In the meantime, we start with The Practice taught by the School of Practical Philosophy.
This is one of the most useful and effective tools we have come across in the past twenty years and use variations of it whenever we start a class, workshop or retreat.
The practice is based on simply focussing on the 5 senses and paying close attention to what is experienced in the present moment.
Where-ever you are, whether it is at your desk, in the traffic or in a challenging situation, simply bring your attention to your senses.
You can start with connecting to your sense of touch, as it is the most immediate. First your feet, the hands, the touch of clothes on the skin and the play of air on your face. Extend this if you like, to bring attention to the sensations you are feeling in your body.
Then become aware of what you can taste in your mouth and the aromas that you can smell.
Now take your attention to your sight, becoming aware of whatever you can see behind your eyes, if they are closed, or the rich contrasts, shapes and colours, if they are open. I find it does help to close your eyes, as it isn’t as distracting.
Lastly, connect with your hearing. Starting with the sounds in your immediate environment and then sending your attention outwards to encompass sounds from further afield.
That’s it! End the exercise off by noticing how different you feel !