Tara Brach on Embodied Presence [Part 2] – Planting our Roots in the Universe

[flute] Namaste and welcome. There is a story about a Buddhist master who
was asked how come he meditated and his response was, “To see the tiny purple flowers by
the side of the road as I walk to town each day.” And that to me is as beautiful a reason as
any. Our last talk – or the last live talk – was
on embodied presence, how this waking up to the life of our body, coming home to the aliveness
of our senses, really is the gateway to everything we long for. If we can really wake up in our bodies, we
can wake up to our heart loving and we can wake up to our full wisdom. And so what I’d like to do is continue that. This will be part two. And what we’ll do is we’ll look at both
the challenges of waking up in our bodies and also the gifts. And as we explored a couple of weeks ago,
one Buddhist master put it really well, when he was asked to describe the world his response
was, “Lost in thought.” And there we go. When we look back on today, it’s pretty
easy to sense how much we were in that trance, that kind of virtual reality of thoughts. And often it’s easy to see in retrospect
how little we were actually awake in our bodies and our senses. And we know that that’s the way it goes
that we spend a lot of time not only in thoughts but in thoughts that get us tight like worry-thoughts
and like judging thoughts and like planning when we don’t need to keep planning or rehearsing
when we don’t need to rehearse type of thoughts. So we see that we spend time in those kinds
of virtual realms and we are not so often aware of the life that’s here. And this is true even when we get sometimes
into our contemplations of the spiritual mysteries. We are one step removed from full here-ness. One of my favorites of the Zen stories is
of a young monk who asks the abbot of the monastery, “Well, what happens after we
die?” And the abed said, “I don’t know.” And the monk was kind of alarmed, he said,
“But I thought you were a Zen master.” And his response was, “I am. But not a dead one.” And so it’s a really interesting enquiry
about the role of thoughts ‘cause we need them to survive and to flourish and they do
serve us on the spiritual path and we are addicted to our thoughts, we get lost in thoughts
that don’t serve us as we well know, and in the deepest way, if we don’t know how
to step out of this ongoing conceptualizing, we can’t really contact directly the reality
that’s here, we can’t know truth directly. When we can’t get out of thoughts, we can’t
feel the fullness of love when we are really wide open because thoughts create a matrix
here. There is a self and an other and a sense of
separation. So we need to wake up out of our thoughts. And the challenge is – and here is the bottom-line
challenge – that when we wake up out of thoughts and come into our bodies we’re
coming into the wilderness because we are coming into the domain where it can feel raw
and where there can be an intensity of pleasure and unpleasantness and pain and so there is
these inner weather systems, we can’t control them, we are just, if we are opening to our
bodies we are just feeling what’s there. It’s much easier to remove ourselves and
stay in the mental control tower. We dissociate. I always love George Carlin’s phrase, he
says, “I’m not into working out. My motto is: no pain, no pain.” And the reality is: We don’t like hanging
out with pain, you know. We want to fix it or get away from it in some
way. So we’ll look at together how we can practice
when we do have physical or emotional pain, we’ll look at that some. And I’m curious: How many of you have noticed
when you started meditating that you do find you have a lot of pain that you are working
with? Can I see by hands? So there are a lot of us. For those of you who aren’t watching that
was probably fifty percent. And that’s just like right now. All of us experience pain some time or other. I can say for myself that I’ve had my reasonable
share. I had a period where I had pretty ongoing
chronic pain for about six years, sometimes acute, not always acute, which can really
be exhausting. And of course I know many people that have
had it way worse. But I know what it’s like to sit down to
meditate and everything in you is going, “I don’t want to be feeling this! I just don’t want to sit with this!” So if meditation means waking up to the yuckiness
that we are feeling in our body, obviously we are not going to be that drawn to it. So let’s look at this. But I want to first emphasize that, even when
we’re not experiencing chronic or acute pain, our default – and this is built into
our brains – our default setting when there is any kind of stress at all, and that’s
a lot of the time, is to leave our bodies. We immediately go to how to control things
and fix things and we leave our bodies. And you might have noticed that the more stressed
