolved. - When confronted with a painful memory, we say,

38 | 3.03 Mind management – learning from the past

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


“This happened. I would have liked to have done it differently but I did not. I accept that. I learn from it. Now I move on.”

SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

- This way, we don’t have to keep revisiting the same regrets over and over. We’ve learned what we can, and we know what we’ll try to do differently in the future. - Now we can stop revisiting issues that bring us pain and regret, and shift our focus to appreciating and enjoying the good things in our past.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

39 | 3.03 Mind management – learning from the past

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

3.04 Exercise – the past I invite you to pick a memory that evokes strong emotions, and to observe how your mind deals with it.

SEC TION II

What happened back then?

What is meditation?

Where was it? When was it?

SEC TION III

What feelings come up?

Presence & mindfulness

Are you judging others? Are you judging yourself? Is there something that you feel should have happened differently in that memory? Is your mind wanting to revisit this memory because it wants to correct a mistake?

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

When we talk about accepting the past, it also means that we should accept ourselves. “I am who I am. I did what I did. I accept that.”

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Write it down:

How can you bring this lesson into the future?

40 | 3.04 Exercise – the past

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

3.05 Planning for the future We often worry about the future. We want to control it so that nothing goes wrong.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

But the fact is, no one can control the future – we have some influence, but no control. And when we accept that we have no control over the future, we can adopt a conscious attitude towards it.

Becoming conscious A conscious attitude means becoming aware of the unconscious worries we have. We know that they’re non-productive and that the constant stream of stress and worry ticking away in the background is causing us damage. And then we use that awareness to manage our mind-stream. - We direct our mental energy towards things we can actually influence and have some control over: - our attitude - our planning & strategy - our actions - We work on these things to the best of our ability – and when we’re confident we’ve done our best, we rest. - Now we maintain that conscious attitude – staying aware of the contents of our mind-stream so it doesn’t unconsciously return to thoughts that provoke anxiety and stress. Some people get worried when they hear this, and think:

“Yes, but there are some things that I want to change in my life. How can I do this if I don’t let my thoughts run into the future?”

41 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

That’s not the message here. Of course we should work to make life better for ourselves and our families. And of course we need to consider the future.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

What I’m saying is that it comes down to choice. Do you have a choice? Can you choose to come back and feel wholeness in the present moment? Are you able to rest and connect with the present moment, or are your worries about the future hijacking you and taking you for a ride? If you’re able to truly relax when you need to relax, you can work and plan from a much more resourceful place when you need to engage. Think about it – when do you do your best work? When you’re tired and stressed out, or when you’re happy and rested? Mindfulness gives you greater clarity, so that when you need to engage, the process is smoother and less stressful. It’s about using your mental energy more efficiently Remember that your ultimate goal is not simply to achieve your outer ambitions. Your deeper goal is to be happy – and that’s about enjoying life and appreciating the journey.

Positive & negative worry Learning to discriminate between “positive worry” and “negative worry” will help you when anticipation of some future event is making you anxious. Positive worry is the kind of worry that anticipates and leads to concrete solutions for potential problems. Ask yourself: Is it likely that I can actually do something about this worry? If the answer is “yes” or “maybe”, then go ahead and plan how you can best influence the outcome. Negative worry is habitual and circular. It has to do with subjects over which you have no influence.

42 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

In effect, it’s a mental rehearsal of worst-case scenarios that eventually becomes autosuggestion. It drags you down. Talk to a good friend, imagine what a wise person would do, or be your own best friend and offer yourself a mindful attitude.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

Exercise – the future Now I want you to observe your own mind when it visits the future.

SEC TION III

What is the situation or theme – children, relationships, money, career – you’re thinking about?

Presence & mindfulness

What are you thinking will happen? Are you running through worst-case scenarios over and over again?

SEC TION IV

What emotions do these thoughts evoke?

Tools & Meditations

Where is your body? Do you feel these emotions? What physical sensations do you have? Now I want you to examine the best-case scenario – what does it look like if it works out well for you? How can you make that happen? What are the steps you need to take? The aim is for you to understand the reality of the situation. You know that you can’t control the future. But you can do your best to plan for it. - If you find your mind running into the worry spiral, talk yourself through the reality again. “This is how things are. I’ll use my energy on the things I can influence. I’ll focus on my next step. I won’t waste my energy on things I can’t change.”

