Following the high level of interest in our contemplative evening for HE Educators entitled ‘Finding stillness to take the next step’ on Wednesday 16th December, I have made the practices available to everyone here.
Many of you asked whether the event would be recorded. I decided not to record it but below I have provided guidance and audio recordings that will lead you through a series of meditative, creative and reflective practices similar to those used on the evening. I hope these help to create some quietness and space in which you can make sense of your experience and start to see the way ahead.
Please approach these practices with kindness for yourself and respect for your capacity and wellbeing. Reflection and meditation can bring up difficult emotions and whilst this can be helpful it is important to respect our limits. There is no need to pressure yourself to engage if it does not feel appropriate. If you do engage and find the practices too challenging or overwhelming stop them at any time and come back if and when it feels appropriate to do so. If you are experiencing acute anxiety or mental health issues or have experienced recent trauma it may be best to avoid these practices at this time or seek out an experienced meditation/mindfulness teacher to work with.
If you intend to do all the practices sequentially I would advise allowing an hour to allow for gaps in between. There is no need to do them altogether but I would advise taking sometime to settle yourself in a quiet and safe space before embarking on the reflective practices as this will help create the open and receptive awareness that really facilitates this work.
At the end of a complex and challenging year I wish you well and hope these are helpful in some way
If you have been very busy or anxious I would advise you to start here. This is a simple mindfulness practice to settle the body and mind. This will support the reflective practices that follow.
For this reflection you need a pen and piece of paper to hand. You will be guided through a meditative reflection of the year and then asked to draw something depicting the movement from where you were at the start of year, what has happened since and where you are now. It’s not about getting it ‘right’ or being ‘accurate’ just tune in to what has happened that has been important to you and consider where you are now. Not trying to change anything or ‘improve’, just noticing with an open heart and sense of kindness towards yourself.
Connecting with purpose and meaning to find the next step
In this meditative reflection I bring in different questions to help you identify what is important in your work, your sources of inspiration and the challenges you face. In the final stage you are asked to consider – what next? You are invited to allow the questions to sink into your awareness and see what arises in response to them. This exercise is not about thinking or finding a definite answer but experiencing the questions and allowing the inquiry to go deeper into ourselves to see what comes up. Have a note pad and pen handy so that once the practice has finished you can write down anything important that has come up.