Guided Meditation for Hostage Takers

Photo by  frank mckenna  on  Unsplash

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

[sound of soft piano and crashing waves, which fade and end as a man begins to speak]

Hi there. Thank you so much for downloading Guided Meditation for Hostage Takers, a free app from the National Association of Crisis Negotiators.

My name is Craig. And I am so happy to have you here.

You know, we carry so much tension around with us all the time. We’re under such pressure—and a lot of it is self-imposed.

Like right now. I bet you feel like you’re the one who’s being held captive. Right? Hey, sometimes we all feel that way.

Well, my job is to help you recognize these feelings and to release them. To “de-escalate” the situation, if you will.

Do you like my voice, by the way? Soothing, isn’t it? Soft. No judgment. Like a cloud.

OK, let’s take a deep breath and get started.

First make yourself comfortable, wherever you happen to be right now. Maybe you’re in a bank, or a commercial airliner. Maybe you’ve barricaded yourself in someone’s home. That’s OK! Just settle in. Feel the floor under your feet. Maybe remove your shoes, and any body armor you might be wearing.

Just be in the moment. Breathe. In... and out.

As you’re breathing, look around you. What do you see? Terrified faces? Overturned furniture? A rooftop sniper?

It’s OK to notice these things. Don’t try to ignore them. Don’t feel as if you have to change them. That will only add to your stress. Instead, just acknowledge them. Regard them the way you regard clouds drifting through the sky.  

Eventually some of the things around you might create a diversion and run for a fire exit. And that is OK too. Let them go! Feel your tension exit with them.

Next, take a moment to listen. Hear yourself breathing, in and out. What else do you hear? Maybe the sound of traffic, or air flowing through a vent. Maybe you hear birds singing. Or a small team assembling outside the door. Whatever you hear, again—acknowledge it and let it be. These things are only sounds! Sounds can’t hurt you. Unless they come from a sonic weapon, and those are still experimental or restricted to military use. For the most part.

Deep breath in… and out.

Pay attention to what you’re holding onto. Maybe it’s a grudge, or fear, or anger. Maybe it’s a steak knife. Whatever it is, know that you aren’t alone. We’re all holding onto something destructive. For example, some of us—probably more than you realize—are holding onto things like Mossberg 590 Tactical shotguns or Heckler & Koch MP5 9mm submachine guns with laser sights.

Whatever things that you’re holding onto at this moment, well… just let them go. Watch them float away, like clouds.

As we wrap up our time together, how is your head feeling? Lighter? Clearer? More at peace?

Reach up and feel it. Use both hands. Just rest them there for a while, with your eyes closed, breathing. Realize how lucky you are. You are a human being, alive and breathing, and you have a head with exactly the number of holes it should have and not one hole more. That is a pretty wonderful thing!

One more deep breath in…

And out.

And when you’re ready—no rush—go ahead and open your eyes.

Acknowledge the men in helmets and Kevlar vests, but again, don’t try to change or control them. They’re just floating through. Watch them flow. Gently. Being themselves, doing their work, screaming at you to get the fuck down on the floor.

Just like clouds.

Well, that’s it for this time. Thanks again for joining me. And remember: You have the right to remain... relaxed.