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TitleKabat Zinn Scripts
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Total Pages23
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Page 1

Series 1


Guided Body Scan Meditation


(This script has been slightly modified from the original Kabat-Zinn tape.)

This tape is based on the practice of body scan meditation, developed at the University of Massachusetts
Medical Centre Stress Reduction Clinic, directed by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn.
By using this tape regularly and just following the process you are taking on an active and powerful role
in improving your health. Although the meditation will result in deep relaxation, I don’t want you to go
to sleep, so don’t do it when you are very tired. Certainly don’t use it whilst you are driving a car.
It is designed to help you enter and dwell in a state of very deep physical and mental relaxation. It is
best to do this it in a place in which you feel comfortable and secure, and at a time when you will not be
interrupted by anyone or by the telephone. Avoid excesses of heat or cold, and draughts. Dress in
loose and comfortable clothing and particularly make sure your clothes do not feel tight around your
waist, or restrict your breathing.

It is useful to see this time now as a time that is totally set aside for you, as an opportunity to be by
yourself and to be with yourself fully. See if you can allow it to be a nourishing time, a time you
deserve to give yourself some positive energy and attention, a time in which to open to the sources of
strength and healing within yourself. In doing work of this kind it is important to remember not to try
too hard to relax. This will just create tension. What we will be doing is becoming aware in each
passing moment, and just accepting what is happening in yourself, looking at it clearly and seeing it as it
is because it is already here, it is part of your experience in the moment for better or for worse. Let go
of the tendency at times that we all have to want things to be different from how they are right now and
allow things to be exactly as you find them. If there are occasional background noises or distractions at
times, accept them as the reality of the moment, and let go trying to change the reality by insisting that it
be something different from how it is.

Allow yourself to be exactly as you are, use the instructions for guidance as best you can watching your
body and the activity of your mind as we go along. Letting go of judgmental and critical thoughts in
particular, and just doing what it says to do as best you can and being aware of how you feel, of what is
happening. Remember that there is no right to feel while you are doing this, the way you are feeling is
the way you are feeling right now. Just accepting it, and giving yourself permission to feel what you are
feeling and seeing that it’s okay.

Do this meditation in whatever posture or position is comfortable, but preferably lying down on a bed or
mat, but without a large pillow. If you are on a firm surface, you may wish to place a cushion under
your knees to take some strain off your lower back. If lying on your back is not comfortable, make sure
your chair is supportive. It’s really your sensitivity and level of attention and not the way you are
positioned which is important.
So now let’s arrange yourself now to lie down on our backs if possible, settle into a comfortable
position, and allowing your eyes to close gently if this is comfortable with you. Letting the arms lie
alongside your body, palms open towards the ceiling if that feels comfortable, and allowing the feet to
fall away from each other and slowly bringing your attention to the fact that you are breathing. No
manipulating your breath in anyway, but simply experiencing it as the air moves in and out of your
body.

Page 11

Series 2 – Tape 1, Side A

Bells

When practising sitting meditation it is helpful to bring to the sitting posture itself a sense of dignity
with the head, neck and back erect but not rigid, with the shoulders relaxed and the hands comfortably
placed in your lap or on your knees. Follow along with my instructions as best you can and then use the
stretch of silence to practice on your own. It is fine to sit on a chair or on the floor. As best you can
commit yourself to simply being fully awake, fully present for these moments. If you feel comfortable
with it, allowing your eyes to gently close, otherwise letting your gaze fall and focus on the floor or on a
wall, and just tuning into the feeling of the breath moving in and out of your body. Focusing on the
sensation of the breath moving past the nostrils or alternatively on the feeling of your belly expanding
on each in breath and receding gently with each out breath. And allowing yourself to just dwell here
moment by moment, following the breath as it comes in and as it goes out. And bringing your attention
back to the nostrils or to your belly, or anywhere else you have decided to focus on each time that you
notice that your mind has gone off somewhere else, wherever that may be. And if the mind wanders off
a thousand times, you simply bring it back a thousand times. Intentionally cultivating an attitude of
patience and gentleness towards yourself. This mean choosing as best you can not to react to or judge
any of your thoughts or feelings, impulses or perceptions. Reminding yourself instead that in this work
of mindfulness, absolutely anything that comes into the field of awareness is okay, we simply sit with it
and breathe with it, and observe it, staying open and awake in the present moment, right here, right now,
a continual process of seeing and letting be, seeing and letting go, rejecting nothing, pursuing nothing,
dwelling in stillness and in calmness, as the breath moves in and out.

Pause 2 mins

Just riding the waves of your own breathing, moment by moment, breath by breath.

