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Mindful : June 2014
Release the Eyes In both formal mindfulness practice and daily life, notice the tendency for the energy of the eyes to aggressively “grasp” at ex ternal reality. This feeling can also be described as constantly “going out to get” objects in the visual field rather than letting objects “come to you.” Whenever you notice this pattern, practice the following exercises: 1 Allow the muscles of the eyes to completely release. If you notice that the muscles are par ticularly tight or fatigued, do a few ver y gentle clock wise and counter-clockwise circles with your eyes. You can also lightly visualize any excess tension draining down from the eye sockets, through your body and into the ground. 2 As the eyes let go, become attuned to the spaciousness of the visual field. Appreci- ate that the eyes can take in information with absolutely no effor t. You don’t need to do the seeing. Instead, your at tention meets the visual field with soft awareness. The softness of the visual field gives rise to a sense of being balanced and oriented in space. Mindfully orienting to the visual field creates an immediate sense of safety and engagement with our environ- ment. It is for this reason that it is one of the first and most impor tant tools taught in many forms for trauma therapy. 3 Appreciate that by doing noth- ing but consciously releasing the eyes, relaxation, spacious- ness, and attention are all enhanced. During daily life, notice that when you return to the present moment after a period of disas- sociation, it is often the visual field that wakes up first. There is a sense of suddenly seeing your environment, sometimes after hours of being totally unconscious of it. In this situ- ation, giving attention to the vividness of the visual field— even for a few seconds—is a great entry point for resuming your practice of mindfulness of the breath or body. When you study the facial physiology of babies, the complete lack of excess tension, the “receptivity” in the facial tissues, and the general sense of equanimity are striking. 1 in practice insight 74 mindful June 2014 UPCOMING 2014 TEEN MINDFULNESS RETREATS WWW.IBME.INFO Northern California • June 20th - 25th Pacific Northwest • June 23nd - 27th Teen Wilderness • June 28th - July 7th (Emigrant Wilderness, CA) Virginia Summer • July 6th - 11th Young Adult Wilderness • July 11th - 20th (Emigrant Wilderness, CA) Southern California • August 2nd - 7th Colorado Wilderness • August 14th - 19th Nashville • Sept. 26th - 28th Come unplug and tune in! Our retreats teach teens the basics of self-awareness, mindful communication, and techniques to calm and focus the mind - the foundations for success in all areas of life. Each day includes mindfulness meditation, small group discussions, yoga and creative workshops- arts, music, nature and sports. “The teen retreats are one of the most inspiring aspects of how mindfulness practice is unfolding in the West. The transformation that happens here is amazing.” -Joseph Goldstein, Founder, Insight Meditation Society MINDFULNESS EDUCATION INWARD BOUND Transformative Retreats for Teens