Kathryn begins her third of four weeks at AMG by explaining why we need, or rather when we may need, to change our perspective. Kathryn uses examples such as the need for very focused perspective when doing surgery as compared to when we need a broad perspective on those occasions when something negative has occurred in our life. The benefits, to our health and well being, of positive emotions and the chemicals our bodies release when we have a positive experience have been the subject of many recognised research studies around the world today.

Kathryn then leads the group in three separate meditations. The first meditation is aimed at recognising when the mind tries to narrow our focus or perspective, putting us into a well known loop of negativity. By recognising when this occurs we can learn to deal with it and return to our broader perspective.

The second meditation highlights our feeling and belief of being independent when, in actuality, we are interdependent on so many people in our lives. Gratitude is used to focus our attention during this meditation. To bring this to mind Kathryn recited a poem by Jane Kenyon (1947–1995), former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire in the US, titled “Otherwise”. The object was to encourage us to realise that despite our trials and tribulations things could be worse and that perhaps our lives aren't quite as bad as we believe.

The third meditation brings to mind equanimity; the calm amidst the storm; the idea of being able to maintain balance and a sense of being grounded when the proverbial is hitting the fan. During the meditation Kathryn helps us to broaden our perspective by reading the “Serenity Prayer”;

“May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

 

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Kathryn begins her second of four weeks at AMG by asking all to do a standing body shake - starting with the upper body and finishing with the lower body. This exercise is one practised by the director of Paliative care at Royal Perth Hospital to help patients dissipate the physical signs of stress that has built up in the body during day.

Kathryn then continued her talk on reactivity to external stimuli and what actually happens chemically within our bodies. She then details ways of shortening the time it takes for us to return from those situations that cause us to remain in that stressed state of mind. Mindfully being aware that it is happening will allow us to return to normal in a shorter period of time or, at the very least, shorten the time it takes for those chemicals to dissipate.

We all endure daily situations where we'd rather not be. Being able to be there without over-reacting and, to some degree, reducing the time that we are stressed, can be achieved with mindfulness.

Kathryn then guided the group through a 30 minute body scan meditation using mindfulness.

After the very relaxing body scan meditation Kathryn continued her discussion and talk on our reactions to the sensations we felt during the meditation with a focus on what we noticed or became aware of and not over-reacting.

Kathryn then talks on perception and conditioning within our lives. Kathryn openly relates from an example in her own life when she was nine and how this has changed her perceptions. Our conditioning affects our perceptions and our reactions to reality.

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

 

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Kathryn Choules is a regular meditator at the AMG and teaches meditation professionally. Once a year [during Rains], we are blessed to have Kathryn speak and guide our meditation.

This talk and guided meditation is part 1 of a 4 week beginners' course.  The emphasis for the  first week was on the role of Attention, Intention and Attitude in meditation. Kathryn gave examples of each and the resulting effects on our meditation as an introduction before guiding our 30 minute meditation.

After the meditation Kathryn opened to Q&A and provided good explanations to all questions.

 

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

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