Today is a day that I awakened and was grateful to do so. Breathing into my body, I noticed my ability to sense my toes and my belly and my heart, even to the top of my head.
Today is a day that I sent my mind to a place of intention. Intention to care for myself and others, all day, in a way that is nurturing and beneficial. In that moment I felt my physical self relax into the present.
Today is a day that I cared for my morning body with presence and lovingkindness. Breathing in I am brushing my teeth; breathing out I am grateful for my strong teeth. Breathing in I step into the shower; breathing out I open to a deep experience of the warm water on my back.
Today is a day that I sat to meditate. Focusing on the breath, I found my center on the cushion. Breathing in, I was aware of thoughts; breathing out I let them tumble to the floor behind me, like pieces of a lego puzzle. Breathing in I am open to my heart; breathing out I listen.
Today is a day that I encounter the sad child within. Breathing in I acknowledge her pain; breathing out I send her lovingkindness. Even though tears may come to my eyes with the in-breath; I send compassion and tenderness to her on the out-breath. I wrap her tenderly in the arms of my kind benevolent self, and just love her. I do not need to run away.
Many people are unaware of the pain they carry within their own psyche. Because we live in a culture that does not like to support or acknowledge pain, we have become great artists at removing ourselves from whatever feels difficult. We spend time distracting ourselves as much as possible; talking on the phone, messaging, watching television, playing games, eating, etc. If we are living mindfully we can become aware of the difference between enjoying these activities, instead of using them to run away from the things that are bothering us.
Some of us have been very hurt in our lifetimes and carry a great deal of damage and distress in our internal world. Some of us just carry the ordinary pain of simply living. Most of us are somewhere in between. Keeping our sadness and pain under lock and key is the source of a great deal of additional suffering, often resulting in depression, anxiety and physical illness.
When we enter a mindful life, we open the door to our inner world. Sitting in meditation and simply focusing on the breath we sometimes, unknowingly invite the presence of a whole host of characters, including the sad or injured child.
If this occurs, invite your kind mindful self, your Benevolent Witness to come and hold the sad child. Continue to focus on the breath at the belly. Notice any thoughts including ones like: “ I shouldn’t cry, because once I start I’ll never stop”; or “This is really stupid. I have nothing to cry about...”. Simply come back to focus on the breath. Send tenderness to your sad child, for as long as it takes to feel comforted.
Deeper explorations of inner wounds are not recommended for the beginning practitioner. Sometimes the blocks of pain that we carry are too big and heavy for us to support alone. This important work can be done in the context of insight meditation and Mind Body Intelligencetm-based psychotherapy. It is also, highly recommended to everyone, to join a community of mindful practitioners and receive sustained support for your practice.
That being said; Having the experience of creating a safe inner environment to support whatever pain or difficulty is bothering you, will deepen your ability to be present for your wonderful life!
Examples of mindful communities (Sanghas) can be found at www.sagehealinginstitute.com. Sage Healers’ Sangha for healing professionals (mental health and health practitioners) and Mind Body Intelligence Sangha (for everyone).
May this information benefit you, those you love, and all sentient beings, everywhere.