How do we respond to and meet contractions in ourselves? Do we struggle with them? (Avoid, join in, try go make go away.) Or do we befriend them? (Notice, allow, welcome, get to know.)
And what are these contractions? They are body-mind contractions. They are muscle contractions and have a physical component. And they are mind contractions, in the form of beliefs, identifications, hangups, wounds, and trauma. (All names for the same dynamics.) The two go together and come from the same overall contractions.
If we struggle with these when they surface, they tend to be reinforced. We relate to them as if the stressful stories within them are real and true and possibly threatening, so we reinforce the impression that they are real, true, and threatening.
And we can struggle with them in many different ways. We try to avoid them, distract ourselves from them, pretend they are not there, and so on. We join in with them and their stressful stories, and fuel and elaborate on the stressful stories and see the world from their view. We try to make it go away by fixing and healing it, and do from a compulsive place.
We meet contractions from a contracted place, and that reinforces the contractions all around.
If we befriend these contractions, they have the opportunity to relax and unwind.
How do we befriend them? By noticing, allowing, welcoming, and meeting them with respect, patience, and a gentle curiosity, as we would a suffering friend, child, or animal.
We notice they are here. We accept they are here, since they already are here. We allow them to be as they are, and notice they are already here as they are. We can actively welcome them. (“You are welcome here”.) We can treat them with respect. We can honor them as they are. We have patience with them. They have their own processes and life.
We can have a gentle curiosity about them. We can listen to what they have to tell us. (“If it could speak, what would it say?”) We can listen for their advice. (“What advice does it have for X? (X=this human self.)) We can find the stressful story or stories behind it, and find what’s genuinely more true for us.
We can recognize that they are here to protect us, to protect this human self. Many of them were created in childhood, to protect us, and they were created from that child’s way of looking at the world. They come from innocence. And they come from care and love. In a very real way, they are confused love.
Through seeing they come from love, we may more easily meet them with genuine love.
We may notice they are created by sensations and mental images and words. The sensations give a sense of solidity and even truth to the stories, and the stories give a sense of meaning to the sensations. If we pay attention to one side of this at a time, we learn to differentiate the two and the “glue” holding them together tends to weaken and soften.
We may notice they happpen within and as our sense fields. They happen within and as what we are. They have the same true nature as ourselves. (They are capacity for themselves, they are awake space.)
LIKE CREATES LIKE
When contractions are met from a contracted place, they are reinforced. We reinforce their scary nature for ourselves.
And when they are befriended, they are allowed to relax and unravel.
WHAT A CLEAR AND KIND MIND NATURALLY DOES
When we befriend our experiences, and especially the contractions in our system, we meet them as a good friend, as a good parent meets a scared child, as we would meet a frightened animal.
We also meet our experiences as awakening naturally does. As we do when we notice what we are, and notice these contractions as happening within and as what we are. We are mimicking something that naturally happens within awakening.
This is all a very natural process, and since most of us don’t always do this naturally – for instance, when especially scary contractions come up in us – it’s often something we need to explore more intentionally.
We need to get familiar with how to befriend our experiences, and especially the more (apparently) scary ones.
We may even need some training wheels, in the form of specific practices. And then, as we get more familiar with it, it gets simpler and more natural. It gets more intimate.
HEALING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LIFE
This is a very simple process (although not always easy!) that heals our relationship with our experiences, and it invites in healing for our human self.
And if we are interested in noticing what we are, it helps us notice that even these contractions are what we are. They happen within and as our sense fields. They happen within and as what we are, and we share the same true nature. And this makes it easier to notice what we are even when these contractions surface.
Befriending our experiences, and in particular our contractions, in this way… is simple, natural, heals our relationship with our experiences, invites in healing for our human self, and supports noticing what we are.
We find healing for our relationship with life, all around.
Life finds healing for its relationship with itself. Read More