Spot by Spot Meditation
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Spot by Spot Meditation
Spot by spot meditation consists of looking over our whole body from head to toe using the strength of silent awareness built up through meditation. This technique can be used to release emotions stored within our bodies as well as an entry technique to build up awareness for both concentration and insight meditation.
Every time we experience an emotion there is a corresponding reaction in our body, check it out for yourself and see. When you experience anxiety you will feel it around your windpipe, stress in upper chest, sadness around your heart and fear in your upper stomach. All emotions can be felt in our bodies, the difference between how negative emotions, ones that cause us to suffer, can be felt and positive emotions, ones that cause us and others around us to feel good, is that the first ones cause contraction and the second relaxation.
Negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, desire and sadness cause a corresponding part of our body to constrict and tighten; this stops the energy inside us from flowing, like a dam. Positive emotions such as unconditional love, compassion, gratitude cause our bodies to soften and feel lighter, allowing the energy in our bodies to flow freely.
If not addressed over time negative emotions store up inside us, like a dam, internally they feel like tension and eventually a festering wound, that with the slightest little poke will cause pain which comes gushing. If unaddressed this build up of energy can manifest as physical illness, such as tumours or cancer, not to mention the mental illness and madness that comes from viewing a world that is coloured by these states of mind.
Releasing the Build-up
We can release the emotional build-up stored within our bodies by applying strong awareness magnified by concentration to the area. This is what we do in spot by spot meditation, by starting at the top of our head and focussing all our attention, one spot at a time, on an individual area, any tension or sensations within that area will become obvious.
We then soften into the area helping it to relax; this then allows any stuck energy to move. This can be experienced in many ways from relaxation to vibrations or pulsing, it depends on our own perception or the strength of our awareness; regardless we stay on each spot until it is fully relaxed.
Once there is nothing more to see in the first spot we move onto the next, looking at one area at a time, the size of a fifty cent piece. We keep doing this from head to toe, just passively watching as closely as we can. How thorough we are depends on how much time we have, you may find some areas are more productive then others and want to spend more time on them.
The important thing is to apply silent, unjudging attention to each point, if you allow thinking to sneak in the back door and start commenting then you will be viewing through a tainted lens, perception will kick in and colour the experience.
How to Do It
For this meditation posture it can work lying down just as well as staying in a traditional meditation sitting posture. The reason for this is that we are not trying for very deep levels of concentration; instead we just need to get to a level where our body and mind is relaxed without losing our ability to feel it.
This technique can be used as a method of falling asleep, especially if you have insomnia or are feeling stressed, if this is the case then practice it lying on your back in a bed, hands by your side. If you wish to lie down but not to fall asleep I have had great success with lying flat on my back on the floor, you do this with your arms slightly out from your side and legs slightly apart. The solidness of the floor will generally stop you from falling asleep but if you do then it isn’t really a bad thing.
Often you can wake up from this feeling like you have had the most relaxing sleep you have ever experienced. This is because as your mind quietens and your present moment awareness grows, all thinking and negative emotional states are temporarily suppressed, allowing you to experience pure sleep untainted by emotional charge and chatter.
Take a comfortable sitting posture that you can stay in without moving for the desired length of your meditation or lie on the floor or your bed on your back. Close your eyes and take a deep breath then breathe out letting all thoughts and tension drop away. Slowly scan from the top of your head to your feet and release any knots and tensions you come across by breathing into them.
Make a half smile on your face and then be aware of your whole body, of its heaviness and the sensations within. Every time you breathe out allow your body and mind to relax and grow heavier.
1. Starting at the crown of your head concentrate on a spot about the size of a fifty cent piece, relax into this area and let any tension go.
2. Next pick another spot towards your forehead and do the same.
3. Slowly move spot by spot across your face, including the eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, lips and tongue.
4. Do this in no rush relaxing each area and only moving on when it is finished. During this technique do not think but soundlessly watch, ignoring past and future or any external distractions.
5. Move to the back of your head and do the same, spending extra time when you feel tension that is harder to release.
6. Move from your shoulders down your left arm, then your hand and using spot by spot on each finger, then do the same for your right arm.
7. Do the same for the front of your body, spending time at your windpipe, chest and top of your stomach in the curve of the rib cage.
8. Next move down your back and do the same, across your hips and down each leg.
9. Spend extra time at the bottom of your feet and toes
Once you have covered your whole body go back to full body awareness, relaxing with each breath and practice letting go, allowing your body and mind to sink deeper and deeper.
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This article was written by Stephen Procter, instructor from Tai Chi Health for Life, Australian College of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor from Meditation in the Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you