you get… I always liken this to riding a bicycle and
we are riding away from presence and the more stressed we get the faster we are peddling
to kind of get somewhere and do something and fix something. And then with that there is that sense “There
is not enough time,” you notice that one, how often we feel there is not enough time? So we leave. And we leave even when there’s just ordinary
unease. We leave our bodies and we kind of go into
that, you know, some habit of the mind or behavior to take us away from that discomfort. Some years ago I read a story that was told
by a doctor who was an OBGYN and he described when he was very new in his practice how he
was gotten really nervous and self-conscious when he was doing pelvic exams for women. It really made him uncomfortable. So he developed this kind of unconscious habit
of whistling when he was doing the exams. And one day he describes he was doing an exam
on one woman and she started giggling and then she started laughing and he said, “Oh
what’s wrong? Am I tickling you?” And she said, “Oh no, no, doctor. But what you are whistling is ‘I wish I
were an Oscar Meyer Wiener.” So we leave, we get into our habits, and some
of them are more… some of them cause more harm, some of them don’t cause harm, but
the deal is: the more intense our discomfort the more fully we dissociate. And when I say that: As a society we’re
dissociative; the more that we are struggling with war or with natural disasters, with societal
oppression like racism that creates a feeling of “unsafe to be in this body.” I remember Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it so powerfully
how being African-American in this country means it is unsafe to be in your body so,
rather than stay with that… And it’s the same with our personal life;
so many have experienced abuse, a really deep wounding and very early on this is our survival
mechanism, we leave the site where it feels most uncontrollable and painful. So let’s look at what happens when we leave,
what happens when we dissociate. And I look at it like we all are somewhat
dissociated and we all know we get lost in virtual reality and forget to be here. But what happens? What happens when we leave the aliveness that’s
here and when there is unprocessed fear, when there is vulnerability we haven’t attended
to? Well, one thing is: fatigue because it takes
energy to maintain dissociation. Does that make sense? That if we have to leave it takes energy to
keep on leaving. The other thing is: when we are dissociated
we are still chronically anxious because, even though we are dissociated, the parts
of us that are vulnerable we still know they are there on some level and, you know, it’s
as they say that the issues are in our tissues. So there is unprocessed life here. So we are still anxious. There is a kind of chronic anxiety and it
keeps us going and it keeps us spinning up here but there is anxiety. Okay, so fatigue and anxiety when we are dissociated. And then there is judgment and shame for the
ways we end up leaving. You know, I gave you a silly example with
the OBGYN, but I mean what are the ways that we leave? I mean, for so many of us we obsess, and we
know we obsess, or for so many others of us – there is an overlap – we use substance
to numb us, to make us feel better, to take us away from that unpleasantness, to run away
with that we over-consume. So then we judge ourselves for it. Okay, so fatigue, anxiety, judgment. And then in a very deep way when we leave
we cut off from our hearts so our caring gets a little more abstract, we are not as much
feeling it as tenderness. And I know many people when I’ve worked
with them have confessed that they don’t feel like they’re really caring people,
like they can have bursts of it but to really feel open-hearted that’s not what they feel
‘cause there is kind of a cut off. Two men are playing golf and one is about
to take a swing when a funeral procession appears on the road next to the course. He puts down mid swing, stops everything,
puts everything down, takes off his cap, closes his eyes and bows his head in contemplation. His companion comments, “Wow! That’s the most touching thing I have seen! You are a very feeling man!” The man recovers himself and says, “Yeah,
well, we were married for thirty-five years.” So cut off from our hearts. And there is another… There are a lot of levels of what happens
when we dissociate. I’m naming some of the ones that are…
that are really common. We also get cut off – and this is when you
think of chakras – we get cut off from this area here – our belly, our pelvic area – which
is considered the site of our authentic power. So when we are lost in our virtual reality
we are actually cut off from an embodiment that has to do with being empowered. We might have power from anger, a kind of
mental kind of power, but it’s not authentic, does that make sense? The last thing to mention is that when we
