Introduction to the Blue State of Stillness

7. Count your pulse

Option 1: Shorter Silences

Option 2: Longer Silences

Welcome back.

In the next three practices, you’ll learn to count your pulse and breath, either separately or in combination. Counting can help calm your mind and remain engaged in the practice of stillness. In this practice you explore following and counting your pulse.

Pulse

There are several places in your body where you can sense your pulse.

Radial Pulse: Located on the inner side of your wrist, just below the base of your thumb.

Carotid Pulse: Found on the side of your neck, just below your jawline.

Brachial Pulse: Situated on the inner side of your upper arm, midway between your elbow and shoulder.

Temporal Pulse: Located on the temples at the sides of your forehead.

Popliteal Pulse: Found behind your knee in the crease or fold where the leg bends.

Dorsalis Pedis Pulse: Positioned on the top of your foot, near the base of your big toe.

Pulse detection can differ from person to person. If you have difficulty finding your pulse in one location, try another until you locate it.

Finding your pulse may require adjusting your posture and hand placement. Experiment with different positions until you find one that feels comfortable, effortless, and conducive to your practice of stillness.

Following pulse

Sensing your pulse is an effective way to ease into stillness. Finding and tuning into your pulse naturally leads to slowing down, making it a useful step towards inviting your body and mind to rest.

This technique is particularly beneficial when you experience high levels of stress and intensity in your body.

Counting pulse

Counting your pulse can help you focus your mind on these bodily sensations.

Engaging your mind in the act of counting can also reduce distracting thoughts, especially when your mind is preoccupied. This enhances your focus and simultaneously calms your mind.

It’s worth noting that while counting your pulse can be beneficial initially, its usefulness may diminish over time. As your progress, simply sensing your pulse without counting may prove more effective.

When you choose to count your pulse, consider counting in cycles, such as 10, 15, or 30 beats, and then starting anew.

It’s important that counting facilitates the practice of stillness and therefore remains effortless, requiring minimal mental activity and concentration.

PROGRESS CHECKLIST

  • Can I locate my pulse?
  • Can I count the beats of my pulse to facilitate the practice of stillness?
  • Can I count sets of 10, 20, or 30 beats, taking a deep breath between each set?
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