“Everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – – Albert Einstein

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Copyright © 2021 Santiago Barragan Noguera. All rights reserved.

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5 Minutes of Stillness

Your mind is like a pond of water. Unless you seek complete stillness by cutting all stimulation, inputs, and distractions, you won’t be able to see a clear reflection. The idea is not to keep your head “empty”, but rather be aware of thoughts and how those influence your feelings moment to moment. Paying attention to the present moment without jumping to judgements and conclusions will give you the power to reset.

Sit in an empty room, and put your phone in airplane mode. Prepare so that you are not disrupted by anything. This exercise must be done with an open journal. Everything necessary that arises from the unconscious is captured on paper. You can always deal with duties, calls, commitments after finishing the sessions. It is only 5 minutes. Just commit and don’t stop before you complete them.

Step by Step

  1. Relax, and find stillness.
  2. Once you feel comfortable, continue by slowing down your breathing. Make sure you are breathing from your diaphragm. Put one of your hands on top of your belly, and feel how your thorax fills with air 360 degrees. Your hand should move up and down. Every time you notice you started breathing with your chest, begin again. If you haven’t had much exposure, you might have trouble relaxing yourself. See if making a mental note of the inhale and the exhale helps. 
  3. Once you feel relatively grounded, ask yourself: what is happening right now? Recognize what is happening at a physical level. Notice if there is tension, pressure, soreness, or involuntary movement. Then ask yourself what is happening right now with your mind. Where is your mind gravitating towards? 
  4. Once you feel grounded, you can close the practice by journaling from that state.

Consistency is key! Give some time to the practice to flourish. When you work out at the gym and try to see the results that same day, you won’t see them right away. Have faith, and don’t stop. In a couple of weeks, you will realize the benefits.

Variations for the Practice

Here are additional prompts to incorporate into your practice. Externalize the answers in your journal. Take no more than one at a time.

These are different approaches to create mindfulness, introspection, and presence. As in any other meditation practice, if your attention starts to wander… begin again without judgment, without stressing, or without feeling disappointed.

Monday: Body Scan

To create the mind-body connection, you will need to bring your attention to every part of your body. This will increase body awareness—one body part at a time, with open or closed eyes. Try to feel the aliveness of every aspect of your body without moving it, and then by contracting it and relaxing it very slowly. Take your hand, for example. Move every finger very slowly, and be mindful of how it feels. Watch it as if it was the first time you encounter such form and sensation. 

Tuesday: Appreciation and Gratitude 

Try to identify what has gone  lately according to your expectations. Bring to mind what you can appreciate from your life in the present moment. Don’t use broad terms like family, health, or career. Be specific and granular about what makes you feel good. What about your health or your family or your career highlights how lucky you are? After a while of practicing gratitude, you won’t  even take a fork or the heater for granted.

Wednesday: Visualization

Begin with the End in Mind. If your goal was attained, your struggle finished, how would you know? How would it look like? How would you feel? Use the power of imagination to see a better future, a better reality, and watch yourself behaving or speaking, performing, or embodying the best version of yourself. 

Thursday: Mantra

A mantra or set of affirmations simply clarifies, concentrates, and consecrates intent. All meaningful transformation springs from purposeful, devoted intent. What are the principles you need to remind yourself of often? What are the guidelines to have a good life? Write it in the present tense (not past or future), in positives (not negative). This is a crafted personal mission that will collect the wisdom and knowledge you have accumulated over the years. It will help you to be on the same page with yourself.

Read it as if every time was the first time you encounter those words. Don’t rush them. Let them sink. That is how you reprogram your unconscious.

Friday: Questioning

Great clarity of mind begins with asking better questions. Such muscle is created by opening a space for brainstorming open questions. If the answer to any of those questions is yes or no, you are not looking deep enough. Every topic, think the what, how, why, where, when. Please do not rush to answer them; the session is about inquiring better questions, not finding answers. 

Write them down and have them at hand when you are waiting during your commute, waiting for the next meeting, or while making breakfast. The right questions will take some time to unravel. 

Saturday: Memento Mori

Think about your mortality. Think about the fact that you have limited days on this earth, and everything can come to an end the next moment. The encouragement is that reflecting on death will make you put everything under perspective: your actions, words, and how you treat others. If done correctly, you will learn how to be at peace every night before going to sleep. 

Ask yourself, knowing that I might die tonight, what is essential in my life? Investigate what the goal behind the goal is? What is the underlying reason behind what you are after?

Sunday: Metta Meditation

Exercise your ability to be compassionate towards the suffering of others and your own. Bring to mind a person you deeply love, with who you have an easy relationship. Picture that person in a state of happiness and wellbeing. In another session, you can do the same exercise with yourself. 

Your ability to be compassionate will build up to the point where you can bring to mind a person you dislike, who perhaps has hurt you in the past. You can acknowledge that such a person might also live in pain, either because of the lack of support or love or proper education or ethical values. 

All of these techniques can be further researched if you find them valuable and exciting. In my perspective, these practices remain the most important of all.

With all love,

Santiago Barragan Noguera

Coach & Educator — Artistic Polymath

Copyright © 2021 Santiago Barragan Noguera. All rights reserved.