are not embodied, when we are cut off, we are cut off from the source of our intuition
and our wisdom. So there are a lot of compelling reasons to
come back into wholeness and to this embodied presence, to feel that we are here. And you might just in these moments sense:
How here are you? And not to judge but just to notice if you’ve
been aware of your body sitting here, if you feel like you have feet or if you are actually
filling your feet with awareness, if you feel like you have arms or whether they are actually
alive and vibrating, feel yourself here. Feel yourself here. So we’ll talk about how do we return and
then we’re going to go further into when it’s really difficult how do we return. The most basic practice in how to return:
Well, during the day, when we notice we are in trance, when we notice we have completely
left, if we can pause a moment and just invite ourselves back, interrupt, even for a short
time, pause and breathe and just feel ourselves coming back, that’s a really important practice
through the day. If you are in conversation with someone and
if you can even just for a moment say, “Be here! Feel your breath!” you’ll actually be
in a relational field, more of a resonance field – you’ll pick up more, you’ll
be more responsive, you’ll be less habituated and automatic. Even just a few moments of breathing and saying,
“Be here!” it’s really, really powerful. If you can move through the day and choose
a few times during the day where in particular you are going to invite yourself to arrive
– and by that I mean maybe when you are walking to a post box you say, “This walk
is when I am actually going to feel myself walking,” you know, something like that,
or it might be when you are making your bed, when you make your bed you are going to actually
feel the movements of making your bed. I think the best one – and all of us can
do this – do it for a week and see what happens – is make your shower or your bath
– if you happen to take a bath – the time that you are actually going to open to sensations,
they are typically on the nice side of sensations, you know what I mean? And actually feel it, feel the washing over
of water and the heat and the temperature and the texture and slipperiness of soap or
whatever you use to lather and feel the touch of your own hand on your own body and be there
for it. I’ve shared how I remember once – it was
about a year and a half ago – being in the shower and thinking about a talk I was going
to give on how to become more present and realizing that I had just completely lathered
my hair with shaving cream. And so: Be in the shower and actually be there,
don’t think about being there, if you can possibly do that. So that’s during the day how to really come
back and make a point of saying, “Can I be in my body? Especially for the important conversations.” Then there is the daily practice where you
take whatever time you take each day to actually come into stillness and include in your daily
practice a body scan. And it can be a short one or a long one. But move through your body enough so that
you know you are awake in the different parts of your body. You can sit there and feel this body breathing
and actually feel the sensations and aliveness that’s here from the inside out. And if you are wondering what I mean by this,
let’s just try something out. Take a moment to pick up your hand and look
at your hand and first of all just notice it, you might even mentally say “Oh my hand”
and kind of roll it around. And you might have opinions about your hand
like “Oh my God, how did it get so wrinkly and veiny,” you know or “Oh my finger
nails” or “Oh it looks pretty strong” or whatever it is. Just look at your hand. And you might even pick it up as I am, kind
of in front of you, and now close your eyes and let any idea of “hand” go and just
feel it from the inside out. And you might begin to just move slowly your
arm so your hand is kind of travelling in front of you back and forth, slowly, so as
if you are moving through water just moving through space, and feel the sensations in
your hand. See if you can soften as you move. And then coming into stillness right in front
of you, soften even more, and how much do you notice the tingling and the vibrating,
the pulsing, perhaps a sense of warmth? And do you feel whether there is any boundary
where hand stops and something else is there? Feel the aliveness from the inside out and
notice the difference between any idea of “hand” and this living, vibrating, ever-changing
flow of sensation. It’s different. This is the difference between virtual reality
of thoughts and the mystery and aliveness of embodiment. You can let your hand very slowly relax down. Pema Chödron says, “This very body that
we have that’s sitting here right now with its aches and its pleasures is exactly what
we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive. So what about when this very body that we
