Jeff Foster: What happens when, just for a moment, we stay with our pain

What happens when, just for a moment, we stay with our pain, our fear, our doubt, our discomfort, our grief, our broken heart, even our numbness, without trying to change it, or fix it, or numb ourselves to it, or get rid of it in any way? What happens when, even when we feel like leaving, abandoning the moment for the promise of a future salvation, we stay, sitting with the raw, unfiltered, boundlessly alive life-energy that is simply trying to express right now? What happens when, just for a moment, despite all urges to the contrary, we don’t “do” anything about our discomfort or grief, we drop all tricks and tactics and clever manipulations, and instead, begin to deeply acknowledge what is here, honouring it, listening to its deeper call, sinking into the mystery of it? What happens when we make the radical commitment to never turn away from this moment, as it dances in emptiness?

In reality, we are only ever given a moment of pain, and never more, although thought tries to project the pain into time, creating the story of “my past and future pain”, moving into the epic movie of “my lifelong struggle with pain”. But life itself is only ever a moment, and we are always spared from time itself. Can we meet the raw life energy as it arises right now? That is the question. And who meets life? Is there anyone here separate from life in the first place? Is there any choice in the matter? Is there not just intimacy with all experience? Is the ultimate meeting not already happening? Am I not, as the ocean of consciousness, already totally inseparable from the waves of myself, the thoughts, sensations and feelings? Am I not already fully committed to these children of myself, these beloved expressions of my own blood and guts? Is this not an ancient devotion?

And so, it’s not so much that we need to make a commitment to fearlessly contact our embodied experience. It’s more a case of remembering this ancient promise that we already are. In the depths of our being, we are already fully devoted to being here. It is when we forget this primal commitment that we are, that we suffer and seek and long to return home.

“Turn towards me”, our grief whispers. “Just for a moment. Do not be afraid. I am made of you.”

“But I don’t know how to turn”, we reply.

“Then I shall turn towards you. Do not be afraid.”

– Jeff Foster

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