I had an opportunity to explore being with body symptoms yesterday, as headaches and nausea peaked from something that has been brewing for a couple of days.
As long as the symptoms were mild and moderate, I was able to do other things, including distracting myself by watching movies as it got a little worse. At some point, when it went over the “moderate” threshold, I had no choice but to turn off the light and just be with the symptoms.
If attention wandered, the discomfort increased to feel almost unbearable. But when attention stayed on the body symptoms, it was OK. It was a great laboratory to be with and fully allow whatever happened, and a great feedback mechanism for attention to stay with it in a stable way without wandering.
After a while, there was a shift into a sense of clarity and soft expansion. I feel asleep for a few minutes, and woke up to a sense of clarity, a sweet nurturing fullness, a quiet bliss, and a sense of purification. The body symptoms had shifted into all of these, although I had to lie still for the physical aspects of the nausea to not kick in again. (Meaning: puking.)
So in fully allowing body symptoms, they too are revealed as something else, as any experience. They appear one way when – even subtly – resisted, and another way when wholeheartedly allowed, as they are, as if they would never change.
It is also interesting to notice that this happened on its own during my initial awakening. Whenever I got physically sick, there was a tremendous sense of clarity, bliss, nurturing fullness, and purification. During the dark night phase, I got sick the more usual way without any of this. And now, with some intention, it seems that the shift happens again.
During the initial awakening, the physical illnesses were usually quick and intense, during the dark night longer and lower intensity, and yesterday, quick and intense again.