Friday, 18 December 2015

Planting The Seeds

 My beginners mindfulness group were asked at the beginning to sit quietly for a few minutes. In this time, once they had begun to settle in to the session, I asked them to feel a sense of love for themselves at that moment and feel the sensation grow from their heart outwards. Then I asked for them to feel a sense of peace. Connecting the sense of peace and love (there is a hippy inside us all) I asked for each individual to consider a positive intention (a goal to work towards) for themselves; and lastly, to connect this sense of peace and love with the goal or intention. After a few moments the group were asked to choose some seeds to plant into a tray, all the while remembering the intention, as well as maintaining or re-creating the sense of love and peace. Then, to visualise the seed growing, changing, sprouting shoots and growing into the flower it will become. In this flower is embedded peace, love and the happy goal or intention. Each person was asked to take their seeds home with them, to nurture them as they grow and each day sit for just a few minutes, re-creating the sense of peace and love, even connecting with their seed. Today was about planting for peace. Imagining the plant sending out the peace and love through the roots and into the ground, to spread beyond ourselves and lead to others.Yes, this may all sound very hippy, but there is a point to this. The plant is a metaphor for a goal: the goal (intention) is to bring about positive change in the individual. By nurturing the seed (watering it, maintaining just the right conditions for it to grow) the plant has a much greater chance of survival. By feeling a sense of love for the seed, the love is actually for the self – an unconditional love with which to grow the individual’s self-belief and desire to succeed in their intention. Setting an intention gives the plant a deeper meaning. Feeling motivated to succeed and practising the commitment to succeed is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The plant is receiving the individual’s energy through the commitment to preservation.This exercise is loosely based on Metta meditation, a Buddhist practice which focuses on love of the self; love of a friend; love towards someone the individual doesn’t know/know well; sending love to someone the individual doesn’t like; and finally, sending love out to the individual’s community/the world. It is a powerful exercise, one which can invoke all sorts of emotions – positive and negative – but when practised regularly, it can harbour greater coping mechanisms in everyday life, particularly if the individual faces conflict in any aspect of their life; but can have a positive influence on self-esteem.So get planting for peace and love in your life and in your neighbourhood!

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