Healing the Body and Your Emotions:

Posted on July 20, 2011

Overcome Physical Problems through Open Attention

We all know of the intimate correlation between mind, emotions and physical illness. Can resolving emotional stress help you overcome physical pain? And if so, how is it done?

Jane’s hip was hurting a great deal. She had gone to the chiropractor with little results and in the middle of the night the pain woke her up. That’s when she tried Open Attention, one of the Skills for Awakening.

Open Attention guides you to do the opposite of what you would normally do. Normally you would do anything to get rid of the pain. When pain arises, the mind is conditioned to jump into fight or flight mode. But what is the effect of that? You contract around the pain and it gets worse. It’s hard to stress yourself healthy.

That is why we need to approach healing with a healthy dose of wisdom and caring. Although the healthcare system is constantly involved in one war or another we need to ask this: when you fight a war against something that is a part of you, who is going to win that war? Not you.

So when war doesn’t work, then what?  Then it helps to realize that the symptom is not an enemy or a threat, but a part of you that needs help. This is a significant paradigm shift that allows for a completely different and very promising approach. You open to that part of you and pay attention. Thus begins a positive way of healing.

So Jane brought her attention to her hip. There was a burning sensation on the left side. Several times her mind tried to escape the feeling, but she persisted. After a while she became aware of a subtle sensation of nausea in her abdomen. What could that be about?

She switched her focus to the nausea. For a while the feeling in her belly continued to evade her attention, and again she persisted. Realizing the nausea, though subtle, was a powerful and important feeling, Jane became very still. She wanted to get to the bottom of this.

Assisted by that stillness and her determination to heal this part of her, she came into a highly focused state of mind. She evoked the power of unconditional love in her heart (through a process called HeartSourcing) and directed it into the nausea. When her mind and heart was concentrated on the sensation she realized that this was the way she had felt at times of great fear.

As soon as she realized it was fear, it began to dissolve. She did not know what had caused the fear, but she clearly experienced it evaporating. After a short while she noticed that both fear and nausea were gone. Her attention went back to the pain in her hip and that too had greatly decreased. After that she went back to sleep.

When Jane woke up the next morning, the discomfort in her hip had almost completely disappeared. She went to exercise as usual, with no side-effects. The improvement was stable.

How did this come about? Open Attention ends the unconscious rejection, the ‘war’ we wage against the symptom. It replaces this unconscious hostile attitude with an attitude of conscious openness and kindness. This can allow us to find hidden emotions that underlie the symptom, which dissolve through the simple application of awareness. This is the power of self-love in action.

Sadhana (spiritual practice) is the way to seek wholeness on all possible levels of our being. In the process of we are ‘plowing’ the unconscious mind to unearth the hidden obstacles that lie hidden there. They are known as the five kleshas: ignorance of the Self, egoism, attachment, aversion, and fear of death.

As these afflictions come to light one by one, we are able to transmute them into their opposites:

  • awareness of the Self,
  • ego transcendence,
  • non-attachment and clarity of mind,
  • acceptance of reality and unconditional love,
  • and fearlessness.

The deep-seated fear Jane discovered was some manifestation of these kleshas. It was unimportant for her to find out its origin. What matters is that she brought awareness into the unconscious (the pain, nausea and fear). Like light shining into darkness, it dissolved the fear.

Such healing is part of the profound process of spiritual transformation. Once we have entered the path to enlightenment, the inner obstacles rise up in various ways so we can recognize and resolve them. This is the key to freedom.

Whether you are facing physical challenges, relationship problems, or pain related to your mind and emotions, you may be dealing with manifestations of inner obstructions that cannot be resolved permanently by conventional means.

In my experience most medical or psychological treatments are based on the rejection of symptoms without trying to understand their subtle message. This can produce only a temporary improvement. The deeper emotional cause remains untouched and manifests sooner or later in another symptom. To reach a lasting resolution requires that we free the deeper cause, and that demands a spiritually conscious approach.

I invite you to experience the practice of Open Attention and HeartSourcing through a guided meditation with devotional chant by Krishna Das CD “Living with an Open Heart”. Audio samples and downloads available in iTunes!

For more information go to our website: Skills for Awakening

with love,

Ram Giri

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One Response to “Healing the Body and Your Emotions:”

  1. Marie
    Aug 05, 2011

    Very interesting read! You define Open Attention as,

    “This is a significant paradigm shift that allows for a completely different and very promising approach. You open to that part of you and pay attention. Thus begins a positive way of healing.”

    I have never looked at healing quite this way. Thanks for this information. I will check the guided meditation “Living with an Open Heart.”

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