Scroll down for a transcription of this episode.
Take a break from ruminating with Lama Rod Owens as he leads you in a meditation to cultivate a sky-like mind.
How to Do This Practice:
- Find a comfortable position to begin this practice.
- Turn your attention to the rise and fall of your thoughts and feelings within your mind.
- Imagine that your mind is a vast open sky and that your thoughts are like clouds passing through.
- Recognize that these thoughts are just experiences that come and go, and that they do not constitute the whole sky or your whole being. Allow yourself to trust the bright openness of your mind, without worrying about it becoming stormy.
- When you are ready, reground yourself in the present moment by noticing how your body, and how it is held by your seat.
Today’s Happiness Break host:
Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist teacher, author and activist passionate about creating engaging and inclusive healing spaces.
Learn about Lama Rod Owens’ work: https://tinyurl.com/wd2huac5
Read Lama Rod Owens’ latest book, The New Saints: From Broken Hearts to Spiritual Warriors: https://tinyurl.com/4pj8wb7x
Follow Lama Rod Owens on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/527378v9
Follow Lama Rod Owens on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/mwa2vwrh
Follow Lama Rod Owens on Twitter: https://tinyurl.com/h33pyjye
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
Four Ways to Calm Your Mind in Stressful Times: https://tinyurl.com/6apdf52p
How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts: https://tinyurl.com/hp8s5wv6
How to Focus a Wandering Mind: https://tinyurl.com/y7jhkewv
How to Enjoy Being Alone with Your Thoughts: https://tinyurl.com/3ej6acx6
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We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner: Welcome to Happiness Break, a series by the science of happiness where we guide you through practices supported by science to help you find more happiness, connection and meaning in your life. I’m Dacher Keltner. We all ruminate from time to time, and the literature shows it’s not good for us. In fact, too much rumination is a pathway to depression and anxiety.
So today, we’re trying a practice to help us create a little more distance between ourselves and our thoughts – so it’s easier to let go of the nagging worries and feelings that aren’t really serving us well.
This practice is often called The Sky-Like Mind: It’s based in Buddhist teachings and grounded in mindfulness principles, like non-attachment, which study after study shows to be helpful in curbing rumination, and improving our mental health.
We’ll be led today by Lama Rod Owens, a Buddhist Minister, Author, and Activist.
Here’s Lama Rod.
Lama Rod Owens: Hi, I am living and teaching on the ancestral lands of the Creek, Cherokee, Muscogee people here in the city we now call Atlanta.
So to begin with, I invite you to return back to your bodies.
Allowing your bodies to come into a position that feels appropriate for you, Comfortable. For me a position that helps me to balance both the experiences of comfort as well as discomfort, which in itself is a basic meditation practice.
And so when you’re ready, I invite you to shift your attention into the expression of your mind, beginning to notice thoughts and emotions, rising and falling, coming and going.
Slowly begin to imagine that your mind Is like the sky. Vast, clear, wide open. Boundless.
Can we just be in this moment? Allowing our minds to be wide open and bright, letting the clouds of thoughts and emotions just casually flow through it.
I wonder if you can just say to yourself, “Oh, this cloud of thoughts and emotion is just an experience, passing through the sky-like nature of my mind. And like any experience, it comes and goes, and no experience is inherently who I am, just expressions of my own mind.”
And I wonder what it feels like for you to think of your mind or to imagine your mind as a boundless sky-like experience with clouds of thoughts passing through. Not worrying about feeling overcast or stormy, but trusting the boundless quality of your sky-like mind to just be vast and beyond any hint of being overwhelmed by clouds.
So when you’re ready, I invite you to shift your attention back to the seat, noticing how the seat is holding your body. And as we complete our practice, just completing it within this experience of resting within the sky-like mind.
Thank you so much for your practice, and I hope that this practice continues to benefit you as well as others whom you’re in a relationship with.