We can use the principles of Mind Body Medicine to help us through challenging situations and our emotional responses.
One of the most basic principles is to cultivate self-awareness: the ability to witness how the mind, the body, and the spirit can affect your sense of well-being. The ability to witness how the choices you make in life affect how you feel.
How what you put in your body makes you feel. How what emotions you hold onto make you feel. How cultivating a relationship to your spiritual self makes you feel.
Once we have become aware, we can begin to practice self-empowerment: the ability to make choices about life from a space of confidence. A confidence in your ability to know who you are and what brings harmony and balance into your life.
Awareness invites us to watch where we put our attention. Our attention is in essence, energy. When we focus our attention on something, we give it energy. Underneath our attention is an intention. Many times, we are not even conscious of the intention behind our focus. Our intention, organizes energy.
Intention is prayer in its simplest form. Intention is like a hope or a wish. It can be positive, negative, or neutral.
Let’s look more deeply at the use of attention and intention.
Attention and intention are two very important tools for achieving harmony and balance in mind, body, and spirit. Through the use of self-awareness, we watch where our attention goes; where we are directing our energy. We can then examine what our intention is behind our attention. What do we hope when we place our attention on something?
As we become aware of what we are doing with our attention we can make conscious choices about whether this is for our well-being or against our well-being. Are you wasting energy and creating negative situations with your attention? Are you focused in the past or the future?
Begin to examine where your attention is moment to moment. What is the intention behind it? Is it positive or negative? By sending your energy there will it make you feel better or worse?
Below is an exercise that creates a positive use of attention and intention. It is a very useful exercise to help defuse an upset within our spirit.
The exercise uses your attention to focus on your heart. We will then set our intention to feel peace. We will imagine our heart filled with peace. As we place our attention on our heart, we direct energy to our heart. When we hold our intention to experience peace, we organize that energy to effect a peaceful experience.
In the same way, when we place our attention on a friend in need and we set our intention to send them love then we have said a prayer.
We can utilize our attention and our intention to transform our lives as we understand more clearly how we are using them in every interaction. Begin to witness or observe how you are using these tools. Take notes and share these insights with a close friend.
The following is a formal exercise you can practice at home. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit with your back straight and your feet firmly planted on the floor. Read through the following instructions:
WHEN YOU ARE READY CLOSE YOUR EYES….
TAKE SEVERAL DEEP CLEANSING ABDOMINAL BREATHS.
MOVE YOUR ATTENTION DOWN YOUR BODY TO YOUR FEET.
IMAGINE YOURSELF GROWING ROOTS DEEP INTO THE EARTH.
ALLOW YOUR ATTENTION TO MOVE FROM YOUR FEET SLOWLY UP YOUR BODY TO YOUR HEART.
MAINTAIN AN AWARENESS OF THE ROOTS CONNECTING YOU DEEP INTO THE EARTH AS YOU FOCUS ON YOUR HEART.
CONTINUE TO BREATHE SLOWLY AND DEEPLY INTO A RELAXED ABDOMEN.
THEN ALLOW THE SENSATION OF YOUR BREATH TO MOVE TO THE CENTER OF YOUR CHEST.
KEEP YOUR BELLY SOFT.
FOCUS ON THE SENSATION OF YOUR BREATH MOVING IN AND OUT OF THE CENTER OF YOUR CHEST.
IMAGINE THAT YOUR HEART IS BREATHING.
THEN ALLOW YOUR HEART TO SPEAK THE WORD PEACE.
REPEAT THE WORD PEACE SILENTLY AND SLOWLY OVER AND OVER FOR 2 OR 3 MINUTES AS THOUGH YOUR HEART IS SPEAKING.
ITS OK TO SEND OUT A PRAYER FROM THIS PLACE OF STILLNESS.
THEN REDIRECT YOUR FOCUS TO YOUR HEART AND CONTINUE TO IMAGINE YOUR BREATH MOVING IN AND OUT OF THE CENTER OF YOUR CHEST AS IF YOUR HEART IS BREATHING FOR UP TO 15 MINUTES.
IF YOUR MIND STARTS TO WANDER JUST GENTLY REFOCUS ON THE SENSATION OF YOUR FEET FIRMLY ROOTED IN THE EARTH AND THE SENSATION OF YOUR BREATH.
When you feel the process is complete, gently return to active consciousness and give thanks for this healing moment.
Dr. Dorothy Sprecher opened the Northeast Ohio Institute of Functional Medicine in 1997.