875th Week: Finding Steadiness While Honoring Painful Feelings

For those of us in the United States, it’s been a challenging time, as it has also been in Ukraine and many other parts of the world. There is abundant human suffering and for many of us it is a challenge to know how to keep our hearts open when there are so many heartbreaking events unfolding. There are also events that generate outrage and/or despair, and these feelings demand our attention and awareness, as well.

I have a deep respect for our wholeness, where nothing can be left out of the complexity of our experiences, feelings, responses, and reactions to our world and what is happening in it. For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a brief guided meditation to support being present to everything that you feel about what is going on in your world.

  • To begin, take a moment to settle in where you can sit comfortably and remain alert and aware with your eyes closed.
  • Notice the supportive presence of your body and also the presence of the support under you right now. Notice how your body receives this support and recognize that, for right now, there’s nothing you have to do or change. There’s just an invitation to be present to this meditation experience.
  • Next, notice the place in you where you automatically settle when you follow the next out-breath down to the bottom of the breath. Most often, this place of arriving is where you also find your core presence.
  • Here, in this place of core presence, there is a steadiness that is always present. It is an aspect of your wholeness that is never disturbed. It is always just what it is—steady.
  • Take a few moments to become aware of this fundamental steadiness and allow yourself to resonate with it. Notice how the effect on your body and psyche when you take time to experience this steadiness—a place in you that is never disturbed. Let yourself fill up with the quality of steadiness.
  • Whether you experience the steadiness as a sensation, a color, a sound—however it represents itself, fill yourself up with this quality. Imagine that you fill every particle of your body-mind being with it.
  • Next, bring your awareness to your heart space. Place a hand on your heart to offer support and notice how you feel as you bring your awareness to your heart. Whatever is there, offer the support of your hand and just be with the feelings that may arise.
  • A key here is to also bring along your awareness of the underlying steadiness of your core presence, the steadiness that is always there, that is never disturbed.
  • Make room for both—whatever it is your heart feels and also the steadiness that fills your body-mind being.
  • If you feel grief, anger, fear, despair—whatever arises, give it some time to move through you as you recognize that countless other people in the world right now feel exactly the same way. Honor and acknowledge the feeling as it moves through and notice what it’s like not to add anything else to it. It may come with its own words or sounds. Let it be what it is without ramping it up with added thoughts or words.
  • Take some time now just to be present to your wholeness, to the truth of all that you feel, keeping in your awareness that the steadiness that is never disturbed is like a container for your wholeness right now. Also notice your hand as it supports your heart and recognize that you offer yourself the gift of your presence, of an acceptance of all that you feel, an acceptance of your wholeness.
  • End this meditation orienting to the steadiness, allowing it to come into the foreground. Lean into it and feel its support in whatever ways make sense to you. It is always there in the background of your awareness. You can return to it, drawing it into the foreground in any moment you choose to do so.
  • When you’re ready to come back, open your eyes if you haven’t already, wiggle your fingers and toes, and take a moment to allow your eyes to land on something that your eyes really enjoy seeing.

As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything with or about them. 

These are times when our practices are very important companions along the way, as we are challenged in countless ways. Remember that in our wholeness we have everything we need to remain steady. It’s a matter of noticing what is in the foreground of awareness in any moment and that if we feel overwhelmed we have the ever-present steadiness to turn to, to draw on, as needed. It’s a powerful and useful resource to cultivate, so I recommend that you practice orienting to your underlying steadiness so it will be there when you need to bring it into the foreground of your awareness.

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