Often the simplest healing techniques are the most powerful.
- Just take a deep breath, as if directly into your heart, and feel the sigh of letting go in the exhalation.
- Breathe in some of the love you have known, and breathing out some of the sorrow.
- Discover how a breath taken directly can revive the heart.
Another technique is the soft-belly practice. Here, you sit quietly and, out of the flurry of your thoughts, sensations and feelings, begin to feel the body you live in.
- Gradually let your attention rest on your abdomen and ride the rising and falling of the ocean of the breath: inhalation, belly rising with the tide; exhalation, the tide goes out.
- Soften the belly to allow awareness to settle in. Soften the fear, the anger, the distrust—and let go.
- Feel how a single thought can tighten the belly. Each withdrawal from pain, each attempt to numb grief turns our belly to stone.
- If you can, begin the day with 15 minutes of the soft-belly exercise and notice how it relieves not only the body but also the mind. Many people come back to this practice several times a day and report having a better day for it.
When we suffer a loss, we often feel a very tender spot at the center of the chest.
- Simply tapping the grief point can balance energy in this area, which encourages a deeper opening of the qualities of the heart.
- Some lightly tap as they walk.
- As you focus on the sensations in the grief point, trusting what you would otherwise retreat from, confidence in your capacity for healing and growth is restored.
If we are ever to be at peace, we must explore our fear and distrust, our anger and hopelessness.
- We must enter the pain that ends our pain.
- The purpose isn't simply to get out of our own suffering; it's also to have insight into others.
- The more thoroughly we comprehend what causes our own suffering as well as the suffering of war, violence and separation, the less likely we are to create those conditions for one another.
How we approach not knowing what comes next is what gives meaning to our lives. Learning to trust the joy and pain of our unpredictable lives engages the richness of the heart and suggests purpose.
If we can say that grace is a sense of connection with the sacred within and around us, we may see how, impossible as it may sometimes seem, tragedy holds the seeds of grace. And we see, too, that grace may not always be pleasant, but it always brings us closer to our true heart.