Want to cultivate awareness? Try this short centering practice.

How are you doing?

We’re asked all the time, but it’s not always an easy question to answer honestly. It requires us to slow down and notice how we’re doing – not something we often take the time to do. It feels easier to answer with the automatic and perfunctory “Fine.”

When we are uncomfortable, often we rush to diagnose and fix, or start throwing solutions at the situation to see what sticks, or distract ourselves so that we don’t have to feel anything we don’t want to feel. But when we do that, we’re not really living.

So I’d like to share with you a simple practice to help you cultivate awareness and acceptance of your current condition, as it is in the present moment. You’ll simply observe yourself in the present moment, using the five senses and then turning inward to observe thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations. Your only tasks are to notice and allow whatever is, as it is, with no judgement.

Ready to give this a try?

Find a comfortable seat. Your eyes can be open or closed. Just allow yourself to notice your breath. No need to speed up or slow down or change the breath in any way. Just let it be as it is, and notice it.

Then, notice the ways in which your body is experiencing your environment through your five senses:

What can you feel with your sense of touch? Notice the feel of your feet touching the ground, your legs and seat on your cushion or chair, the place where your hands make contact with your legs as they rest in your lap. Notice the feeling of your clothing touching your body. Notice the temperature in the room, and the way the air feels on your skin.

Then, notice the ways you are experiencing sight. If your eyes are open: what can you see? And if your eyes are closed, can you perceive any light or shadow?

What sounds can you hear? Can you hear any sounds from outside your space (cars driving by, people talking outside, birds singing, rain)? Any sounds inside your space (heating or air conditioning, a fan, a pet moving around)?

What, if anything, can you smell? Incense? A candle? Something cooking in the kitchen?

What, if anything, can you taste? Toothpaste, coffee or tea, the lingering taste of food you’ve eaten?

Notice all of these things, without judgement. Then, turn your attention within.

What sensations can you feel within the body?

Can you sense a feeling or emotion? Simply notice and allow it as it is.

Can you sense energy within the body? Where is the energy moving? Where is it not moving?

Notice your mind. Are any thoughts present? Again, simply observe any thoughts as they are. No need to try to prevent them or attach to them. Simply notice and allow them to be present.

See if you can spend a couple of minutes simply observing all of these things: your body, your mind, your emotions, your energy, your breath.

Inhale deeply through your nostrils. Then, slowly exhale. If your eyes are closed, open them.

Take a look around the physical space where you are. Maybe notice four or five things you can see. Be aware of your presence in this moment.

When we slow down long enough to notice our condition as it is in the present moment, we become much more aware and more accepting of ourselves, no matter what’s going on with us. Simply noticing and allowing what is truly going on with us is such a powerful tool because it allows us to be aware, without rushing to judge our experience.

I made a video to help guide you through this practice. Check it out here.

This simple practice is here for you, anytime you need it. I hope it serves you!

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