Feeling Lost in Today’s Society?
What’s important to you? What are the values you live by?
World Values Day is a campaign to help raise awareness of values and stimulate a conversation about the values we hold most deeply and how they can support our lives.
We often seem to live in a world where the most important value is economic growth at all cost, where world leaders are not ashamed of using bullying and intimidation, where everything is fast-paced with no time for thinking, and where standards of beauty or gender appear to lack diversity and inclusion. It’s actually really easy to feel under pressure, to get stressed, to feel overwhelmed and lose track of who we are, what we want or what we truly believe in. It’s getting more and more difficult to have a sense of what is right for us deep down and to live a life that promotes a sense of happiness, balance and alignment.
World Values Day offers a great opportunity for reflection and Sophrology gives us the practical tools to gain a better insight into the principles you want to live your life by.
How Can Sophrology Help Us Find What We Value Most in Life?
- Sophrology is a form of meditation, we could also call it a dynamic meditation as it includes gentle movements and body awareness exercises as a dynamic way to connect with consciousness in order to bring a sense of balance and harmony in daily life. It combines Eastern philosophies and practices and Western science: it includes phenomenology and psychology blended with ancient philosophies such as Japanese Zen, Yoga and Buddhism meditation. Sophrology was created by neuropsychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo in 1960 to offer a gentler therapeutic approach to patients suffering from mental health conditions. Sophrology is now extensively used in Continental Europe as a stress-management and self-development method.
- Consider Sophrology as a travel companion on your journey to self-discovery. It is a structured method combining relaxation, visualisation, gentle movement and breathing, designed to help us overcome stress, feel more balanced, find who we truly are and what we stand by. As we learn to connect with our more authentic self, we are naturally able to embody our values and create a meaningful existence.
Discover who you are with Sophrology
Sophrology is based on the assumption that our values live within us, and they are one of the building blocks of consciousness. The method doesn’t tell you what to value, it simply gives you a tool to explore what really matters to you through connecting your body and mind. Everyone is welcome in this exploration of finding more meaning in their lives no matter what you believe in or are aiming for.
The beauty of practising Sophrology is that you become naturally more aware of how unique you are as an individual and what you truly believe in, giving you a new sense of freedom and responsibility. Every one of us has a unique experience of life and has been shaped by his/her story, upbringing, education, culture and so on. At the same time, the practice makes you realise that as human beings on this planet, we all have common needs and values. How can we then at the same time be our authentic self and find a comfortable place in an ever-changing world and sometimes overwhelming society?
To understand how Sophrology allows you to find that dynamic balance between yourself and the world around you, let’s look at the first 4 levels of Sophrology more closely. (Sophrology is structured around 12 levels of practice and each level as its own purpose and exercises to explore consciousness, find out more here)
Level 1 is inspired by Yoga. Through a combination of relaxation, gentle movements and a mix of standing and sitting positions, Sophrology allows us to take more notice of our body, develop stronger body awareness, improve our concentration and our ability to focus which is an essential resource to be able to dive into the journey to self-discovery and meditation. We learn to use the body as an anchor to experience life and guide us making sure we stay in balance by letting go of its tension and tuning into its resources.
Level 2 is inspired by Buddhist meditation. The practice includes concentration, contemplation, slow movements and visualisation to become more aware of our mind, how to focus it, how to calm it, and how it becomes non-judgmental. This work is the first gateway to a freer life where we don’t identify with every aspect of what we think. In other words: we are not our thoughts. By being more in control of the mind instead of the mind-controlling us, we can let go of what causes stress, become more imaginative and creative and gain a sense of perspective. Studies have found that a regular meditation practise allows the mind to become more creative and less judgemental, as well as better at solving problems.
After grounding ourselves in the body and gaining more control over the mind, Level 3 of the practice teaches you to connect body and mind and access a state of presence. A state in which we start to feel a sense of aliveness within that goes beyond form. We use an upright sitting posture on a simple chair with the hips slightly opened and the feet on the floor. The practice gradually makes us realise that we can exist by simply being present, as opposed to constantly thinking or acting. And what a life-changing realisation this is!
Once we’ve reached that ability to feel more present to ourselves, that we have experienced what mind/body connection feels like, we can also much more easily manage stress in our daily lives, let go of tension, listen to what we need, and tune into what we hope for.
We can then use the practice of Level 4 to tune into what is really authentic about ourselves and how we want to connect with the world, and one way to do it is through our life values. Values can be for example art, love, family, health, religion, spirituality, joy, connection, science, respect, nature, freedom, individuality, spirituality.
The practice of Level 4 is articulated around simple movements, intention and meditation moments so that our deepest motivation, purpose and values can emerge from that time of silence and presence. This is not a rational exercise by any means, but an unveiling exercise. It comes at a time where you have already practised a fair amount of Sophrology and are able to connect in that way. It’s about being in the practice so that what’s really important to us can emerge when body and mind are in a state of balance. The values that emerge at that moment can be surprising and not necessarily the ones we think we stand for. We can explore values in relation to professional activities, family, education, health or society. The options are endless and some of our values do evolve over time.
Sophrology and Values
Thanks to Sophrology you can learn to use your values to guide you in life, you can shine your light into the world through what you feel is right for you. Sophrology doesn’t say what’s right or wrong, because it trusts that everyone can discover and tune into what means most to them. Completing the journey of the first 4 Levels of Sophrology doesn’t happen overnight as repetition of the practice is what allows new resources and awareness to emerge. More importantly, it is about being aware that every practice you do is balancing, restorative and connecting you to who you truly are no matter where you are in your journey with the practice. If you practice daily for 10 to 15 minutes, and with the help of a qualified Sophrologist, you can certainly complete the first four levels within a year.
At BeSophro we encourage people to start the work with life values very early on in Sophrology even if they haven’t journeyed fully through the 4 levels as we feel this is such an important part of being able to feel at ease in the world and use the technique to resolve specific situations, take important decisions or set appropriate boundaries. We have created specific Sophrology protocols where you can easily start to explore what you really stand for by connecting to your intuition and body wisdom. A large part of Professor Caycedo’s work, the Founder of Sophrology who I was fortunate to train with, is derived from phenomenology and Eastern philosophies, helping us to better understand what consciousness is and how we can support consciousness with simple practices and live in a state of balance and harmony.