One of my friends once told me that he could never look up at the stars on a bright night. because it made him feel small, insignificant and alone. However, looking at the stars makes me feel connected to everyone on the planet – for we are all standing beneath the same stars that our ancestors once looked up at. In a changing world – the stars remain constant even though they can remind us of our own mortality. It is moments like these that might make you ask the question, “Who am I?”
Every day we are aware of our bodies, rushing around and the incessant chatter of our minds. But are we just our bodies? Are we just our minds? Are we just our emotions? Mindfulness develops a fourth dimension to our perception of ourselves – that of the observer self that is able to draw all the separate aspects of ourselves into one.
You can begin to get an idea of this observer self by sitting quietly and first becoming aware of what is around you, listen to the sounds without reacting to them. Then bring the attention to your body, breath and emotions in turn. There is no need to judge any of the experiences you notice, simply observe and explore them. This is the first step towards mindful meditation. As with the Body Scan (see part 1) it brings an awareness of ourselves that we may not have had before. Mindfulness develops this technique further by later enabling us to approach and explore difficult feelings which we may have been avoiding, rather than pushing them away.
Try it for yourself… Sitting meditation by Dave Potter, Insight Timer.