have is feeling a lot of unpleasant sensations or emotions. How do we relate to that? There is a basic principal and it’s kind
of a faux equation that I’ll name. And it goes like this: that pain time’s
resistance equals suffering. Okay? Pain times resistance equals suffering. And the understanding is that pain is inevitable
but suffering is optional. And it happens when we tense against the pain. Pain comes and goes but we tense against it
and we lock into a kind of higher-level tension, which is really suffering. So if you observe what happens when you get
a strong wave of pain, often immediately there is a sense of “I don’t like this! This is bad! Something is terribly wrong! How can I get rid of it?” And that’s kind of what we do. We don’t just feel it as “sensations,”
you know, when we’re just feeling what is there and just directly contacting reality. We immediately add on stuff. It’s a whole virtual reality we wrap around
it. I think Dave Barry put it really well, he
said, “If you ever experience a medial symptom such as itching, you can go to the Internet
and with just a few clicks discover the reassuring truth: There might be a worm in your brain. Really, Medline Plus” – that’s the national
medical library – “and the NIH say ‘Itching can be a symptom of a condition called Visceral
Larva Migraines, literally, a worm in your brain.’ Another symptom of brain worm is” – this
is a direct quote by the way from Medline Plus – “Another symptom of brain worm
is irritability.” So we have to different degrees our versions
of proliferating what’s there. And what starts out as unpleasantness for
many of us very quickly becomes something really wrong. But often the reaction – the emotional pain
that we have to physical pain – is way more difficult than the physical pain. And I’ve experienced that myself. When I was at my sickest and I kind of had
a spiral down for many years I didn’t know what was going on and the not-knowing and
then not-knowing if it would ever end and then beginning to think it would never end
‘cause it went on for years… The mindset that developed around that was
way more painful than the actual physical experience. And I think you understand ‘cause so many
of us go through it. So how to relate? Pain times resistance – all the judgments
and ideas and so on – equals suffering. If it’s just unpleasantness, most often
–I mean, sometimes it’s beyond the level of tolerance – but often it can come and
go and it’s actually tolerable. Let me give you an example of how one person
worked with it in this way just putting down the resistance. It was a runner who was a meditator who I…
it was powerful to work with him because I was working with him just at the time when
I had to give up running because of my connective tissue difficulties. And he had a torn ACL ligament. So we were meeting and I think we had met
at a retreat and then we had talked once after the retreat. And the pain set off all this fear and anger
and then depression ‘cause he was a life-long runner and, you know, he had to have this
surgery and then it was a really slow recovery. And so he was depressed. It was months. And he realized that any time he’d feel
pain in his knees it would become a real anger at his body. He felt betrayed by his body, which many of
us can feel. So we began to work with that. And the way we worked was a combination. One piece was he started practicing just doing
a simple body scan and just letting, instead of calling it pain, just letting it be unpleasant
sensations. And he’d feel the different parts of his
body where there were not unpleasant sensations – he’d feel his shoulders, his hand – and
then the places where they were and he’d just start getting the knack of directly contacting
the reality of the sensations: okay, it’s like this, pleasant, tingling, vibrating,
unpleasant, sore, squeeze, tender. You understand? He just got the knack of being with sensations. And when it was painful he realized it wasn’t
excruciating, he could tolerate it, and he started feeling the soft space around where
the unpleasantness was so he was kind of resting with it in a bigger space. And when he went off in a reaction, you know,
when he started spinning because it’s not like we can learn right away to just put that
down and basically his spin was, “What’s going to happen in the future? Will I ever be able to run again?” and so
on, he would say, “Thank you very much but we don’t know” and he would bring himself
back to the body scan. Well, he just became more kind and present
with his body. And it helped him in recovering. He was actually more responsive and attuned
to his body so he knew how not to injure himself. And he recovered enough so he didn’t go
back to full running, he ended up doing fast walking and doing other types of exercise
more, but he described it to me, he said, “When I was running I was using my body
