An approach to managing your pain based on the method of Steven Levine, ‘Softening around Pain.’ The key is relaxing into and creating a sense of space around the pain.
(Based on Steven Levine’s ‘Softening around the Pain’)
You might find it helpful to have a friend slowly read the following to you (with plenty of gaps for the suggestions to be taken in!). Alternatively, make a recording, using your own voice or that of someone who you love and trust. (The titles that appear throughout are not to be spoken)
Bringing awareness to the discomfort
Allow your awareness to move to the body and feel the breath softly moving into and out from the belly. Let the body be soft and open… the awareness, gentle and allowing.
Gently bring your awareness to any area of the body that is in discomfort. Notice any resistance, any stiffness or numbness or coldness, any tension that may be resistant to softening. Notice any fear or doubt that attempts to distract your moving to the discomfort.
Slowly, gently bring let your awareness to move towards the sensations in this area. Begin to soften all around the sensations.… Softening. Let space begin to open all about the edge of this area, gradually opening. Softening …Softening the muscles,…softening the tissue…softening the muscles. Letting go of pain. Tendons softening. Flesh softening. Skin softening. Letting go all around the sensation. A soft body, a soft mind; just letting what is, be.
Meeting the moment-to-moment sensations that arise there with moment-to-moment softening. Softening the bone, softening to the very marrow. Any tension that momentarily arises is allowed to float free. Let it come. Let it go. The moment-to-moment sensation arising in soft awareness.
Softness spreading all about sensation. Gently, without force, gradually opening the tissue to let the sensation just float. Letting go all around and softening to the very center of the cells — that softening to the very center of the cells of the muscles, of the tissue in which sensation floats. Awareness cradling sensation in a soft, open space. Sensations floating in awareness. The skin, the tissue, the muscles, the tendons and bone are soft and pliant. Spacious.
The characteristics of the pain
Awareness meeting the sensation, as it is in the moment, with softness…. Awareness entering the very heart of the sensation. Awareness exploring the sensation floating in space.
Do the sensations stay still or do they move? Does the area of sensation have a single shape or is it constantly changing? What is that shape? Do these sensations have density? Are they thin or thick? Are they round? Are they flat? Awareness in the moment to the sensation as it is in the moment. Discovering the nature of sensation. Do these sensations have a texture? Are they rough? Are they smooth? Do they stay the same or are they constantly changing? Sensations floating in awareness. Softening all around the sensation….
Being tender towards the sensation
Relating to this area, to sensation, as if it were your only child. Meeting it with tenderness. Sensations floating in a soft, open awareness; sensations met with tenderness and caring. Just receiving the sensation lovingly. Touching it with tenderness. Touching it with forgiveness. Gently allowing awareness to cradle each moment of sensation. Each sensation absorbed in lovingness and tenderness. Allow love to enter the sensation. Floating in the softness. Floating in compassion. Floating in tenderness.
Letting the healing in
Let the healing in. Let the tenderness you feel for so much in the world touch your pain as well. Each moment of sensation is received so gently. The sensation arising and dissolving in the vast spaciousness of a tender awareness.
Each moment of sensation dissolving in compassion for all those in pain. Each moment dissolving, dissolving in tenderness and love. Each moment melting into infinite compassion and kindness. Sharing this healing with all other beings. Melting the discomforts of the world with tenderness. Meeting the sensations moment to moment.
This healing healing all.
This healing healing all. Sending tenderness and loving kindness into the body we all share. Each moment of sensation absorbed in infinite compassion and care. Each moment dissolving into the heart of healing….
Slowly take some deep breaths now… taking some deep breaths, and slowly returning… Having a little stretch… moving your fingers… your toes… and slowly, gently, allowing your eyes to open.