TCI Transmission 07: Carried by currents that care
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Today we release the seventh episode of TCI Transmissions. Each Transmission adds to our archive of experimental soundscapes, collected ideas, voices, and other snippets to help you think, create, and expand. As always, we will publish them here, or you can find us on your preferred podcatching service (iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Overcast, etc).
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This episode features a guided meditation for re-centering your sense of self with curator Jacqueline Mabey, and is part of our new series called Conditions. This meditation is accompanied by an essay, written by Jacqueline, called “The Spiritual Hunt,” which you can read here.
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[Bell strike one time]
We’ll begin by finding a comfortable seated position. This could mean sitting cross-legged on a zafu or a regular pillow or yoga mat, or sitting on a chair or bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor. You can rest your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs, whichever is preferable. Take as much time as you need to get settled. When you are ready, close your eyes.
To continue the process of finding ease in our bodies, let’s hit reset and shake off the distractions of this moment. Take a deep breath in and scrunch your face up as small as possible, make a tiny ugly face. And exhale and let it go. Now inhale deeply and tense up your arms, as much as you can. And let go. Now breath in and tense up your whole body, super tense, and let go.
Next, we’ll scan the body from head to toe, observing without judgment if a given area feels well, neutral or unwell. We will start at the crown of the head, scanning down to the eyes. Does the area feel well, neutral or unwell? Proceeding down to the jaw, an area where many people hold tension. Moving down the neck, your awareness flows down your shoulders to your mid back, down to your lower back. Does it feel well, neutral or unwell? Moving back up to your shoulders, allow your awareness to slide down your arms to your elbow, to your wrist. Notice your hands; do they feel well, neutral or unwell? Moving now to the front of your trunk, scan from down your chest to your stomach. From your stomach to your hips. Do you feel well, neutral, or unwell? Continue scanning down the thighs, to the knees. And then observe from your calves all the way to the tips of your toes.
The places in your body that feel unwell, I want you to breathe into them. Take a full inhale and hold it at the top of the breath for one, two, three followed by a slow and steady exhale. Again, as full inhale and hold it for one, two, three, and an even exhale. Once more, inhale and one, two, three and exhale.
Continue with a slow, steady inhalation and exhalation, but without holding at the top of the breath.
As we sit and breathe, it is normal that thoughts will pop up. That you’ll drift and think about your day at work, what you’re going to do after this, some recent interpersonal conflict, maybe your weekend plans. When you realize it’s happening, without judgment, label it “thinking,” and return to the breath. It can help to focus on sensory information, something like the feel of the air conditioning on your skin, or the sounds of the city outside. I grew up in a port city and take great comfort in the sea. When my mind is particularly busy, I visualize waves lapping on a shore, water rushing in and out. I place my hands on my belly and think “in” with the inhalation and “out” with the exhalation. In, out. In, out. In, out. In, out. In, out.
And now for the next few minutes, let’s just breathe together in silence.
Just breath and focus on this moment, because it’s like none other that has come before and none that will come after. The motion of the tide is always the same, but each wave changes the face of the shore. No other moment, like this moment. No other moment, like this moment.
Continue this mantra on your own for the next few minutes.
[Bell strike two times]
Now, I want you to visualize a social event where you felt at ease. Maybe an opening or talk or a party. Someplace where you felt seen, where you felt a sense of belonging. If you have to, you can make this space up from scratch, pulling from a mix of experiences. Now I want you to hold that feeling, and picture the people in that space. All the vibrating bodies of that temporary community. Focus on that feeling and those faces, and think: I am carried by currents that care. I am carried by currents that care. I am carried by currents that care. I am carried by currents that care.
Hold this thought in your head, quietly, for the next few minutes.
[Bell strike three times]
When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes, and take a moment to readjust to the light.
Thank you for sharing this time and space with me.