Safe Space MeditationDec 04, 2022
Meditation and mindfulness is scientifically proven to improve brain function, balance emotions and live a more fulfilling life. Often we are worried about what is inside the mind when we delve inside, so we avoid it. A safe space practice can help to build a future practice where we can handle what may arise from the mind.
What is this meditation?
This is a simple practice of visualising and sense feeling being in a place, real or imaginary, that creates the experience of safety. Most humans will develop this practice naturally as a child in response to life events, so it is a natural technique to create a feeling of security in dealing with life.
Choosing Your Safe Space
The place does not need to be real or somewhere on earth, nor does the imaginary place need to be fanciful or complex. Often somewhere in nature, a building, specific people or animals can create the feeling of calm initially sought in the safe place. The most important component is that you connect to this space and feel safe when you imagine yourself there.
The space should be felt-sensed and/ or visualised as a currently lived experience in the meditation. If visualisation is tricky that is not a problem, try to tap into the other senses such as sounds, smells, temperature etc for the whole body-mind experience. Bring people into it if desired, or be alone if that is preferred. This is the ‘sense-felt’ approach to meditation and is very good if you are a kinaesthetic learner or experiencer.
The place should be easy for the mind to access quickly so it can be helpful to create ‘prompts’ to access the safe place. This is where visualisation helps as the visual cortex in the brain switches the brain function away from the immediate threat and to another mode that is calmer and supports a healthy response. Selecting a simple visual prompt will make the safe space practical to access in daily life and during deep meditation or yoga nidra practices. If visualisation is hard, try to write it down in words to consolidate it to the brain’s recall.
Building the safe space into your life
Return to your safe space frequently throughout the day to build a habitual relationship with it. This will make it more accessible when the body and mind are in fear mode. You can then utilise this practice as a lived experience when challenging situations arise, cultivating a healthy response that empowers you.
Select ‘trigger’ events in daily life to prompt return to the safe space, for example, when the phone pings for a message received. This is especially helpful if the events are something stressful or challenging in each day.
Return to the safe space in writing and read it aloud, or record a description of a visit there and listen to the recording.
Go to the safe space each morning and night as you wake and go to sleep. Build it into the anticipation and wind down of the day.
Why does it help?
This is a fabulous practice for everyone, but especially children and those with mental health challenges. We want to retrain the overstimulated nervous system to greater equanimity to build resilience and cultivate kinder strength through self-compassion.
Some of the benefits include:
- Creating a sense of security that can be returned to.
- Building predictability that is fully within the control of the meditator.
- Creates a container with clear boundaries.
- Builds the feeling of power to control the inner environment.
- Shifts the mind to a positive perspective.
- Builds new neural pathways of relaxation in the mind.
- Opens space for creativity and the options can be limitless.
Physical benefits include possible reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and brain waves for hormonal balance and headaches.
An important and Personal Note
When I was depressed I could not think of a fluffy white cloud without dragons and demons coming to slay me. Nothing was lovely or nice in my mind, and I was not safe from my psyche. I have experienced trauma from meditations and yoga nidra when my psyche went towards my depression. This practice was a huge transition to begin the journey into meeting depression, and somewhere I return to daily. I chose a physical place that I knew I enjoyed - a beach under a palm tree. I would come to visualise this place and then sit with my sense-felt feelings of calmer experiences before addressing what had triggered my trauma patterns.
Enjoy it through
Click the link below to enjoy this meditation.
Or via the podcast audio available at the top of this page.
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