43 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

3.06 The present – acceptance and appreciation Suppose I’m in my car and I don’t like the way that other people are driving. I get upset, and my brain and body start to secrete stress hormones.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

My pulse increases, my stomach releases more acid, my blood pressure goes up, and my immune system goes down. All this happens because of my attitude towards the traffic.

SEC TION III

And, at its root, my attitude comes down to the thought:

Presence & mindfulness

“This moment is wrong. It should be different.”

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

We can’t change other people, but what we can do to avoid all these negative consequences is to simply change our own attitude. We can offer an attitude of acceptance towards the situation – and we can offer the same attitude of acceptance towards our own reaction.

The negativity bias Human beings tend to be negative – it’s a throwback from our evolutionary history, when suspicion and worry kept us safe from predators and rival tribes. But what that means is that we tend to overlook the good things in life, and get fixated on the things we need to improve. We can look at life in two ways:

1. Imagine sitting in your house on a sunny Sunday morning. You look around. What do you see? Maybe you start thinking, “I need to clean and paint.” “An ornament is missing.” “I must improve the decorations.” “I need to get new locks to protect my possessions.” All these thoughts come with tension – fear, doubt and worry. 44 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Alternatively, instead of looking for what’s wrong with the picture you’re seeing, you can look for the good things and feel appreciation.

2. You can look around and see the sun is shining through the windows.

SEC TION II

You can start to think, “This house has served me so beautifully.” “It’s given me so many good memories.” “I feel comfortable and happy here.”

What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

This is what it means to consciously prevent your mind-stream from being hijacked by your negative automatic mind. It’s about being mindful of what’s happening in your mind-stream and, when you catch it going in a direction that detracts from your experience, using mind-management to steer it back in a direction that serves you when. Some people react to this with the idea: “I don’t have time for all of that. I have to be productive. I have too many things I need to do already to devote energy to that.” But actually, you have many chances in your everyday life to practise mindfulness. - Mindfulness is not about giving up your life or moving to a monastery. - It’s about simply becoming conscious of your mind-stream and learning to change direction when it’s taking you for a negative ride. - It’s about learning to take a breath, and working with your attitude.

Pain & suffering We can’t avoid pain in life. But we can avoid suffering. You stub your toe on the coffee table – that’s pain. You don’t like the rain – that’s pain. Suffering is carrying it in your mind – objecting to facts you can’t change, and making yourself unhappy, stressed and negative in the process. Suffering is self-inflicted. It’s a subjective reaction to pain. 45 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


Why

We can’t avoid pain in life, but we can choose to avoid suffering when we become conscious of what’s going on in our mind.

SEC TION II

We don’t need to try to change our emotional state. We don’t want to avoid or suppress how we feel. That way, we get caught up in a kind of inter-psychic warfare, and we just end up prolonging these negative emotions.

SEC TION I

What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

As we now know, if we accept that this is how things are – that this is how we’re feeling – and we don’t try to judge or change that fact, we stop feeding them energy. They dissolve and stop causing us emotional damage without us needing to try to solve or engage with them.

Personal maturity It’s important to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve through meditation, mind-fulness and mind-management. Pain is part of life. Even if you spend many years in personal development, you will not outgrow the habit of reacting to the pain of life. But as you grow as a person, you will experience three specific signs of growing personal maturity: 1. Lower frequency of reactions 2. Lower intensity of reactions 3. Quicker recovery times

Living now Part of us always seems to live our life in transit. We’re always seeking something that will give us a feeling of happiness and wholeness: “If I can just connect with the right person... own the right things get the right body own the right car get the right pay-check... I will feel whole.”

46 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

We’re waiting for life to start somewhere in the future. But everything we’re looking for in the future – it can only be found in the present moment.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

The present moment is the only place in the world where we can ever feel happy and whole.

Managing our emotions

It’s not possible to manage our emotions through our emotions.

