Welcome back to the Healing Breath of Life! Today I want to consider the role of attention, recognition and gratitude in healing the process. In the last post I touched on the role of attention or awareness. To quote myself, Healing is about remembering the whole while bringing awareness to the parts that have forgotten how to function within the whole. When this is done with appreciation for the body’s intelligence, things change and greater states of Health emerge.
I promised to share a personal experience of healing which illustrates the power of awareness and focused attention. In the process, I want to share my enthusiasm over the power of several words as they relate to Health and the healing process – attention, recognition, and gratitude. Here’s my story:
I went for a walk in the greenbelt one winter morning. The day was sunny and just a little cool. Walking in the dry creek bed, I stumbled, my foot got caught and I lost balance. My ankle slammed into a large boulder and I fell down. The pain was really intense. Immediately I thought maybe it was broken and wondered how I was going to get myself out of the greenbelt. There was no one around. I began to cry. I felt my inner victim preparing to take over. Then I heard the words: You are fine. Don’t make a big deal. Don’t be the victim. I realized I was being coached.
Sitting in the creek bed, I placed my hands on the wounded area holding my ankle and breathing into it, with very focused attention in a kind of prayer. I was wishing I had some arnica gel and decided to visualize the arnica plant which is excellent for treating any kind of injury. Gradually the pain diminished and I noticed only a little redness and slight swelling.
Some pride came up that I had done this amazing thing and healed my ankle. I noticed the pride and smiled to my little ego. Then I felt a small knot coming up and felt disappointed that my miracle healing wasn’t complete. The message that came was, Do you just want the pain to go away or do you want to learn about how healing works? I want to learn how healing works.
I continued breathing, holding the ankle and telling myself ‘this was no big deal.’ I stayed very present to the sensation of pain as it began to change. By now I had noticed that though I was sitting in the creek bed with an injured ankle, the day was gorgeous and I was feeling very alive. The pain, even at its worst, was bearable. Some time passed, me sitting in a pool of sunlight paying attention to my ankle and then expanding awareness to include the trees, the bird song, the feel of the gentle breeze on my face, the rocks, the amazing blue sky. At times I forgot my body and its pain, allowing myself to be absorbed in the beauty around me. Several times I started to cry again but this time I cried because I felt so present, so loved and attended to by all of nature. I felt so much gratitude. A couple of buzzards came by and I had the distinct feeling they were hoping I was just fine.
After about twenty minutes of loving attention moving between the site of the injury and the world around me, I was guided again. “Now get up slowly and walk without a limp.” I walked home amazed at my ability to walk. That night my ankle had no bruise, no swelling, no visible injury. There was only a little tenderness inside. I breathed into the tenderness with tenderness. Again, I felt so much gratitude.
The teaching was profound. Offer loving attention. Don’t make a big deal. Don’t be a victim. Use your own energy that is divine energy, i.e. visualization, awareness, breath, touch. Don’t limp. Go for full healing, allowing the pain to move through its cycle. Feel connected with the pain but don’t get lost in it. Expand awareness beyond the body and alternate between pain and not pain. Remember your true nature which is much bigger than the pain. Feel the gratitude.
Attention can be narrow and fixed or it can be wide and inclusive. Both kinds of attention are helpful in healing work. Pain persists when we focus too narrowly while resisting what is. Sometimes all that is needed is to stop and offer loving attention, just as you would to a distressed child or a friend. Other times, the attention must be followed by action. Once the body gets your attention, it tells you what else is needed – medical intervention, a band-aide, rest, etc. Attention naturally leads to appropriate care.
Healing is intimately connected with the process of recognition and appreciation. In fact recognition is appreciation. As we recognize balances and imbalances in the inner landscape – physical, mental, emotional – we activate healing potentials. “Hello sacrum. I see you. Is there anything you need right now?” Or, “Hello knee, could you use a little more space?” You can do it too. Take time right now to see and feel what your body/mind is communicating. Allow yourself to experience everything without need to fix or resist. Close your eyes and be present with sensation, feeling, thought. Do it now. You’ll be glad you did. Now feel the gratitude for this unique body and its capacity to heal itself. Recognition is an important element of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy.
In summary, through recognition you bring awareness to an issue, offering appreciation for the part of the whole that is feeling separate. This leads to appropriate care. Gratitude is the glue that seals in the healing. It is a natural extension of appreciation. The more gratitude we feel for our body and its innate healing capacities, the more access we have to Health. Healing is about remembering the whole while bringing awareness to the parts that have forgotten how to function within the whole. When this is done with appreciation [and gratitude] for the body’s intelligence, things change and greater states of Health emerge.
I’ll close with a quote from the twentieth century mystic J. Krishnamurti which eloquently expresses in a few words what I have just expressed. Hooray for simplicity! He said,
To see is to love. Attention is love.
Till next time, wishing you Health.