5 Common Misconceptions about Continuum Practice & Mindfulness
Bonnie invites meditators to embody their meditation practice, and movers to deepen their contemplative awareness in their movement practices. Continuum's practice of Open Attention combines both of these.
The practice of Open Attention in Continuum is similar to being mindful, or being in a meditative state observing your embodied experience. Here are 5 common misconceptions about this aspect of practice:
#1 - It’s not about quieting your mind. It’s about learning to differentiate the experience of thinking about what you feel from actually experiencing sensations in your body.
#2 - You don’t have to sit or lie still. Being able to freely choose when to be still and when to move is a sophisticated skill. In my experience, learning to choose to sit in stillness has taught me a lot about my embodied awareness. Awareness can lead you to the choice of being still. Forcing yourself to sit still will not. Awareness of what you are doing is more important than whether you are moving or being still. Cultivating the ability to choose to be silent and still and listen to the messages of your embodied experience leads you to a creative, resilient, and adaptable life.
#3 - It’s not about relaxation. Relaxation is fine, but it’s not our goal, and there’s nothing wrong if you can’t relax. You can’t force yourself to relax. This practice is about discerning the bodily cues that you interpret as relaxation, tension, anxiety, etc. You can learn to listen to your body and cultivate a sensory vocabulary. This allows you to distinguish sensations and choose which ones to attend to. Over time, this practice will encourage relaxation.
#4 - It’s not about getting your body to do something you think is good…or not to do something you judge to be bad. Learning to express movement improvisationally requires surrendering control of all known and predictable movement patterns.
#5 - You don’t have to sit in a certain position. Both Continuum and mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anyplace, in any position, although some positions are more conducive to learning and exploration than others.
Many meditators come to Continuum practice as a way of integrating their body into a meditation practice, which has been static. Many movers (dancers, athletes, yoga practitioners, etc.) come to Continuum as a way to expand their sensory awareness and deepen their contemplative capacity during movement. The sensibility of Continuum includes being mindful and can enrich and deepen all practices and all aspects of living.