SEC TION III

We can’t suddenly say to ourselves, “I want to feel this way or that way”, and pick the emotion we want to feel.

Presence & mindfulness

We have to go via a different route – through our body, breath or thoughts.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Becoming more present Mindfulness, breathing and meditation are tools for becoming more present. Used together, they have a cumulative effect. The more you become able to untangle the thinking self and the observing self, and the better you become at managing your mind, the easier it becomes to rest into the present moment. Meditation is a deep and regenerative connection with the present moment – and it is also an opportunity to explore the workings of your mind, and to practise untangling the thinking self from the observing self. As with any tool, it takes practice to be able to start using them naturally.

Exercise on presence You can do this short exercise anywhere and anytime to reconnect with the present moment.

47 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Take a moment to explore how you’re feeling right now. Now, emphasise your mindful attitude – that means consciously let go of concerns about the past or the future, and adopt the attitude of noble acceptance of the present moment.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

Take three deep relaxing breaths. Take a moment to notice how you feel now – are there any changes in your sensations, emotions or thoughts?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

48 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SECTION IV: Tools & meditations 49 | 3.05 Planning for the future

© Christopher Barrat 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Introduction to tools & meditations This section has a number of breathing techniques that you can use to help you connect with the present moment and manage your mind.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

There is also advice on how to keep a log book. This is a great way to keep track of your thinking and build focus on the positive things in your life. After that, there is an explanation of how to meditate and how to build a meditation program that works effectively for you. Next, we move on to how you can build a program that works for you. Lastly, there are eight audio files to guide you in your meditation experience.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

50 | 3.05 Planning for the future

Š Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

BREATHING TECHNIQUES SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

4.01 Breathing – the bridge between the body and the mind Your breath reflects your emotions. When you have violent feelings, you’ll notice your breath becomes sharper and harder.

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

If you’re anxious about something, your breath becomes restless. When you have peaceful feelings, your breath becomes soft. Your emotions can affect your breath, but your breath can also affect your emotions. That means that if you take control of your breathing and consciously start to breathe deeply and evenly, it will have an impact on your emotional state. Calm breathing sends a signal to your nervous system that everything is OK. It’s like your brain processes the information with the logic, “If it wasn’t OK, you wouldn’t be breathing like that.” It’s like you can “hack” your brain. In other words, if you feel angry or anxious, you can begin to dissolve these emotions simply by controlling your breath.

4.02 Relaxing breath Here, we go deeper into the Ujayi breathing technique we touched on at the start. Ujayi means victory in Sanskrit. It can help us gain victory over restless thoughts. You can use it anytime you need to relax. You can use it in your car when you get stressed about the traffic. You can use it when you’re at the mall and the checkout person is too slow. 51 | 4.01 Breathing – the bridge between the body and the mind

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

You can use it when you walk between meetings at work. And you can use it in the bath when you want to relax at night.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Detox through breathing We all know we need to eat healthily, but we also need to pay attention to how we excrete our body’s waste products. Our body excretes waste products through four different pathways: defecation, urination, sweating and breathing. What most people don’t realise is that the breath is the most important excretion pathway. We excrete four times more waste products through our breath than we do through defecation. Learning to properly optimise our lung function is hugely beneficial for our physical and mental well-being.

4.03 Energising breath In Sanskrit, this technique is called Bhastrika breathing. Bhastrika means bellows – as in the tool for pumping concentrated air into a fire to create more heat. It’s a technique you can use to energise yourself. Suppose you’re working and are low on energy – you can get up from your seat, open the window and use Bhastrika breathing for a minute or two to pump more oxygen into your system.

4.04 Dynamic breathing exercise You can use this technique to prepare your body and mind for meditation. It wakens your mind, and helps you connect with your physical body.

4.05 Alternate breathing exercise This exercise combines the relaxing and energising breath techniques we learned in the previous videos. You can use it at any time of day to help you connect with the present moment by directing your awareness to the physical sensation of your breath.

52 | 4.03 Energising breath

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II

4.06 Qi kung exercise You can use this exercise at any time of day, but it’s particularly useful at the end of your meditation sessions to help you gently return from the meditative state. You can think of it as a kind of bridge between meditation and your everyday experience.

