I do this a lot recently, turn towards the inside experiences with kindness. It’s my new hobby, and the payoff is massive – an ever stronger feeling of wellbeing.
It doesn’t ‘get rid of’ suffering, it soothes and softens. And the effects of kindness are cumulative and add to our inner love bank. Building a love and compassion that includes myself and is freed up to express itself towards everyone I meet.
And the amazing thing about this practise is that it can be done anywhere and anytime.
Today I was doing it as I drove along in the car. I remembered I have to give evidence in the High Court against a Chinese triad boss, hmm, yes. We did his garden and the proceeds of crime unit are interested in what he spent on it. So yes there’s a temptation to worry and ruminate away.
So I paused my thoughts. I noticed where in my body I felt the anxiety. My throat it was. I turned with care and kindness towards the feeling. I used an inner image of cradling the feeling in my arms and soothing it by rocking it like a baby. ‘Okay thanks for the acknowledgement’ the feeling said, and it subsided. I felt comforted.
I did it in swimming this morning too. I had got caught up in a worry thought. I turned my attention towards caring for myself and the feeling of being kind. I wanted to become more intimate with what was actually happening in this very moment of being alive, and that is not possible when I’m lost in thought stories.
So I slowed right down, breathed, went into a slow motion so that I could actually notice what is happening. I felt the water on my skin, the sounds around me, the dancing watery visuals in front of my eyes. I realised how kind I was being to myself by exercising, and felt the joy of valuing myself and looking after myself.
I touched into that joy of being for a few moments till my mind recoiled with horror and started generating some more thoughts. They carried me off for a bit, and then I returned again to the present. And this went on for some time. Being carried away and returning to body sensations, into slow motion again, breathing consciously, for a few breaths. Getting carried away by thoughts, and returning.
It’s all okay, all of it, even the thoughts, the crazy unpredictable dynamic vitality of awareness. They are not my enemy. They are not the essential core of me either, just one aspect of the dynamic expression of the core awareness. Let them be, and come back I gently advise myself.
I started thanking the patterns in the water inside, and the sounds, and the comfortable temperature, and the staff who keep it all maintained this way for us, and instantly I felt an increased intimate connection with all of it.
My self talk is a lot more gentle and I am experiencing new contentment in most of my days recently. Before these days alone would stretch to an agonising bored infinity ahead of me in the mornings. Now I am enjoying the stillness and beauty and enjoy these moments as they pass. Life is short. It can end anytime. So recently I have been going for a nature walk after my swim, and also ending the day with one too. My Fitbit is delighted that some days I’m close to 10,000 steps! I’m delighted too that it’s now enjoyable looking after my health in this way. For such a long long time I excluded myself from kindness and compassion and thought it was my job to look after others and not myself. What a big lovely and thrilling even change this is. I am curious to see where this new life goes next. This healthy physical and eating routine, this healthy returning to inner silence and space, this healthy business progress.
I still get agonisingly painful emotions that are so strong they take over at times. Desire is on me recently. That is not so painful in itself, enjoyable in a way, but painful in the sense that it won’t be satisfied with getting into intimate embrace with the one it is felt towards. Fear is never far away it seems, and can arrive suddenly with all the pain that anxiety brings. Physical pain is present right now after a back strain. The mind can generate loneliness and boredom easily too. The throngs of magpies making a racket outside I respond with irritation to, very painful.
With all of these feelings, I can be a kind parent. I can allow them, and listen to them by turning towards them with gentle caring and a light curiosity. It is okay to look after myself now I realise. Missing piece of the jigsaw found and slotted into place to give a more complete picture.