The Ground of Well-Being That Can Meet Troubles or Trauma
As we learn in this interview with Dr. Richard Miller, we can find a moment of refuge or sanctuary that taps us into our own well-being as an inner resource for our resilience. Here’s an exercise from Resilience to find that moment of refuge.
Exercise: Resting in Well-Being
This exercise helps you tap into the inner resource of well-being that is always deep within, even when we temporarily lose sight of it or forget the experience of grounding in it.
1. Lie down on a bed, a couch, the floor, or the ground, somewhere you feel comfortable and safe and won’t be interrupted for five minutes. Slowly let your body relax. Let the weight of your body drop, feeling supported by the surface beneath you. You don’t have to “carry” yourself for the moment.
2. Breathe slowly, gently, and deeply, taking slightly longer on the exhalations. Breathe in a sense of ease, calm and tranquility. Breathe out, one by one, all the worries, thoughts, and feelings you might still be carrying. Breathe in and breathe out, as many times as you need to.
3. Notice a spaciousness inside your body, even inside your skull. Feel the space between any lingering tension, any lingering thoughts, any lingering feelings, like the space between notes of music. Notice the ease, the calm of the spaciousness.
4. Begin to gently focus your awareness on the presence of the spaciousness more; notice the absence, the emptiness around the feelings, thoughts, and tensions. Rest in the presence of this spaciousness for a few moments.
5. Name this feeling of spaciousness to help you evoke it later. Call it peacefulness, tranquility, calm, ease, or well-being — whatever works for you.
6. Return to your focused awareness and reflect on your experience of this exercise.
7. Repeat this exercise “little and often” every day, all day long. We often notice the storms of emotions in our lives, but we don’t always pay attention to the blue sky of well-being they are blowing through. Cultivating and deepening an awareness of that background equilibrium is a way of strengthening your resilience. The spaciousness allows your brain to hold bigger, more challenging, more difficult emotions as you move through your life.