What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

53 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

Š Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

YOUR LOG BOOK SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Keeping track There is one more thing I want to share with you before we come to the actual meditation program. A log book or journal is a really effective tool for helping you tap into your attitudes and thoughts – the quality of which determine 40 percent of your potential for happiness. Researchers studied people who kept a log of the things in their lives they were grateful for, and found that after six weeks they tended to: make smoother progress towards their personal goals experience more positive feelings be more decisive experience more enthusiasm and alertness experience improved sleep, and experience fewer symptoms of disease

Here, I invite you to track your Gratitude. And also – inspired by what we’ve learned from the Eastern philosophy – to also track your Joy, Inspiration, Presence and Synchronicity. Writing a record of your experiences, thoughts and emotions helps you keep track of your life, and helps you make decisions that will bring you more happiness, meaning and enthusiasm.

How to keep a log Simply take an exercise book and then, once or twice a week, write about the things that stood out for you since you last wrote.

54 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Each time you write, you revisit recent positive experiences and look at how they relate to the following five elements:

Gratitude – What do you feel especially thankful for? Paradoxically, we don’t often appreciate the positive things in our lives until a negative change occurs. If you’re struck by illness or accident, or if your child stumbles and hurts himself, it’s common to think, “Oh, everything was so good before that happened.” But it’s rare for us to notice the good things in our daily lives while that goodness is still going on. Gratitude means taking notice of the good things in your life right now – not just when negative things happen.

What is going well in your life? And which things, people, experiences, and circumstances do you appreciate and feel thankful for?

JOY – What made you feel contented or happy? Joy is about those magical moments that occur when our body, mind, and spirit are in perfect harmony. This state arises when we’re fully present in the now, and using our strengths to do something meaningful. Most often we find real joy in activities that challenge and stretch us, and demand our full attention if we’re going to succeed. It might be reading a book and being completely sucked into the book’s universe. It might be sports, sex, or work. When we’re totally absorbed, we become completely present. We stop thinking and reflecting, and we start being. This is where we find our “best self.”

55 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


Why

Our “best self” is not constructed or artificial. It’s our identity when we’re present and in our natural state. It’s where we feel whole, authentic, present, free, and joyful.

SEC TION II

When have you felt enthusiastic? When have you been in ‘flow’ – completely absorbed in an activity? When have you felt free and authentic?

SEC TION I

What is meditation?

If you have not experienced joy and enthusiasm, then instead write about what might make you happy and enthusiastic.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

PRESENCE – When did you feel present? How did you find this presence? The sun always shines, but we don’t always feel its light and warmth because it can be hidden behind the clouds. Likewise, our presence is always there in the form of our inner witness. But it can be overshadowed by our thoughts and feelings. When our thoughts and feelings calm down, we’re able to connect to this presence. When did you feel whole, authentic, relaxed, free, and present in the now?

INTUITION & INSPIRATION – What inspired you? Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately and without the use of conscious thinking. It includes sensing intuitively how something is or how it should be handled. Inspiration enables us to create things – especially things of an artistic or intellectual nature. The word ‘inspiration’ is derived from Latin and means “to breathe into” or “God blows life spirit upon.” When we feel inspired, we experience a shift in our inner state – we feel uplifted by our ideas and visions. Have you been in touch with your intuition recently? Have you had inner “aha-moments” which simultaneously brought you into an uplifted state of mind and showed you how something in your inner or outer life works? Have you been inspired to do something that you would otherwise not have done if you were just following your routine?

56 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

SYNCHRONICITY – Did you experience meaningful coincidence? You’ve probably had the experience of thinking about calling someone and then just as you’re about to call them, your phone rings. The person you were thinking of has called you! Synchronicity means this kind of “meaningful coincidence.” When you experience a synchronistic event, you can think of it as an invitation to wonder about the deeper mysteries of our spirituality

