Preparing for the Exercises
Some thoughts on how to conduct the exercises at the end of each of the modules and prepare your quiet place
Each module will introduce a subject and then ask you to conduct an exercise where you think more deeply about the subject or practice what you have learnt about. Most of the exercises we have devised ask you to sit somewhere quietly and think, meditate or do something such as write down your thoughts or draw an image. How this works will become obvious as you start the course and start working through the modules, so don’t worry about it.
You will need an exercise book and a pen or pencil for many of the exercises. This should be your book, personal to you. No one else should see what you write in it unless you particularly want to share something with someone. Make sure your exercise book is kept somewhere safe between sessions. This book will hold the story as you work through the modules and allow you to look back and reflect on what you have learnt about yourself, this will be important at different points when you want to go back and review what you have done.
You will need a quiet place to conduct the exercises. Before you start each exercise take a little time to prepare your space. Find somewhere in your home where you can relax and be quiet without any interruptions. If you can switch off your telephone, so much the better. You may want to play some quiet classical, new age or background music – this is one of those times when heavy rock is just not going to do it for you! – so choose your music, make sure you have your music player to hand and make sure the volume is low as sound is magnified when you relax. If you wish you may want to light a candle or two and/or an incense stick, but this is not compulsory. Also have a glass or bottle of water to hand in case you need a drink – I guarantee you will get a tickle in your throat just when you don’t want it and you are trying to relax. Also have some tissues available in case you need them.
You don’t have to sit on the floor for the exercises, you can sit on a chair, and you don’t have to twist your legs into some amazing meditation posture – you just need to be comfortable. We don’t recommend you do the exercises laying down unless you have to, however, as you could fall asleep. If you can, sit with your back reasonably straight, with your hands loosely in your lap or resting gently on your legs throughout the exercise.
At the start of each of the exercises we will ask you to take a few deep breaths. This involves breathing in deeply and then breathing out slowly. Repeating this several times helps you to relax and you can usually feel your shoulders start to lower as you do it.
On occasions, when working through one of the exercises, you may find yourself getting upset, perhaps over something from the past. If you feel like crying then allow yourself to cry – crying can be a cathartic process. However, if you find yourself getting uncomfortably distressed at any time then finish the exercise immediately and if necessary seek help.
Some of the exercises will make you feel very relaxed, on occasion after a meditation you might feel slightly disorientated when you bring yourself back into the present and open your eyes. If you are effected don’t go out immediately and drive a car or climb a ladder or anything that requires concentration until you are properly focused.
We have given approximate timings for each exercise, but don’t be held to these; they are for guidance only, partly so you can ensure you have sufficient uninterrupted time available before starting the exercise. Don’t finish an exercise simply because it seems to be taking too long.
We hope you enjoy this course and we look forward to working through the modules with you. Remember you can share your experiences on our Facebook or Twitter pages.