Saturday, July 12, 2008

Soft Belly Practice

Tightening the belly muscles is a perfectly natural short-term response to stress; it dulls our ability to feel pain while protecting us physically and emotionally. For most of us, however, this has become our habitual response to the day-to-day stress in our lives.

The soft belly practice changes this.

Taking a few deep breaths, feel your body as you breathe in.

Feel your body expanding and contracting with each breath.

Focus on the rising and falling of your abdomen.

Become aware of the beginning, the middle, and the end of each inbreath, and of each outbreath.

Become aware of the expanding and contracting of your belly.

Note the constantly changing flow of sensation in each inhalation and in each exhalation.

Begin to soften all around these sensations.

Allow the breath to breathe itself as you soften your belly.

Soften the belly to receive the breath, to receive sensations, to experience life in your body.

Soften the grief, the distrust, and the anger held so hard in the belly.

Soften the muscles that have held on to fear for all these years.

Soften the tissues, the blood vessels, the flesh.

Let go of a lifetime's worth of holding on.

Let go into soft belly, merciful belly.

Slip through level after level of softening, level after level of letting go.

Moment to moment, allow each breath its full expression in your gentle, soft belly.

Let go of the hardness, letting it float in something softer and kinder.

Let your thoughts come and let them go, floating like clouds in the spaciousness of your gentle, soft belly.

Hold on to nothing, softening, softening.

Let the pain dissolve, let the healing begin.

Have mercy on yourself, softening your belly, and opening the passageway to your heart.

In this gentle, soft belly, there is room to be born at last, and room to die when the moment comes.

In this gentle, soft belly, there is a vast spaciousness in which to heal

In this gentle, soft belly, we discover our original unbounded, unwounded nature.

Letting go into the softness, our fear floats in the sweet, gentle vastness we call the heart.

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