Mindfulness in daily life

 

A special place

Imagine yourself in a special place…

Sometimes a guided meditation will invite us to imagine ourselves in a special place. And a music and imagery experience during Guided Imagery and Music may also start in a special place at the onset of the inner journey. This special place can be much more than simply a pleasant environment to enjoy for a while – it has the potential to become a wonderful inner resource.

 It helps if we’re already in a relaxed state, for example by meditating for five or ten minutes first. We can then bring to mind a special place, a place where we feel safe, relaxed and at ease. It can be a place we know, or a place we have seen photos of, or it can be a place in our imagination.

 We then spend some time looking around, and noticing our surroundings – the different plants perhaps if we’re outside, any animals or other people, the quality of the sunlight, the sounds of birds or the ocean or a bubbling creek. We can smell flowers and freshly cut grass or pine trees or the ocean. We can lie down on the ground and feel how soft or hard it is, and allow ourselves to relax deeply. Or we can go for a swim in a forest lagoon, or watch the stars and the moon at night.

Research has shown that imagining a scene, especially if we spend some time making it as vivid and multi-sensory as possible, can have a similar effect on our brains and nervous system than if we were actually present. So the special place can become an inner refuge, a place we can go to if we want to feel a sense of calmness and rejuvenation. Perhaps we’re having trouble falling asleep, or we need some time out during a hectic day. We could close our eyes and spend five minutes during a train commute imagining ourselves there. 

Of course, the special place doesn’t have to just exist in our imagination. We may have a place in our garden or in nature where we love to spend time and feel at peace. It can be a mini-sanctuary, allowing us time out from constantly being busy – and it can be a place we can return to again and again, to rest for a while and allow ourselves to feel rejuvenated.

Anja Tanhane