This meditation is used for strengthening your awareness and processing of subconscious emotions and stressors. It also calms the mind and emotions.
‘Steady the Boat’ Meditation is a tool used in Step C of the PICTURe Method for emotional reprogramming developed by Nicholas Hundley, MS, CNS
Turbulent thoughts and emotions can be likened to a tumultuous sea. Our focus and emotional resiliency and steadiness can be likened to a boat on that sea. Waves of thoughts, worries, concerns, and emotions can rock the boat of our focus, and even capsize the boat when internal movement get really rough.
In this meditation, we focus on the image of a boat on the sea. The sea, remember, is mind and thoughts. With thoughts and the movement of your mind, imagine movement of the ocean waves in relation to your inner thoughts and emotions. The size and fierceness of the waves correlates with the intensity of thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing. In other words, when you experience stress, you’ll imagine stronger and bigger waves. Those waves will hit against the boat.
Imagine the size of the boat in relation to those waves. Imagine the steadiness of the boat. Imagine the boat being steady in spite of the tumult. Imagine it staying upright even in the face of those waves that represent your stressful feelings.
It may take some time to establish and elaborate on this image internally. That’s ok. Take your time and allow your mind to create and build this analogy. The long-term payoff is worth it. This is a form of neurofeedback that doesn’t require fancy equipment. It strengthens self awareness and fine tunes your interoceptive awareness. Interoceptive awareness is your mind’s conscious awareness of your internal body states.
Understand that the tumultuousness of your sea is likely determined by your body. The body is the subconscious mind. Its level of ease or imbalance sends messages of stress and anxiety to the brain through the vagus nerve and other sensory channels. This is called interoception.
The awareness you’re cultivating through this meditation serves two purposes. Firstly, it strengthens and hones conscious awareness of what signals your body is sending to your brain. This is important awareness to have as you take steps to heal your body and your traumas, because your awareness will enable you to target your thoughts and therapies for healing.
Secondly, this meditation allows you to strengthen your emotional steadiness in the face of inner stress or turmoil. While it’s nice to heal our traumas and triggers, it’s also necessary to be able to maintain a steady head and heart during times of stress. This prevents us from doing, saying, or thinking things that harm ourselves or our relationships.
You can cultivate this image in meditation for a few minutes to start out. Repeat the meditation with progressively longer sessions in order to continue strengthening your ability to hold this image and train your mind to not only hold steady under stress, but to become intimately aware with what’s going on in your subconscious mind. This meditation can be an important tool in your healing process