Connecting the Heart With the Disheartened

by Johnna Shryack

Let your eyes close and bring your attention to the sensations that accompany each breath. As awareness begins to establish itself in the moment, allow it to approach the area of discomfort. Just feel what is there. Nothing to change. Nothing to do about it. Just sensations arising in the moment. Just let it all be as it is. As awareness approaches the area of discomfort, is there any tension noticed, any rigidity that it must pass through on the way to the discomfort? Is there is pushing away of this investigation? Just notice whatever resistance might arise. Notice what limits the approach of awareness. Is there a quality of holding surrounding the area of discomfort?

Just examine it. No need to change anything. Just receiving the present as it is. Nothing to define. Just allowing a willingness to know, just allowing a not knowing, to receive the moment, to express its nature. As awareness makes contact with the sensations that arise in the area of discomfort, what else arises to block the moment-to-moment experience of sensations?

Does thought interpose itself? Do feelings interfere with the direct reception of sensations? Do other images arise? Take some time to explore the tone of voice of any interposing thought. Do these thoughts repeat themselves? Do certain feelings seem to be associated with sensations we have labeled as discomfort? Nothing to create, just receiving the moment as it presents itself in a receptive awareness. Are there other sensations which predominate? Sensations of tension or stiffness around discomfort? Are these sensations the same as pain or different?

Is there a sense of urgency? Stiffness? Resistance? Holding? Just noticing whatever arises in an expanding awareness that does not resist resistance of hold to holdings. Is there a density, a shadow that obscures the clear reception of sensation? Is there a texture to whatever holdings may be noticed? What blocks the moment-to-moment reception of sensation? Notice whatever qualities arise in the mind to repel awareness, to deny pain, to resist the moment. Just watching whatever may limit the entrance of awareness into discomfiture. Whatever may disallow mercy?

Now allow the body to soften around whatever hindrances, whatever holdings have presented themselves. Let the body begin to cradle discomfort as if it were embracing a sick child. Nothing to push away. Opening moment to moment all around sensation.

Allow awareness to meet whatever arises with a merciful softness, a willingness to touch the suffering. A willingness to let it be, to let it go ungrasped. Acknowledge whatever attitudes, feelings, or thoughts arise into awareness as it approaches yet more deeply the center of the area of sensation. Just let the sensations be there as they are. Moment to moment. Whatever arises into awareness just let it be there.

Notice how thoughts of “pain”, “tumor”, “cancer”, even of “healing may tighten the area. Let these mental images come and go. Notice whatever expectation creates tension. Notice even the subtlest body reaction to these mental states, to these thoughts and feelings. Notice how even an instant of relating to sensations with fear creates constriction and intensifies discomfort. Watch the mind as it a becomes body moment to moment. Watch the subtlest, the slightest beginning of the hardening around sensations that reacts to any hard thought. Notice the relationship between thinking and tension. Notice what amplifies discomfort in the area of sensation and begin to soften yet more deeply. Notice how softening lets it all float in edgeless awareness. Nothing to hold to, pushing nothing away, let the moment be received without interruption.

Pure awareness touching pure experience.

Notice how even the least pushing away amplifies discomfort. Notice how a deeper softening, a greater letting go all around sensations, allows them to float. Allow each sensation to arise and dissolve in soft open space. Receive each particle of sensation as if for the very first time.

Acknowledging even the slightest tension or holding in a soft allowing awareness, let the healing in. Notice any thoughts or emotions that predominate. Investigate whatever seems to close down on the sensations, to enclose them, to limit access to their deepest nature. Opening moment to moment at the very edge of unfolding sensation.