Einstein, Jung, and Synchronicity

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) introduced the concept of synchronicity after the he was inspired by Albert Einstein. Jung had invited the famous physicist for dinner on several occasions during the years leading up to the first world war. Einstein was still developing his theory of relativity at this time, and their conversations about the possible relativity of time and space led Jung to start thinking about how Einstein’s theory could relate to his work on the psyche. “We connect two events through cause and effect. Synchronicity explains a parallelism of time and meaning between mental content and the physical event. It is something that science has yet been unable to reduce to a common principle. Synchronicity explains nothing, but it expresses that meaningful coincidences are so unlikely that, for that reason alone, there must be a principle behind them that we must learn to understand. The only thing that connects your inner state with the outer is that there is a meaning. That which you carry inside is represented by something outer, without there being a causation. The conclusion must be that the psyche is not local. We usually think that the psyche is inside our body. But I say that when it knows what is happening elsewhere, it is non-local.” Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

The right frame of mind. As with everything in life, your attitude going into something has a huge impact on the outcome.

Keeping a log will be much more effective if you first make a conscious decision that you want to become happier and more grateful.

Feel it. Revisit positive events and situations that spring to mind spontaneously and effortlessly. 57 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Experience them as gifts. Revisit them as feelings and sensations.

Aim for depth, not quantity. You’ll get the most out of keeping a log by going SEC TION II What is meditation?

into detail about a few specific events, rather than by writing a superficial list of many things.

Be personal. Focus on the people who were a part of the experiences you write about.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

Try subtracting. A great way to stimulate gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings you have now.

Appreciate surprises. Events that were unexpected or surprising tend to spark SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

stronger levels of gratitude.

Less is more. You’ll get the best results by only writing once or twice a week, and by not writing too much. It shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Try not to spend more than 15 minutes on each entry. If it takes too long to do, it will be difficult to sustain over time.

What made the experience possible? Lastly, after you’ve noted down these experiences, think about what made them possible.

Over time, this will help you become more conscious of what makes positive experiences possible, and help you choose the direction you want take in life.

58 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

YOUR MEDITATION PROGRAM SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

Building a meditation practice that works for you The most important element in creating a program that works for you is enthusiasm. Not every meditation technique is right for every person. Some people just naturally connect better with different ideas and different things. My advice here is to go with what fits for you. We all have different voices within us. One says, “You should be doing this or that.” This voice makes you heavy. It makes it difficult to get down to things because they feel like an obligation. But another voice within you is enthusiastic and interested. It says, “I want to explore this. I feel light, interested, curious.” I invite you to listen to the voice that makes you feel inspired. Use it as your inner guide to show you your way forward. What part of this program lifts you up? Go with it. Choose the exercises, tools and techniques that energise you and fill you with enthusiasm. Avoid the elements that make you heavy.

The practice A full mindfulness and meditation practice could consist of all of the elements that we’ve covered throughout this program:

59 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

- Meditation - Mindfulness - Log book - Mind management - Qi kung

SEC TION II What is meditation?

However, some people just don’t have enough space in their lives to be able to do all of these things. If that’s the case for you, here’s how I suggest you prioritise:

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

First priority: meditating once for 10–12 minutes every day

It’s more beneficial to meditate for 12 minutes every day than to do it for 24 minutes every other day. If perhaps you’re a little sceptical of what we have covered here, and you want to see if meditation really can benefit you, I suggest that you try to meditate regularly for six weeks, and then evaluate how you feel.

Second priority: Write about 3–10 positive experiences in your log book once every week Third priority: Breathing techniques

In a full program, we would use the breathing techniques before we meditate and a Qi Kung exercise afterwards. For example: - We’d begin with a 3–10 minute dynamic breathing exercise - Next, we’d meditate for between 12 and 25 minutes. - Lastly, we’d bring our meditation to a close with a 3–5 minute Qi Kung “come-back” exercise.

Fourth priority: Mindfulness

You can practise mindfulness anytime during your day towards anything that comes up in your inner or outer life. Adopting the mindful attitude in everyday life as well as during meditation becomes more natural through practice.

60 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I

Fifth priority: Mind management

You can practise mind-management techniques – focusing on thoughts, emotions and events that serve to make you happy and energised – once a week during your journaling time.

Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

As you start to build a picture of the situations your mind habitually visits in the past or future, you can write down your mind-management solutions and gradually start to incorporate them into your daily life whenever you notice your old thinking habits taking over.

