Arriving Home :: Softening Through Meditation
Softening is a natural outcome of meditation. Yet, what does it mean to soften? Why is this important? Our practice has the ability to soften us in a variety of ways, and it is a multi-fold experience. You continually soften and relax the body as you practice. When you let thoughts go and return back to the present moment, you are creating more flexibility and softness in the mind. Your heart also naturally softens each time you respond to your thoughts and emotions in a kinder and more compassionate way. You can’t help but develop a more open, caring heart through meditation, especially when you meet what you see and observe in your practice with kindness.
Softening is an inherent part of the practice. It’s rather built in actually - and something you can also deepen and grow. This happens through a continuous willingness to soften and let go. You let go of habitual thought patterns. You let go of the automatic tendency to react. I like to think of softening as breaking up our mental and physical tension that has accumulated by simply being human, breaking open into more love and unconditional friendliness.
Here is a meditation to soften with.
Go ahead and find a comfortable place to sit.
Gently close the eyes.
Allow for a deep breath in and out. And one more.
For the first few moments, follow the natural rhythms of your breath. Let these initial moments be simple and relaxing.
Now, as you follow your breath and you begin to notice your attention moving towards a thought, memory or feeling. Invite a deep breath in and out through the nose as you make contact with the thought or sensation.
Continue this practice for 5 -10 minutes, softening the body when you notice tension. Softening in the face of your thoughts. Softening to feelings of anxiousness. Notice where you are closed off and holding on… and bravely begin to soften there.
And when you feel ready, end your practice by taking one more deep, long, smooth breath. Allow for a moment of gratitude for the effort, courage and vulnerability it may have taken to soften today.
Gently open your eyes.
You can practice this meditation whenever you feel like you need to release tension or stress, or any time you know you need to.