Venerable Amy Miller leads a guided meditation for healing anxiety that helps you create a safe mental space, reconnect to the positive, and relax your body through breathwork and thought-replacement.
[00:00:00] Ven. Amy Miller: So moving into a meditation to counter fear, anxiety and worry. The beginning is we’d like to set ourselves up in a comfortable posture.
Grounding the body and mind
Making sure the spine is as extended as possible, but what’s most important about a meditation posture is to relax yourself as much as possible.
We’re often very wound up in meditation. So you want to make sure your shoulders are not up by your ears, that the brow is relaxed, the jaw is relaxed, and just take a moment.
Take about a minute to scan through your body, using your inhalation to open up space in any places you’re holding tension in the body, allowing the tension to release with your exhalation.
If you’re in a chair, placing the feet flat on the floor or on a cushion on the floor, or if you’re in a crosslegged meditation posture that is fine. Feel the grounding right now with the earth, regardless of what size building you’re in. As if there are roots from the earth coming up to support you; always held there by those comfortable roots.
Setting a motivation
And let’s take a moment to consider the posture, the mind, your attitude right now. If we find that we’re a bit off balance because of anxiety right now, because of fear, we can change that outlook by setting a good motivation.
If you find the mind is relatively spacious and balanced, you can further enhance that by setting a good motivation.
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, we’re very focused on benefiting all living beings. The best way to do that is from an omniscient consciousness. So as a Buddha who has an omniscient consciousness.
So if that’s something you’d like to include in your motivation, this can help you move along that path to full awakening. But the real purpose is to benefit all living beings, that maybe you then unlimitedly can help others with their anxiety and fear.
Fantastic. Feel free to include that in your motivation. Just taking a moment right now, directing your mind in a most positive way, for this meditation.
Let’s explore why you may have fear, worry, and anxiety in your mind. The root of it is often a misconception of ourselves, a wish for things to be permanent, to not change.
So certain things we cling onto, wanting them to remain the same and an inflated notion of ourselves. And so what happens is with anything that interferes with that notion of ourselves, it creates a fear of being separated from that, of losing what we hold dear. Sometimes in aversion of the unpleasant coming in, of experiencing something unwanted.
So we end up catapulted between the attachment, holding onto something, clinging on, and an aversion, wanting something to go away, which creates a lot of fear and anxiety.
Just by having a better understanding of how our mind works, it can often begin to help us analyze, to reduce the fear and anxiety.
So let’s first look at a specific antidote, being aware of and acknowledging your fears. Let’s think about cyclic existence, what we turn through as human beings.
This is what we experience, and its nature is suffering. So just contemplate for a moment, we’re going to have problems. It’s natural. Just explore that for a moment.
Can you find a way of a little bit of acceptance to help decrease a fear of problems coming, more problems coming, or this problem deepening?
And as a result of this, you’re not the only one experiencing these sorts of problems. Many, many people on the planet have these problems.
If I can overcome my own fear and anxiety, maybe I can help someone else with a similar experience.
Breathwork and thought-replacement
Begin to deepen your respiration, just stay with the experience of your breath. Deeply moving in, filling your body with healthy oxygen, releasing the tension from fear and anxiety, as much as you can.
Letting go of the gripping of the fearful thoughts. That’s not what we’re concentrating on right now. Simply pay attention to the air as it enters your nostrils, goes down into the lungs. Notice the expansion of the lungs, notice the shifting of the abdomen, and upon exhalation, notice the contraction and the air up and out the nostrils.
Just stay there with your focus.
Deeper breathing is always accessible to us. Because when we feel fearful, anxious, we start shallow breathing. Then we’re not getting enough oxygen to our system, which creates more anxiety.
So you can just notice that.
And if you can, as much as possible, begin to deepen the respiration. This immediately helps you calm down a bit.
It’s okay if it’s a little rough or choppy in the beginning, you just continue to practice that. It takes time. Keeping the focus there as much as you can.
You can do this for as long as you like, pressing the pause button on the meditation whenever you like. If you notice ruminating thoughts of fear and anxiety arising, as you inhale, bring in a positive thought, hope, let that sift through your whole being body and mind as you exhale, despair.
Breathing in expansiveness, exhaling, overthinking.
Bringing in positivity, exhaling hopelessness.
Put it into your own words, inhaling something positive that soaks through to your bones. Exhaling what is no longer necessary of the fear and anxiety.
If you notice the ruminating thoughts of fear and worry, can you notice them transform them into bubbles? Bubbles of thoughts and bubbles have no essence, they’re very light.
Let them float away as much as you can; rather than grabbing hold of one, solidifying it, making it heavy and building that trench of fear and anxiety in your mind.
As best as possible, let it go. Keep practicing that. Watching the bubbles float off.
Let’s analyze a little more closely, facing your fears is very, very helpful. So you wanna understand exactly what you’re afraid of, what you’re worried about. So ask yourself, Is it reasonable to have this fear?
And check, is there anything you can do right now to prevent this unwanted thing from happening or to minimize the chances of it happening?
If there is something you can do, plan strategically yet, realistically. Small increments every day, working towards that step. Again, what is reasonable? Take action. You can do it.
Sometimes you may realize there’s little or nothing that I can do.
Can I learn to accept that some things you cannot change? Can I breathe in? I accept it. I exhale. I accept it. It’s the best I can do.
Can you make a determination in your mind right now to spend more time learning to accept the things you cannot change? But perhaps making a commitment in your practice to invest a little bit more realistically in your practice. Make that commitment to yourself right now with something realistic you can do.
Creating a safe mental space
In conclusion, can you imagine a happy space for yourself? Some memory that brings you great joy, visualizing yourself in a very peaceful environment.
And at the times when the fear and anxiety seems overwhelming, can you commit yourself to practicing, to visualize yourself in this place? Try as best as you can right now to conjure up this space.
Put yourself there in the middle of it, get a sense of the sounds, the temperature of the environment, lovely smells you’re noticing, sense of feeling of security and peace.
And in conclusion, may we dedicate, may we invest whatever positive energy we’ve created, to our being able to counter anxiety and fear as much as it comes into our mental space.
Can we counter that more and more by practicing some of these techniques, as much as you’re able. But really with this wish to progress along a path to enlightenment where you’re then fully empowered to help lead all others out of their fear, worry, and anxiety as well.
Thank you so much.
If you enjoyed this episode, please consider making a donation to our podcast. A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment is a nonprofit organization supported entirely by donations that keep all our content free and ad free. To support us now, visit our website at skepticspath.org. We accept cash, credit, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies and your donations are tax-deductible in the U.S.
Audio mastering by Christian Parry
Marketing by Jason Waterman
Digital Production and Social Media by Isabela Acebal