like a machine, I never was occupying my body. Now I’m inhabiting my body and whether it’s
the walking or the swimming or whether I’m doing yoga” – because he started doing
yoga – “I’m more alive than I’ve ever been before even though I can’t run.” So I share this story because there are many
of us that are in that range of “It’s not excruciating but we have a lot of proliferation
wrapped around it and there is a real power to waking up out of the story – that’s
the resistance – and just feeling sensations as sensations. I know from myself in some way just the words
“This belongs,” when I feel, you know, in a way pain like right now as I mentioned
earlier to some of you I have a bit of the tail end of a virus, I’m struggling with
something that my grand-daughter passed on and for the first few days it was one of those
real kind of feeling all that kind of queasy, achy and so on and I just kept saying “This
belongs, this is just the weather system right now” and it just created a lot more space
than if I’d started computing “When will it be gone?” and “Will I be able to show
up for Wednesday night?” and all those things I often do. There is increasing science on this that’s
so interesting to me these several double-blind studies where, instead of resisting what’s
going on when there is pain and difficulty in parts of our bodies, there is really a
sense of openness and presence, there is actually greater access of the immune system to that
area of injury. I think that’s really interesting. The immune system obviously is going to not
work as well when we’re stressing. So it’s not that hard to relate to. One friend of mine had psoriasis on both of
his arms and he did an experiment. Now this is a very non-clinical experiment. But he sent loving kindness to one arm but
not the other. And he swears it got better. So I wrote a lot about this in the beginning
in “Radical Acceptance” about how to work with pain and not resist it and not call it
pain just be with sensations. And one man – Eduardo Ocubaro – read it
and he said, “Your book helped me a lot to cope with pain some days ago when I had
terrible renal colic due to a kidney stone. Once I expel it, I will name the stone after
you.” I thought that was the highest praise I have
ever gotten. So let’s now look at what happens if it’s
not in that toleration, it feels really strong, how do we work with difficult pain? And one of the most basic ways is to become
aware of the parts of your body where you aren’t feeling pain – it might be your
hands or it might be your shoulders or your feet – or you might be aware of something
around you that isn’t painful – maybe in the sounds around you – or you might become
aware of a person that brings up good feelings and it feels safe or an activity. But come up with something else that’s like
an anchor for your attention, that’s different than the pain, okay, so you might be sitting
here right now – and you can do this, we’ll just practice it a little – and you might
notice that there is somewhere in your body that’s not feeling so good. And if you don’t have any uncomfortable
feelings in your body right now I am happy for you and you can do this another time. But if you do, just feel where that is. And we’ll call that Zone One, that’s your
unpleasant area, okay? Notice what it’s like. But now find Zone Two. And by Zone Two, as I mentioned, it could
be some area in your body that feels neutral, you might soften your hands and feel that
that’s kind of neutral, or it might be that you for Zone Two you just are listening to
the sounds around you, the sound of my voice in the space that’s here and that could
be Zone Two or there might be somebody that brings you feelings of happiness or peace,
good mood, it might be your dog and just to have that image of that person or being or
it might be a landscape that’s kind of sacred to you, s it could be an image, but pick your
Zone Two which is pleasant and let yourself stay with that and just let yourself get kind
of familiarized with Zone Two, with the sensations are okay and the mood is pleasant. And then see if you can move back and forth
so that you are aware of Zone Two – the pleasantness – and then just dip in a little
to Zone One as you are feeling it, feeling the unpleasant sensations, and then go back
to Zone Two so you’re remembering a larger space where there is something more neutral
or pleasant or okay. And then feeling Zone One again, just feeling
the uncomfortableness, and maybe you stay a little longer and start noticing that unpleasantness
isn’t a solid block, it’s a changing movement of sensations. And you might sense the space around it, space
between unpleasant sensations, and then if it feels like a lot again go back to that
more neutral experience, maybe your hands or sounds or pleasant image. And the value of this is that you’re not
getting rid of and resisting the unpleasantness but you are helping to keep yourself connected
