Strengthening Anchor

During meditation, something is often calling for our attention, and we are easily distracted or feel restless. To cultivate steadiness and to stay in the present moment, we turn toward our chosen anchor such as the breath with curiosity and a beginner’s mind. This practice is also intended to help us stay anchored whenever triggered by what someone say or do. Inspired by Sarah Kay’s poetry “The Paradox”. Here is an extract.

When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.

When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.

When I read about love, I think I should be out loving.
When I love, I think I need to read more.

I am stumbling in pursuit of grace,
I hunt patience with a vengeance.

I spend most of my time wondering
if I should be somewhere else.

So I have learned to shape the words thank you
with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night.

When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful
for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.

All those places I made it to,
all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.

And even if it is just for one moment,
I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 21 mins

Image credit: Andrea Caramello, Unsplash

To register for our Wednesday Pause, live Zoom sessions, go here

Keeping Quiet, Resting The Body

During this Eid festive season, the invitation is to allow the mind to quieten and the body to rest and recharge. For those who had or will be receiving their vaccination shots for Covid-19, this mini body scan offers a helpful response to ensuing side effects like fever and body aches. Stay safe and healthy.

Inspired by Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda.

Life is what it is about…

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
death.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Transitioning

Transitions in our external world are also felt inside us, expressed in changing thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body. Sometimes the transitions feel painful, uncertain, worrying or hopeful. We may end up more fixated with the destination and lose the opportunity to learn something new about us in the process of transitioning. To get comfortable with change, we practice getting comfortable with transitions experienced in our inner world. This is done by noticing our experiences moment-by-moment while keeping our awareness on the breath and accepting whatever that is arising with a welcome mat.

Register to join us in future Wednesday Pause mindfulness practices here

For a complete archive of our meditations, visit here


Inspired by the poem I Am A Transition (extract), by Emu Getachew

Transition…I think I am? I am a progression! 

I am the vacancy between the alphabets. 

My feet travel silently.

Back and forth-side to side  with a blazing desire to transit.

Asking who I am? 

I am a transition-I reply, not a completion. 

But a passage, traveling between the alphabets of time  in self-expedition.


Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 22 minutes

Image credit: Astrid Shaffner, Unsplash

Not Living A Half Life

Inspired by Khalil Gibran’s poem, this practice is about showing up for ourselves in the present moment instead of living following other people’s agenda and our to-do list which is often the case. Enjoy!

Not Living Half A Life (extract)

Half a life is a life you didn’t live, 
A word you have not said
A smile you postponed 
A love you have not had
A friendship you did not know
To reach and not arrive
Work and not work
Attend only to be absent
What makes you a stranger to them closest to you
and they strangers to you
The half is a mere moment of inability
but you are able for you are not half a being
You are a whole that exists to live a life 
not half a life.

Dealing With Distractions

A thought easily produces a chain of ideas, intentions, stories, and next thing we know, time has passed. Life has passed. Sometimes we unwittingly shoot another arrow, for example, chiding ourselves for having certain thoughts.

Another trap is when a negative thought arises, we think “positively” to “neutralize”. That is helpful if the intention is to see a more realistic picture. It is not helpful if we’re adding thoughts that are potentially false and speculative simply to make ourselves feel better or to justify ours or other peoples’ actions. It’s a survival instinct.

An alternative response is to let thoughts be like water flowing in the stream instead of adding more. And if we choose to, mindfully directing our energy to thoughts that really matter and to be kind to ourselves for having thoughts. We look deep down to find what matters and what is true for us.

Inspired by Ryokan’s poem:

Keep your heart clear

And transparent,

And you will

Never be bound.

A single disturbed thought

Creates ten thousand distractions.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 22 minutes

Image credit: Yan Laurichesse, Unsplash

Only Kindness Ties Your Shoes

This Wednesday’s practise is about inviting kindness into our experiences, and is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye’s poetry “Kindness”.

Duration: 23 minutes

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Andriyko Podilynk, Unsplash


Kindness, Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Changing Moments

Kobayashi Issa, Zen poet and scholar wrote:

This world of dew

is a world of dew

and yet, and yet.

What he wrote could be interpreted as the law of nature is as it is. Accepting and adapting to these laws, we could become more comfortable with changes and be less unhappy.

In this practise, we observe nature that is our changing experiences such as thoughts, emotions and body feelings moment-by-moment, and cultivate the capacity to accept what’s here for us like unwanted thoughts without needing to have a different experience.

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 24 minutes

Image credit Sven Mieke, Unsplash

Emptying The Boat

Is there something that’s sitting on your boat that’s slowing your down? Causing you to crave or to resist? Causing unhappiness? Here’s a practice on letting go.

Duration: 25 minutes

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Natalya Erofeeva, 123rf

This is a recording of our Wednesday Pause sessions, 12:30-1pm SGT (4:30am GMT). Register here

Stillness

Finding stillness in calm. Being still puts us in a state of not always needing to react and fix, and to simply let go.

Duration: 23 minutes

Guide: Noelle Lim

Image credit: Kote Puerto, Unsplash