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Meditation on Embracing Life with Stephen Batchelor

stephen batchelor guided meditation

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In this guided meditation, Stephen Batchelor invites you to unconditionally embrace your experience of the moment, to simply watch all thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and notice the ground of nonreactive awareness. This guides you toward a path rooted in freedom, openness, and love.

Stephen Batchelor: Thank you for joining this meditation session. I’m going to give a guided meditation which will start with where we are right now and explore how our experience might unfold along a path.

Settling in

Let’s begin by finding a comfortable posture.

If you’re sitting on a chair then make sure your back is upright, you’re not leaning against the back of the chair, likewise if you’re on a cushion.

For a few moments, just connect with what it feels like to be sitting here, in this moment.

To do that, pay more attention to your body. Pay attention to the contact of your bottom with your chair or cushion.

Bring the attention down, from the head into the heart, into the belly, right down to the sacrum on which you’re sitting.

Unconditional acceptance of your experience

two people at a celebration holding up a lantern

Notice how you feel.

Maybe there’s still a nagging thought or worry that’s running around in your mind. Maybe you feel certain emotions, maybe sadness, joy, or boredom.

Whatever is going on, embrace that, say yes to that, because that is where you are right now, whether you like it or not.

This is you, this is me.

Meditation starts with an unconditional acceptance of your experience, as it manifests in this moment.

You might find it helpful to turn your attention to your breathing, to the natural inflow and outflow of the breath.

You don’t control the breath, you don’t breathe in any specific way, you just let the body breathe as it does all the time, with the difference that you’re now aware of that process.

Let yourself just come to rest in the tidal rhythm of your breath.

If you wander off, just gently come back to your breathing, come back to your body, come back to this moment, and rest there, fully aware, fully present, encompassing the totality of what’s going on for you with a still, accepting awareness.

If a troubling thought arises, or an obsessive memory, plan, or a difficult emotion, then just let it be.

Try not to indulge it, get entangled with it, but at the same time, don’t try and suppress it. Don’t give in to the idea that you wish that weren’t happening.

It’s part of what’s being experienced now. It’s neither good nor bad. It is simply what’s happening.

If you let it be, then it will slowly fade away. It’s impermanent, like all thoughts and emotions. It comes and it goes. Let it follow its own nature.

Embrace your situation

woman floating in ocean, embracing life

Embrace your situation.

These reactive thoughts, emotions, habit patterns, reactivity, leave them alone. Let them play themselves out. Don’t let yourself either attach yourself to them or seek in some way to reject them. Embrace them.

You may also notice that in being mindful of what’s going on in this way, even if there is much turmoil, chattering thoughts, the mindfulness itself is nonreactive. It’s simply aware.

It’s aware of what is pleasant, of what’s unpleasant, but it itself is not caught up in the reactivity.

Try to be more aware of this nonreactive quality of mindful attention.

What does that feel like?

Try and identify the stillness within which the noise takes place and rest in that, still, silent, yet fully aware.

For the Buddha, emptiness meant the absence of reactivity, a space that is always with us, as long as we’re conscious and aware, but is often overlooked.

Try paying more attention to your nonreactive awareness, valuing it, treasuring it as the ground from which you can live with yourself, with others in the world.

Entering a path rooted in freedom, openness, and love

We could summarize this meditation as one in which we first embrace our experience of the moment unconditionally.

Second, we let whatever distracted thoughts and troubling feelings and emotions be. We watch them, accept them, but don’t get caught up in them, nor reject them.

Thirdly, we notice the ground of nonreactive awareness. This emptiness which lies at the heart of our experience and affords us the possibility of living a life no longer driven by reactive habits, fears, desires, hatreds, but which is open to the suffering of the world, the suffering of life, to which we may now respond rather than merely react.

At that point, we find ourselves entering a path rooted in freedom, openness, and love.

You may find it useful to remember the acronym ELSA: Embrace, Let be, See the stopping, and Act, actualize a path in life.

Thank you very much, I hope you found that helpful, I wish you well.


Hosted by Scott Snibbe

Produced by Annie Ngyen

Marketing by Isabela Acebal


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