One of my favourite transformative practices to teach is ‘Breathe, Body, Love.” It is a very powerful practice when coping with stress, anxiety, chronic pain or any other results of an out-of-balance central nervous system. It takes practice, and as we say in our mindfulness class, it can provide a ‘one degree course correction’ when things are going sideways.
Breathe: Most of us get this. Breathing properly and mindfully changes how we feel and perceive. Over time it calms a stressed system, relaxes muscles, helps to focus and a whole host of other benefits. I have come to see breathing as healing, and if we are not breathing optimally, healing is inhibited.
Body: Anne Lamott said “The mind is a dangerous place, don’t go in alone”. There is some truth to this. Thoughts are at the root of feelings and when we believe thoughts that aren’t true, we suffer. When we breathe and come out of our heads and into our bodies, we are here. We are here as we deliver a speech, watch a movie, enter a difficult conversation, drive or work. We are not following the ‘coulds, shoulds and woulds, goods and bads’ that create anxiety and rather are here with what truly is happening in that moment.
Love: Ok this is where it gets interesting. When we struggle against life, we suffer. What we resist, persists. So how do we practice acceptance and mindfulness through difficult times? How can I love what is happening without resistance when I hate it? First of all, how does it feel to fight, struggle and control? The truth is that when we can relax into each moment as it is, we open ourselves to a wide range of choices and responses, or no response at all. We see our habitual reactions and patterns and how we create suffering.Love is an offering of kindness, compassion and attention during moments of suffering, pain, or joy. Click To Tweet
So, how do we love suffering? A simple formula: I see you. I hear you. I see your suffering and I am here for you.
Tired of trying to love yourself? I see you. I hear you. I see your suffering and I am here for you.
Messed up again? I see you. I hear you. I see your suffering and I am here for you.
How can we approach suffering in the world? I see you. I hear you. I see the suffering and I am here for you.
The next time you feel stressed, find yourself judging yourself or others, don’t try to change anything. Love the moment for what it is, because it is, because it hurts to suffer. And go from there.
I have seen a pattern with older spiritual, wise people who have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for years such as Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Han, the Dalai Lama. They love every moment. They love now. The chair, the air, the trees, the carpet, the birds, the book, the friend, the enemy, the rain, the cold, the shirt, the painting, They love it all, no exceptions. When we stop and realize the awesome mystery of life that we are a part of, we can’t help but feel in awe at the stars, the earth, and people. Make very moment a miracle of this mystery unfolding.