Working with body symptoms

I have caught one of the popular germs going around these days, so have had an opportunity to explore how to work with the symptoms. (In this case of bronchitis.)

My main exploration has been in finding the strongest symptoms (headache, chest pain, fuzzy/muddled mind, fatigue, persistent cough), explore it in the sensation field, and notice what it is made of. Is it solid? Awareness itself? Nothing taking the form of something?

Other ways to explore these symptoms:

  • Finding and investigating beliefs. (I shouldn’t be sick. I should be able to […] in spite of being sick. I am missing out. My body should be able to resist it. I am letting people down. I could infect others.)
  • Using more stable symptoms (headaches, chest pain) as object for stability practice, bringing a stable attention to it.
  • Fully allowing experience, in a heartfelt way, as it is, as if it would never go away.
  • Exploring how I can find support in the symptoms. For instance today, when I went to the Jung workshop in spite of the bronchitis, I found the fatigue and muddled mind to be an invitation to and support for relaxing, taking care of myself in whatever ways I needed, allowing the information to sink in without over-analyzing it and picking everything apart, and generally just enjoying myself without trying to be a good student, say something clever, or get a lot out of it. (Which actually meant I got more out of it, at several different levels.)
  • Exploring the symptoms in the sense fields, one at a time. What do I find in the sensations alone? What gestalt is created when sensations and thoughts combine? How does this gestalt appear when it is taken as solid and real? How does it appear when I notice it as a gestalt, made up of sensations and thoughts? How does it appear if I bring attention to it in the sensation field only? What happens when I resist the experience of the gestalt or the sensations? What happens when I fully allow the experience? What happens when I notice the sensations and thoughts as emptiness/awareness?
  • Notice how I relate to whatever happens during these explorations. What happens when I fall asleep or notice a fuzzy mind that is less “serviceable” than usual? What are my beliefs around it, and how it “should” be?

2 thoughts to “Working with body symptoms”

  1. When you say “notice the sensations and thoughts as emptiness/awareness”is that the same as saying “notice…from the perspective of emptiness/awareness”?

  2. Hm… that seems like a good question to explore.

    First, if I bring attention to sensations, what are these sensations made of? Are they substantial? Ephemeral? Awareness itself? What do I find when I look for myself, here and now?

    And then, who or what is experiencing? Where is this sense of “I” located? What do I find when I explore it more closely? Is that too just a collection of sensations, used as an anchor of a sense of a separate I? Is that too content of experience, as everything else? Then what is really experiencing?

    Does that address your question?

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