Four Moments During the Day To have the best chance of creating a practice that is sustainable for you, it’s a good idea to choose optimal points in your daily routine to engage with the meditations and exercises. These are times when most people have a natural space between busy periods of their day. 1 In the morning – after you’ve used the bathroom and before breakfast. 2 During a break in your working day. 3 After work, but before beginning any domestic activities, e.g. in your car on your way home from work or right after arriving home. 4 Before bedtime.

Remember Frequency is the key to an effective mindfulness and meditation practice. It’s like brushing your teeth. You don’t do it once a month and then spend an hour brushing your teeth. You spend a little time every day to keep yourself hygienic. It’s the same with meditation – you spend a little time every day keeping your mind hygienic.

61 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


Namaste

SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

All that remains now is to once again thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this ancient wisdom with you. I hope that it will be the start of a long and fruitful journey for you, and I wish you all the best.

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

Henning Daverne

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

62 | 4.06 Qi kung exercise

Š Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV

4.07 How to sit in meditation You can sit or kneel in any way that’s comfortable for you: in a chair or on the floor – whatever suits you best – but the important thing is that your back and neck are straight. This way, your lungs and other organs can work optimally, and oxygen, blood and cerebrospinal fluid can flow unimpeded. You’ll be sitting for some time in whatever position you choose, so the main thing is that it needs to be comfortable. In meditation, you are aiming to have a deeply relaxed body, so you want to avoid any physical discomfort that could block this relaxation. Personally, I prefer to sit in a straight-backed chair with my feet flat on the ground.

Tools & Meditations

THE MEDITATIONS I have prepared eight guided meditations for you to use – a short and a long version of four different meditation techniques.

Bodyscan This meditation helps us connect with the present moment through the anchoring sensations of our physical body.

Love There’s an old Indian saying:

63 | 4.07 How to sit in meditation

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


“All the happiness in the world comes from wishing happiness for others.

SEC TION I Why

All the suffering in the world comes from wanting happiness for ourselves.”

SEC TION II What is meditation?

Unconditional love means love that’s sustainable under any condition. SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

In this meditation we explore memories and feelings of unconditional love that we have experienced and imagined – both love that we have felt for others and love that others have felt for us. We’re looking to connect with sensations and memories in a way that’s effortless and doesn’t involve reconstruction or analysis. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with concrete memories or with your imagination. The important thing is just that your memories or imagination evoke a feeling of warmth.

Mantra Mantra is a Sanskrit word that means liberation of the mind. According to the Eastern tradition, repeating a mantra can liberate us from negative thoughts and feelings, and integrate our body and mind, bringing them back to their natural state of relaxation. You could say it’s a kind of vibrational therapy. The sensation of the vibrations in your body is a strong anchor to the present moment. Bringing your focus to that sensation means that, gradually, the other thoughts in your mind will become silent. We use the ancient Sanskrit mantra, “Om.” Joining in with the mantra and humming the word “Om” will help you feel these vibrations much more effectively than just listening. If you’re in a place where it’s possible for you to do so, I invite you to take part.

64 | 4.07 How to sit in meditation

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0


SEC TION I Why

Positive zoom This meditation is underpinned by our knowledge of the body-mind connection.

SEC TION II What is meditation?

SEC TION III Presence & mindfulness

SEC TION IV Tools & Meditations

If you think back on a happy memory, your body will react as if it’s occurring right now. You can feel the warmth and joy, even if the incident happened years ago. Likewise, if you look into the future with positive expectations, your body reacts the same way. Positive thoughts make your brain release neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with happiness, relaxation and well-being. In this meditation, you learn to manage your mind by focusing on the positive aspects of reality. You allow yourself to dwell on the good things in life, without getting caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past. As in the meditation for unconditional love, you’re looking to connect with sensations and memories in a way that’s effortless, and that doesn’t involve reconstruction or analysis. Your aim is to connect with good feelings.

65 | 4.07 How to sit in meditation

© Henning Daverne 2017 v 1.0

Mindfulness meditation workbook ver l litupp  
Mindfulness meditation workbook ver l litupp  
Advertisement