Mindful Therapy Academy

8 week group program

Taming your anxious mind

“From worry and fear to greater confidence and capability"

Week 5—Training the puppy

“In the ‘taming the puppy’ phase of meditation, we are seeking to eliminate our bad mental habits. We are also establishing a new quality of relationship within. As the puppy’s Master in this scenario, we are seeking to manifest a state of mind that is both disciplined as well as kind. As the Puppy in the practice, we must be willing to submit to the training, and to sit with the uncomfortable elements of inner transformation. What a delicate dance indeed!”

Cam Aggs

Phase 3 instructions

In the process of training the ‘puppy’ of our attention, a primary benefit of meditation is that we learn how to leave our thoughts alone. We start to play with the possibility that we don’t have to change them in any way. It is okay for thoughts to be there when we meditate. We just let them be. They will settle by themselves. More important than asking the waves of thoughts and emotions to stop rolling is to experience ourselves as the calm presence that is in contact with all of that – to be the watchful still depth of the ocean floor.

The trouble comes for us when we start judging ourselves for how we are – or when we get so caught up in our thinking, that we forget that we are meditating. And yet even this is not a big problem – because as soon as we have recognised that we have become distracted – we are already back. How convenient!

As an old friend said to me, the trick with meditation “Is to be willing to fail one-thousand times, and to know that one is not a failure.” This kind of perspective is not natural for everyone. Many of us feel like we need to be good at things straight away – that we need to get it right first time round. This is okay, but in many ways meditation is the opposite of that. It is the willingness to get it wrong, to be lost, to sit with the nonsense of our own mind, and to make peace with that. Not through making it better or different, but through accepting it as it is.

The 3R’s Meditation

Over the last two weeks we have begun to support ourselves in training the puppy by adding a mantra such as “Om” (on the inbreath) “Ah” (on the pause) and “Hung/Hum” (Outbreath). We have also added the 4-breaths technique, were we attach our breathing to the movements of our thumb as it touches each of the fingers in session. Please feel free to combine the 4 breaths with a another wonderful mantra of Release, Relax, Return.  You can use the mantra as just a single word “Release / releasing” (inhalation) “Relax/ relaxing” (during the pause) Return / returning” (on the exhalation). A longer form for this is presented below.

Try this ‘3R’s’ Meditation. It features a soothing soundscape to help your brain release, relax and refresh. The time you will require to try this is 3-minutes. Are you game?

Key points

The 3R’s is a wonderful way of helping you tame your mind and to return to a state of Presence when you notice you have become distracted.


what you are thinking about


your strivings, all is well


your attention to this moment, this breath

Handy Hint: Regard each breath as its own meditation cycle. Become super-interested in the feeling of the breath for its own sake.