The Base Meditation is made to build on your meditation fundamentals. A foundation built on the awareness and internal equanimity/balance needed to be able to perform to the full extent of your total capacity. We use our awareness of breath as the tool to stay centered and to mediate with the sensation/sensations of the body combined with a clear silent mind. This creates a chain where all the different parts, which usually work as individual links, are fused together to create a state of internal stability, alertness and energy.
In this Base Meditation you will learn how to step by step get familiar with each link in the chain and how to, using your conscious awareness and attention, practice constructing and deconstructing this chain. Through practice you will get familiar with each link individually and how they interact and affect each other. When harmony is reached between them we have mindful action in performance, a state that without experience or natural talent can be difficult to reach. Mindfulness in action can also be called an A-Game state, the Zone, or in a state of flow in the context of modern performance.
As opposed to a mindful performance we also have the “unmindful” performance, meaning to somehow be out of touch with your full capacity or skill set leading to a poor delivery. When emotions run high, we are stressed, or in the middle of an ongoing performance the ability to return to a mindful peaceful state is a powerful one. And without a solid base of Awareness – Breath – Body – (clear) Mind we can not reach these states consciously. When emotions run high, we are stressed, or in the middle of an ongoing performance the ability to return to a mindful state of performance is a powerful one.
No matter what you like to call your highest state of peak performance, the underlying faculties of awareness and the chain of Awareness-Breath-Body-Empty Mind (fullness) is the base or foundation for any performance. “Performance” in this case is used broadly and can include any “arena” where there is internal or external pressure on you to deliver. The examples are endless, it can be in sports, dance, public speaking, taking tests, going on a date, exercising, writing, a balancing act, driving a car or any other form of self-expression. This chain directly supports all of those acts….
Your awareness and quality of breathing is a fantastic tool you have to help keep you present, fully focused, and cognizant of your surroundings. As soon as there is a drop in performance quality the first physical sign is the breath, this is why we practice using our breath to regain balance as soon as we take notice of that. And for most of us this is an entirely new daily practice. By always returning your awareness to the sensation of breathing you know the default action and to have a physical correction to any negativity that arises internally or externally at any given time.
You give precedence to the internal state first and correct it if needed before you deal with your immediate surroundings and what the situation requires of you. Without a functioning base any other action is premature. This would be the equivalent of first focusing on regaining balance before falling, you attempt this first because it is the appropriate action. When we trip on something, we instinctively go to our base or that center core with our awareness. We want to do the same when we aren’t performing well, return to base first, regain balance, and regain clear attention of the task at hand.
This can be made into your go to move and can be done instantly with practice. It is like a default sequence you flow to with the aim to reach an inner state of calm. A deeper space that is closely linked to ‘Your Space” a space of well being, balance, and clear perception located underneath any experienced negativity.
Once we have regained awareness of breath and reclaimed inner balance, we want to “anchor” that awareness to the sensation of the body, which is often felt as a more tangible and real since it has physical mass. The way this is done is by including the body into that field of awareness by first observing and putting juice into feeling what’s going on inside. We can then extend or expand the awareness of breath to also cover the sensation of the body uniting the two. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that they support each other or give each other added stability.
Bodily awareness means to move the attention from breath to feeling or sensation of your body in the moment. Which can be difficult enough in meditation with less or no external distractions in a comfortable place, not to mention in a situation of pressure and intensity. Something as simple as where and how you place your feet is what prevents you from that you walking into things. The more absent minded we are the more difficult. This way we make it more difficult to space out through negative self talk or by beginning paying attention to things that are out of our control.
Awareness of the body makes it more difficult for thoughts to arise that negatively impacts our performance, it keeps us grounded.
The last link in the chain is the mind and is a delicate part of the stability of the overall base. The mind is placed last in order of attention and awareness in this meditation. The order of “relevance” is an entirely practical one, it is given the place of a passenger and not as the decision making pilot. This analogy is not only intended as a theoretical explanation, it can also be experienced as an internal physical shift of awareness/attention from being caught up in thoughts or negative self talk to separate physical sensations.
The mind tends to dominate our daily awareness of everyday life, but in performance it is not always the right move to let thoughts dictate. Too much thinking during any performance can make us lose concentration and prevent us from reaching delivering our skill to the best of our ability. This is a way to override the momentum we are stuck in, which is great if that happens to be a mindless or incapable one. It provides the chance to clear the mind in one swoop and get back into performance mode. This is meditation in action.
To have a clear empty mind for a longer period of time is a challenge for most and can even seem like an impossibility for some, but either way it is something that can be practiced. No matter what kind of state your mind is in, you can use mechanical physical techniques to change it. There is no requirement of theoretical, or other, understanding of what meditation is or how it is to be done for it to work. What meditation “is” is self revealing with practice and understood from the standpoint of experience and “know how” and not through higher understanding of theories and concepts.
“The only clear thinking is no thinking”
When you mind is empty it can take everything in and allow for inner silence and your heart space to realize what is in fact taking place. Without judgement, comparison, or personal bias.
The saying “there are no need for teachers” also highlights this valid point. Instead of following an external source in the form of a teacher for guidance, advice, and validation that we are “doing it right”. All we need is the direction, which is inwards, and develop our deeper latent self and we can self realize ourselves from within so to say. Intuition, being in the moment, trusting your gut, and acting despite fear for example all begin with quieting the mind. Once the mind is quiet we can implement other techniques of breathing, awareness and perception to your set of skills.
The main priority in any situation, even in the ones without intensity and pressure, is to avoid losing our internal balance. If we do then we get varying degrees of decrease in performance, once the chain of Awareness – Breath – Body – Mind is weakened, destabilized or completely broken down the appropriate first action is to return to the center and rebuild the chain again.
But we need to do the work and the actual meditation practice to prepare ourselves, understanding provides little help under pressure. Only practical know how and the habit to react correctly in difficult situations is what is needed, you could say that we hardwire that into ourselves on a deep level in the practice.
Continuous practice is good because it keeps us up to date with what’s going on, we change as time goes by. Having a clear mind is not a binary affair and it fluctuates and changes with time and from moment to moment. This is also why it can be difficult to track progress or enhancement in meditation without sufficient self verifiable experiences and self-realizations. Until you have that experience you can use the Base Meditation to point the direction inwards for you. With a few simple techniques you can reach other states and develop your own style of meditation depending on your particular need and situation.
You find the Base Meditation on the Living with The Spirit Podcast at Apple Podcast, Google and Spotify. If you have any questions or if you can not find the meditation, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Heart Work Pays Off!
//Sara, Simba & Friends