to a larger space so you are not stuck in it and tensing against it, back and forth. And if it starts feeling more navigable and
you feel like you can stay a little bit longer then with relaxed, gentle attention allow
yourself to feel from the inside out the area that’s unpleasant and see if you can notice
the space between unpleasant sensations. And see if you can notice right outside them
just the spaces outside them. And notice that there is more presence and
balance than when you are resisting or judging. You are here but they don’t take over. And take a few full breaths and come on back. Now there are times when they are super-unpleasant
and they totally take over and there is just no mobility of the mind to create a larger
space. And it’s not wise or helpful to… It’s kind of a masochistic thing to try
to rivet your attention there and keep coming back there. It’s exhausting. And I’ve had many times of that. Then those are not the times to try to be
with difficult, unpleasant sensations. Instead, what you want to do is take a break
and find any way that you can bring the attention to something different that is wholesome to
you. And it might be music and it might be a cup
of tea and it might be talking to a friend or it might be going for a walk or it may
be in some way just listening to the right music or listening to a talk or whatever it
is but something where you feel some resource, some way you are resourced and replenished. For one little girl – and I heard this story
from the MINDS organization that brings mindfulness to the inner city and other places – one
little girl when she got really upset she said she puts her hand onto her dogs heart
and that’s how she resources. So in some way find your way to putting your
hand on a dog’s heart or in some way bringing yourself some comfort and taking a break. And this is particularly true if there is
trauma because, you know, we are talking about physical pain but it’s the same with emotional
pain. If it’s strong, by trying to be with it
we can end up retraumatizing ourselves and that doesn’t serve anything. So the bottom line is our issues are in our
tissues and even with trauma we have to gradually learn to re-enter our body, to bring compassion,
gentle, interest and care and reparent what’s there, we need to be in touch. But it has to be gradual. And we have to begin by knowing how we can
find safe space that isn’t where we are being dominated by the unpleasantness. The meta-meditation, loving-kindness, can
be a very powerful way if you are feeling a sense of trauma or a lot of pain in the
body. Just to be offering yourself care with your
words and with images can be a way of creating a larger space and not getting in the grip
of the pain. So I started this by saying: We leave regularly. And whether we have a huge amount of pain
or it’s just a default in the brain because there is some stress and we are in the habit
of obsessing and judging and worrying we leave regularly. And of course the more trauma the more we
leave. I’d like to end this by talking about two
related gifts that come just as we have the intention and we begin to navigate back into
our bodies ‘cause they are so precious. And the first one I’ve pointed to which
is we become more intimate with life. Intimacy whether it’s with our inner life
or with each other we have to be here for it. So when we’re in our bodies we are more
empathetic, we are more attuned, we actually can listen and respond to ourselves and each
other with a lot more sensitivity. I’d like to share with you – and I invite
you to kind of listen to this as if you are hearing it from your own inner life speaking
to you – it’s a beautiful prayer, it’s called “A Felt Sense Prayer.” “I am the pain in your head, the knot in
your stomach, the unspoken grief in your smile. I am your high blood sugar, your elevated
blood pressure, your fear of challenge, your lack of trust. I’m your hot flashes, your fragile lower
back, Your agitation, your fatigue. You tend to disown me, suppress me,
ignore me, inflate me, cuddle me, condemn me. You usually want me to go away immediately,
to disappear, to slink back into obscurity. More times than not I am only the most recent
notes of a long symphony, the most evident branches of roots that have
been challenged for seasons. So I implore you: I am a messenger with good
news as disturbing as I can be at times. I am wanting to guide you back to those tender
places in yourself, the places where you can hold yourself with
compassion and honesty. If you look beyond my appearance you may find
that I am a voice from your soul calling you from places deep within that seek your conscious
alignment. I may ask you to alter your diet, get more
sleep, exercise regularly, breathe more consciously. I may encourage you to see a vaster reality
and worry less about the day-to-day fluctuations of life. I may ask you to explore the bonds and the
