Mentally picture parts of your body lifting, feel the muscles respond to support that movement, and then soften your intention to move to access the pleasure of letting go of intention.
This is the first of the Five Softening Doors that make up the complete MIDL Softening Into skill. This softening door trains the tendency within the mind towards the pleasure of letting go by creating the intention to move and teaching the mind to let go by softening the effort that underlies it and rewarding it with the pleasure of each release.
Lifting / dropping is the method of retraining your mind through creating the desire to move a part of the body and then cancelling that desire. Not only does this training method bring about deeper relaxation within our body but it also develops the deep relaxation within the mind that arises from the abandoning of the desire itself.
This practice is particularly good for working with chronic pain and trauma when the stress response is hyper-vigilant and over-sensitive making the person defensive towards any attempt to help them.
Lifting / dropping directly challenges the habitualised stress response and deconditions this reaction through the retraining of intention, allowing the mind to experience safety. Once the meditator learns how to abandon the desire to react fear subsides and stillness is experienced having a deep impact on a mind that is habitually in fight / flight.
On the deeper level it allows us to observe the resistance that arises in the body and mind when any intention / desire arises and also the ability to observe the peace that arises in the body and mind when that desire is abandoned.
The practice of creating the desire to move and then dropping it also trains the ability to 'not do', 'not react' throughout the day. The deeper level of this training is the dropping / softening of any "desire to do". The creating of the 'desire to move' and then the cancelling of it gives rise to deeper understanding of intention and also the ability to abandon it at will in daily life.
It also allows us to experience not only the peace that arises in the body when the "desire to do" is abandoned but also the deeper peace and softness that arises within the mind when the desire is dropped.
The softening door of 'lifting, dropping' uses the engaging and softening of movement within the physical body to develop the skill of letting go of the mental intention 'to do' within the mind. While it can seem very complex in nature it is actually quite simple when understood.
Meaning of 'Lifting / Dropping': 'Lifting' stands for the desire to move and 'dropping' stands for the softening of that desire.
Part 1: Learn to abandon intentions in your body.
Try this now to experience these above three stages.
There are three stages to moving your arm:
Try this now to experience these three stages.
Sitting comfortably, arms resting loosely on your legs. Create the desire to move your right arm and feel the muscles tense. Continue the desire to move until your arm lifts off your leg.
Now abandoning that desire allow your arm to drop on your leg, relaxed. Notice that there is a heavier feeling in your arm after it has dropped. Repeat it again and experience the relaxation within the arm after it drops.
Part 2: Learn to abandon intention in your mind.
Now lets try this without the 3rd stage of lifting the arm.
During this meditation we abandon the desire just before the lift:
Try this now to experience these three stages.
Sitting comfortably, arms resting loosely on your legs. Create the desire to move your right arm and feel the muscles tense.
Now abandoning that desire to move before it lifts off your leg, feel the muscles in your arm relax. Notice that there is a heavier feeling in your arm after it has dropped. A sinking feeling Repeat it again without the lift and experience the relaxation within the arm after it drops becoming deeper.
Notice that there is also a mental 'drop', relaxation that comes from abandoning the desire to move. In this same way we can move through our body 'lifting' and 'dropping' each part. This releases any habitual tension both in the body and in the mind leading to deep tranquility.
I have found this softening doorway extremely useful especially in the case of chronic fear.
In the same way as above, you can move through your body 'lifting' and 'dropping' each part of your body by creating an intention to move it, feeling its contraction, then softening that intention.
Investigate in this way:
You are ready to progress to Insight 13: Re-engaging Diaphragm when:
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