Pause 2 mins 50

And as the tape comes to an end, staying centred for a moment or two more in the sitting posture as the
sound of the bells recedes. Experiencing the sound and the wakefulness it invites. And before getting
up you might find it of value to commit yourself right here and now to carrying this wakefulness with
you throughout your day. Remembering that you can touch base with your breathing in any moment
and thereby bring the mindfulness and calmness and clarity into that moment of your life, when and
wherever it is as it is unfolding, and affirming as well, the importance of regular formal practice if
possible every day, either using a tape for guidance or simply practising on your own.

Bells.

Page 12

Series 2 – Tape 1, Side B

Bells

Since this tape is only ten minutes long you might want to make a commitment to yourself from the
very outset to be in your body and in the present moment for the next ten minutes as completely as
possible, remembering that by truly being in the present moment you are stepping out of time altogether
into a time beyond time, so as you settle into a comfortable position, lying on your back, allowing
yourself to be here with full awareness right now, as each moment unfolds into the next. Feeling your
body as a whole as it lies here breathing, capturing if you can the feeling of this very breath as it comes
into your body, and the feeling of this very breath as it leaves your body. Feeling the breath moment by
moment, inviting yourself over and over again to be fully awake, fully here, right now in this moment
with this breath.

Pause. 30 seconds.

And every time you find your mind wandering off into thoughts of one kind or another, or into reverie,
sleepiness or anything else, as it so easily does, when you become aware of it, noting what is on your
mind, and how your body is feeling, and then gently letting go of it, whatever it is, and without judging
or evaluating yourself or anything else, simply bringing your attention back to the breath, back to your
body lying here, breathing. Perceiving any thoughts that come up whether they be thoughts of the past
or the future, whether they have strong feelings associated with them or not, as passing events in the
field of your consciousness, and without either pushing them away or pursuing them, dwelling behind
them or beyond them, allowing yourself to be transparent to them, observing them together with the
breath as they come and go, as you dwell here in stillness and calmness, giving full care and attention to
each moment. Beyond my words, simply here, riding the waves of your own breathing, moment by
moment, breath by breath, and just sustaining mindfulness in this way now on your own, in silence.

Pause. 5 mins.

And as the tape comes to an end, gracefully and mindfully making the transition back into the world of
activity and doing. Perhaps lingering a little before you get up. Honouring the stillness and the
peacefulness of this moment, and knowing that this inner sense of stillness and calmness is always
available to you by simply bringing your awareness to your breathing at any time as your day continues
to unfold.

Bells.

Page 22

magnificence and beauty are not changed one bit by whether people see it or not, or by the weather.
Seen or unseen, in sun or clouds, boiling or frigid, day or night, it just sits, being itself. At times visited
by violent storms, buffeted by snow and rain and winds of unthinkable magnitude. Through it all the
mountain sits. Spring comes, the birds sing in the trees once again, leaves return, flowers bloom in the
high meadows and on the slopes, streams overflow with the waters of melting snow, through it all, the
mountain continues to sit, unmoved by the weather, by what happens on the surface, by the world of
appearances. And in the same way, as we sit in meditation, we can learn to experience the mountain,
we can embody the same unwavering stillness and rootedness, in the face of everything that changes in
our own lives, over seconds, over hours, over years. In our lives and in our meditation practice we
experience constantly the changing nature of mind and body, and of the outer world. We have our own
periods of light and darkness, our moments of colour, and our moments of drabness. Certainly we
experience storms of varying intensity and violence in the outer world, and in our own minds and
bodies, buffeted by high winds, by cold and rain, we endure periods of darkness and pain, as well as the
moments of joy and uplift. Even our appearance changes constantly, experiencing a weather of its own.

By becoming the mountain in our meditation practice we can link up with its strength and stability and
adopt them for our own. We can use its energies to support our energy, to encounter each moment with
mindfulness, and equanimity, and clarity. It may help us to see that our thoughts and feelings are pre-
occupations, our emotional storms and crises, even the things that happen to us, are very much like the
weather on the mountain. We tend to take it all personally, but it’s strongest characteristic is
impersonal, the weather of our own lives is not to be ignored or denied. It is to be encountered,
honoured, felt, known for what it is, and held in awareness, and in holding it in this way, we come to
know a deeper silence and stillness and wisdom. Mountains have this to teach us and much more if we
can come to listen.

So if you find you resonate in some way with the strength and stability of the mountain in your sitting, it
may be helpful to use it from time to time in your meditation practice to remind you of what it means to
sit mindfully, with resolve and wakefulness in true stillness. And so in the time that remains, continuing
to sustain the mountain meditation on your own, in silence, moment by moment, until you hear the
sound of the bells.

Pause. 5 min.


Bells.

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