A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. - Einstein
Here are materials for the third session of the Autogenic Training classes that I've taught for many years. Please read the introductory remarks and take time to work through the first and second Autogenic Training exercises before starting on this third Limb Warmth focus. Once working with the Warmth exercises, use "Autogenics 3a: Warmth, Arms, 13 minutes" for several days before moving on to "Autogenics 3b: Warmth, Arms & Legs, 12 minutes" for a few more days. While learning, I encourage people to practise twice daily and, at times, to practise on their own without the recording. It is not crucial to do the latter, but it is likely to help in "making the practice your own" and in later application during everyday activities. Keep a record of your practice on the downloadable sheet.
All handouts and MP3 exercises are listed and downloadable from further down this page. Have a look at the initial session 3 slides (1-10). They make the point that how we pay attention and what we pay attention to has a huge effect on our lives. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, originator of the influential concept of flow, has put it: "Attention shapes the self and is in turn shaped by it". This is a good time to explore the well-known "mindful raisin eating exercise" (you're welcome to try this with alternative simple foodstuffs if you'd prefer). There are lots of minor variants on this exercise, see for example the Full Circle Foundation's or Robert Zettle's approach. Further into the third Autogenic teaching session I go on to discuss the very encouraging results achieved with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in reducing depressive relapse - see slides 11-17.
I also introduce an additional exercise for the next week on appreciation and gratitude. I really like this exercise which has been well researched by positive psychology scientists. Have a look at the explanatory slides and read through the suggestions sheet before using this exercise on a daily basis for a week.
Finally, I encourage people to complete the early reflections sheet to review their practice and consider what it's important for them to continue with or focus on particularly. When learnng something new, it's usually helpful to combine experiential work with time to reflect as well.
Autogenics slides 1-10 - here are an initial 10 Powerpoint slides that I typically show course participants. They illustrate that we have a lot of choice about what & how we pay attention to things, and that this hugely affects our lives. I introduce the savouring, mindfulness & flow distinction and link this both to the "eating a raisin" exercise and to homework for the week on a savouring & gratitude exercise (see individual slide on savouring/mindfulness/flow and the gratitude & appreciation handouts below).
Autogenic slides 11-17 - these slides illustrate findings from the key study on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and reduction in depressive relapse that has been so important in getting mindfulness taken much more seriously by scientists worldwide.
Savouring, mindfulness & flow - this slide illustrates these three overlapping forms of attention.
Gratitude & appreciation slides 1-7 - here is background to the gratitude/appreciation exercise showing both that increasing standards of living have not obviously been associated with much improvement in happiness, and that deliberately paying attention to things we appreciate has beneficial effects in a number of helpful ways.
Gratitude & appreciation exercise suggestions - here are suggestions on using this week's gratitude/appreciation exercise.
Gratitude & appreciation record sheet - and here is a sheet for recording a week's gratitude/appreciation exercise.
Autogenics 3a: Warmth, Arms, 13 minutes - 4.5Mb MP3 file. Clicking on this (and subsequent) Autogenic Training exercises opens a browser window linking you to the chosen recording. You can then either listen to the Autogenic exercise immediately by clicking on the right-pointing triangle in the green music player diagram, or you can download the recording to be played later from your computer or MP3 player.
Autogenics 3b: Warmth, Arms & Legs, 12 minutes - 4.3Mb MP3 file. Here is the second of these Warmth exercises. You can move onto using this exercise when you have had a chance to practise the first Warmth exercise for several days.
Early reflections sheet - I usually give course participants this sheet to fill in and then get them to pair up to discuss what they've written with another participant. We then have a general group discussion about the issues that have emerged. If you're exploring these exercises on your own, it makes even more sense to give yourself a chance to reflect on the work you're putting in and the new ideas you're encountering.
Practice record 3 - it's likely to be helpful to keep a record of your practice, especially when you are initially learning these methods.