photograph by Michael Wood

photograph by Michael Wood

Embodied listening II

Embodied listening level II is an opportunity to refresh, deepen and enrich the core practices of mindfulness-awareness meditation, Alexander body work, and Mindful Focusing. Level II matures our emotional intelligence skills and moves them more into the sphere of “real life.” In Meditation Practice we begin to raise our gaze and move from a narrow focus on present-moment mindfulness to awareness of sense perceptions and our environment. As we do this, we begin to experience a quality of spaciousness that can accommodate and ventilate all the different textures of our physical, emotional and cognitive lives.

In the Alexander Work, the practice of “Downright/Upright” cultivates feeling the support of the ground while becoming more aware of the space around us. Together they anchor a “neutral” state in which whatever arises, pleasant or unpleasant, is directly experienced. Greater attention is given to how we move in space and perform the activities of daily life.

On the Mindful Focusing side, we will emphasize strengthening our capacity for self-empathy, dealing with “inner critic” attacks, and inviting deeper issues to surface. We will explore the issue of “spiritual by-passing”—using meditation and other spiritual or ritual techniques to avoid dealing with psychological and emotional challenges that block us from realizing our full potential. We will continue to work in pairs and further develop our listening skills to better support our partner’s process and build more authentic communication with the important others in our lives.

Embodied Listening becomes a form of love, a way of attending to and appreciating our bodies’ wisdom and the felt textures of our own unique life challenges.