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Mindful : December 2018
ALONE WITH OTHERS Now, do this exercise in a busy public place like a shopping mall, airport, or train station. Find an unob- trusive place to sit or stand. As before, take some time to let your body settle and feel the suppor t of your seat or the ground. Lower your gaze, notice what’s going through your mind, then drop your attention down into your body—sensing especially inside your torso. Notice any sensations in those areas such as tightness, pressure, or a fluttery feeling. Whatever you find, just be with it, give it your friendly attention. After a while let your gaze rise to take in everything that’s going on around you. You don’t need to look around with your eyes, just open your awareness and receive whatever visual images and sounds are going on in the space. As you do this, keep sensing inside your body. How is your body receiving the presence of all the other people? How does it feel to be alone in their presence? Try not to focus on any particular person or detail, keeping your awareness as broad and open as you can. If you feel self-conscious, that’s fine—notice the physical sensations that come with feeling self-conscious. The point of the exercise is simply to notice how your body is responding to your environ- ment as you also hold a sense of solitude in yourself. Allow yourself to become aware of these inner sensations without having to react to them. If you find yourself getting anxious, lower your gaze again and let your inner sensations subside or change. Experiment with raising and lowering your gaze and being aware of what is going on around you, while not losing touch with what is going on inside you. ● December 2018 mindful 53 insight