wounds of your relationship. I am your friend not your enemy. I have no desire to bring pain and suffering
into your life. I am simply tugging at your sleeve too long
immune to gentle nudges. I desire for you to allow me to speak to you
in a way that enlivens your higher instincts for self-care. You are a being so vast, so complex, with
amazing capacities for self-regulation and healing. Let me be one of the harbingers that lead
you to the mysterious core of your being where insight and wisdom are naturally available
when called upon. With a sincere heart.” Let me be one of the harbingers that leads
you to the mysterious core of your being where insight and wisdom are naturally available
when called upon with a sincere heart.” So the first gift is that sensitivity, that
listening, that being guided by the life of our body right back to the mystery, the truth,
the essence of who we are. And the second gift – and I said they are
interrelated – when we leave who we are shrinks, the sense of who we are becomes the
narrative self, that’s one way of describing it, we are living in the story of ourself. It’s a self-centeredness. But we’ve lost touch with our heart, with
our wholeness of being. As we reconnect we start inhabiting the very
ground of being. And I speak for myself, as I mentioned earlier,
I had this kind of eight year decline and my prayer over and over again was, “Can
I find freedom in the midst of feeling really terrible.” And it was periodic bouts of a lot of pain. But when it was extreme, as I mentioned, there
was a lot of fear and a lot of sense of loss. So what I started doing ‘cause I started
realizing that when I left it, when I tried to fix myself or when I condemned my body
and a lot of times felt shame like “I’m not taking good care of myself,” I was going
into this very small, dissociated self just as I was describing. It was a kind of story of myself. So my practice became contact reality, just
contact reality, have the courage to be with what’s here. And it wasn’t in a kind of harsh way just
like “Just open into what’s here and let it unfold itself.” And so that’s when I started really using
these words “This belongs.” Okay, this pain in this moment belongs, this
fear belongs, this grief about losing mobility, this grief about losing my capacity to do
things that I loved, this belongs too. And as I let go of the resistance – remember
pain times resistance equals suffering – as I let go of resistance and let it belong I
started opening into this space, this heart-space, where I really had room for the grief and
the pain and the discomfort. And that heart-space was more the truth and
preciousness of who I am than any of the stories. And then as happened for me I really got better. I am much much better. And I got that take away of when it’s difficult
not to resist because if we open to what’s happening we become that openness. This is Anne Morrow Lindbergh, writes, “Go
with the pain. Let it take you. Open your palms and your body to the pain. It comes in waves like a tide. And you must be open as a vessel lying on
the beach, letting it fill you up and then retreating, leaving you empty and clear. With a deep breath, it has to be as deep as
the pain, one reaches a kind of inner freedom from pain as though the pain were not yours
but your body’s. The spirit lays the body on the altar.” The spirit lays the body on the altar.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh. So these are the gifts. These are the gifts – that sensitivity and
intimacy with others as we wake up in our bodies and really coming home to that wholeness
of being that is our true nature. And then we get to move through the world
and enjoy those tiny purple flowers by the side of the road, really enjoy our moments. We get to be with our child and feel the hug
that really connects us or we get to be with a friend who is in sorrow and actually stay
and open our hearts to that. We get to open to the night’s sky. We are here. So let’s close in a very simple way. I invite you to come into stillness. Take a moment to as you close your eyes sense
as you attend to your body what wants to let go right now? Where is there some habitual tightness that
wants to release a little bit? You might let yourself feel the movement of
the breath. And as you relax a bit feel this whole body
breathing. A gentle, receptive attention. Feeling the aliveness from the inside out. Softening your hands and feeling the hands
tingling and vibrating. Feeling the feet from the inside out. Letting your whole body fill with awareness
and aliveness. And feeling the aliveness in the area of the
heart, the tenderness of the heart, this heart-space that’s here. May we be blessed to live from embodied presence,
to realize the love and creativity and freedom that are our essence. Namaste and thank you for your attention.


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