Practicing Interoceptive Meditations
Anthony R. Quintiliani, Ph.D., LADC
The mindfulness-based process and intervention of interoception (also called neuroception) has slowly moved from meditation practice into clinical practice, now being part of the recommended MBSR, ACT, and more current CBT-based therapies. The three brief meditations below are presented to expand the use of interoceptive processes in therapy practice. They are presented in very brief form, so slow down the work when using these in your therapy practice. Rather than repeating the introductory process, I will note it here. Be sure to use it in each meditation.
Begin with the following for all three meditations;
- Place your body into a calm and comfortable sitting or lying position.
- Breathe slowly and deeply for at least ten breaths. Extend the exhalation for the last three breaths.
- Use your imagination energy to recall a time when you were in bright, warm sunlight – feel this warmth on your skin right now. Using imagery of that time and place may be helpful here. Without thinking, just feel it.
Warm Hands Meditation
- While sitting comfortably, rub your hands together quite vigorously until you can feel heat in your palms.
- Place your warm hands on your cheeks with some pressure, and allow the warmth to penetrate into your face.
- Not working too hard at this, slowly and compassionately move the sensation of warmth through your body – face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, upper legs, lower legs, both feet – all the way to your toes. Do not at all be concerned about if you are doing this correctly. Simply use your personal strong intention.
- Rest calmly in the remembered-warmth of your sun-experience and your inner power of warm self-sensation.
- Rest in your personal, warm power and allow self-healing to occur. Use your personal power NOT your thoughts.
Warm Heart Meditation
- Repeat step #1 from the above meditation.
- Place your warm hands crossed over your heart, and notice the sensation of penetrating warmth.
- Consciously open up your heart chakra, feeling gentle and warm vibrations. Allow them to spread out.
- Allow this inner experience of sensation to kindle self-love for yourself. DO this now.
- Just BE you; sit there with this experience and appreciate who/what you are right here now.
- Do not worry at all if you are doing this correctly. Just be with your interoceptive sensations and feelings.
Inner Warmth of Self-Healing Meditation
- Repeat the meditation above, and spend some time and energy intensifying the warmth if possible.
- Now simply and effortlessly move the warmth to any specific place in your body that needs healing.
- Do not think about this, just be with the experience and ALLOW it.
- Do not concern yourself abut whether or not you are doing this correctly. No thinking, just feeling.
You may wish to practice post-meditation journaling after you complete these three brief meditations.
These meditations were inspired by meditations lead by Thich Nhat Hanh at a Norwich University(VT) retreat and by CBT-mindfulness research at the University of California San Diego Medical School in 2017 and 2018. Refer to W. J. Sieber’s supervisory work.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness