Friday, January 23, 2015

Physically Processing Bad Things

     “When you're born a light is switched on, a light which shines up through your life. As you get older the light still reaches you, sparkling as it comes up through your memories. And if you're lucky as you travel forward through time, you'll bring the whole of yourself along with you, gathering your skirts and leaving nothing behind, nothing to obscure the light. But if a Bad Thing happens part of you is seared into place, and trapped for ever at that time. The rest of you moves onward, dealing with all the todays and tomorrows, but something, some part of you, is left behind. That part blocks the light, colours the rest of your life, but worse than that, it's alive. Trapped forever at that moment, and alone in the dark, that part of you is still alive.”
       Michael Marshall Smith, from: "Only Forward"

     Mindfulness practice involves physically processing "Bad Things", as they surface. We do so by meeting all the various challenging physical feelings (that naturally arise, stay a bit, then dissipate), with curiosity, acceptance, patience, and if need be, perseverance. It's important not to weave stories about these physical sensations. Physical discomfort is much, much easier to accept & manage than mental/emotional suffering.
     Mental/emotional suffering is created when we decide to create a long, painful story (self-talk) about the physical sensations. This unskillful, yet extremely common addition can maintain both physical and mental/emotional suffering for as long as we "keep picking at the scab".
     So instead, we intentionally let go of words & images, and directly experience with curiosity, and kind acceptance, all phenomena - which then behave naturally - ie are transient.

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