Healing Through Mindfulness
There is a point in meditation where things begin to soften. Sit long enough and often enough, and it is inevitable. Sensations that once arose with a story and a location, begin to carry less of an identity. With time, we begin to see that sensations aren’t as solid as we once thought. They are actually arising, persisting, subsiding and changing all the time. The body begins to feel less like the form we identify with from the outside and feels more like a pulsing, moving, breathing flow of energy. We begin to experience the body as a constantly changing stream of sensations.
As the body takes less form, so does the mind. You can only sit for so long and continue to identify with all the stories, emotions and images that arise. We begin to see that even the mind is this ever-changing stream of thought. No one thought is more real than the other. As we relax into the ground of awareness, we begin to know that no single thought defines us, yet every thought can be a passing moment within our field of experience. Slowly, we feel less identified by the mind, and the ego and sense of who we are begin to loosen.
It is in this space that we are fully open and available to receive insight, even transformation. The old stories that we were tied to begin to arise and dissolve. Even the strongest of stories and emotions can be experienced without feeling compelled to believe it any longer. The stories can be simple ideas of who we are or our relationships with others. They might be deeper held stories and experiences of pain, fear, loss or trauma. When we are no longer bound by all the mechanisms we have put in place to feel secure and identified, we have the opportunity to move through and let go of the stories that only limit who we are today.
This can be a powerful unraveling. I am not suggesting that this happens over the course of one meditation, but it can happen over the accumulation of time, practice and manifesting the courage to meet whatever arises. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of all the ways in which we have limited ourselves in order to feel comfortable and safe. I have found that most often we need to turn toward the exact thing that makes us feel insecure and uncomfortable to free ourselves again.
“As we bring a gentle attention to the ground of sensations, we free ourselves from the reactive stories and emotions that have kept us bound in fear. By inhabiting our body with awareness, we reclaim our life and our spirit.”
~Tara Brach, from Radical Acceptance