In instructions for mindfulness practices we frequently hear the word “gently,” as in “gently return your attention to the sensation of breathing.” What exactly could that mean? First, it could be a call to pay attention to our experience, whether gentle or not. Being gentle sometimes requires us to slow down so that we can pay attention. We’re not in a hurry to judge or to change the experience. It could also remind us to be compassionate and kind with all beings, including ourselves. And gentleness invites us to soften the edges from the harsh, abrasive demands of hard work and busy lives. The more transformative way for you to explore the meaning of “gently” is to sit quietly for just a moment, softly breathe in the word as if whispering to yourself, and let it resonate like a bell tone over several cycles of inhaling and exhaling. What do you notice?
(Thanks go to Leslie Seabury for suggesting this topic.)
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Wishing you a fulfilling life,
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