START – T(houghfulness)

START (with the 2nd letter T highlighted)


Any task or activity requires attention, defined here as “thoughtfulness,” to be carried out optimally.

Silhouette of a person who represents negative and disturbing emotions or someone who is distracted

Thoughtfulness also applies to the Intrinsic Practice. If you cannot devote proper attention to the practice, the time and effort you invest in it will not be very fruitful.

Silhouette of a person who represents calm and the ability to pay attention

You will not be able to give the Intrinsic Practice your proper attention if you pursue it while you experience physical discomfort, negative and disturbing emotions such as fear, anger, sadness etc., or while you are distracted and cannot think clearly.

This state of attention can be achieved with a simple exercise that takes only a few minutes to do. You may wish to begin by using your Daily Time of 10 minutes for this exercise.

This exercise consists of 3 parts:

Comfortable breathing.

After you feel you are sufficiently well rested, sit comfortably in a chair and breathe as naturally as possible by using your diaphragm or abdomen rather than your upper chest.

Do this for at least 1 minute or for about 10 breaths.

Calm emotions.

As you breathe naturally from the diaphragm, try to “enter into” a calm or joyful emotion as naturally as you can. If the calm, joyful emotion does not come easily, try gently recalling such an emotion from a calm and joyful time you have experienced in any situation at any point in time in the past.

For example, you might recall looking at the stars while camping or during a power outage after a storm. You might remember lying down on the beach or stopping to take a break during a hike in the forest. Remembering the combination of fresh air and translucent light after your body had been working hard during a challenging hike might register a sense of calm in your mind.

Do this for at least 1 minute or for about 10 breaths.


Undistracted thinking.

As you continue to breathe naturally and feel calm or joy, focus your thinking on your breathing and let go of any distraction or wandering thoughts. Other things you can do to focus your thinking might be to count slowly or to focus on reassuring images or words such as “calm” or “joy.”

Do this for at least 1 minute or for about 10 breaths.

Video Version

Watch a short introduction and the video version of this 3-part exercise: 

Transcript (.pdf, 127 Kb)5m 46s

Audio Version

You may want to routinely listen to the audio version of this 3-part exercise at the beginning of your 10-minute Daily Time and your 30-minute Weekly Time to help you:

  1. breathe comfortably
  2. feel calm or a joyful emotion
  3. let go of distracting thoughts

Transcript (.pdf, 118 Kb)3m 38s

After repeating this exercise for several days or weeks during your Daily Time, you will hopefully feel that you are better able to achieve this state of thoughtfulness characterized by comfortable breathing, calm or joyful emotion and undistracted thinking. At that point, you may wish to proceed with Step 2 of the Intrinsic Practice. However, you should continue to practice the above 3-part exercise at the beginning of each Daily Time and each Weekly Time. Also, this type of exercise may be useful in itself at any time, as a simple means to enhancing thoughtfulness or attention.

Silhouette of a person interwoven with a heart rate line graph to represent calm and comfortable breathing

If and when you feel ready, move on to Step 2.

How to Manage Your Emotions: Setting Up Your Practice (Case Example)

Available at the end of each step, this video series presents Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, creator of Intrinsic Practice, and Monica Taing, a program participant, as they discuss going through the program’s templates and exercises.

In this video we summarize Step 1 of the Intrinsic Practice – SETTING UP MY PRACTICE.

 46m 34s