Heartful Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 8

Holding the Suffering

20 min - Practice


Kira guides us in a meditation to increase our capacity to be with 'what is.' We send compassion by bringing our attention to the suffering of ourselves, a loved one, a neutral person, a person who challenges us, and the cosmos. You will feel stable, strong, compassionate, and connected.
What You'll Need: No props needed


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So together, let's continue to increase our capacity for holding the suffering. So snuggle in. Big deliberate inhale and exhale, let a hah happen, dropping the belly. Do that again, inhale, exhale, hah. Belly is wide, open, grounded.

There's a feeling of rooted stability, like a big old 400 year old oak tree. And just like an oak tree, once you've found your roots, let your trunk grow through your heart naturally want to bloom, wide behind the shoulder blades. Find the placement of your hands so your palms are up. Let the upper soft palate of your mouth dome and let your eyes feel kind. Be aware of the movement of the breath in your lower belly.

So as we're going to put these pieces together now, endeavoring to practice for longer, please resist the temptation to force the practice. If as we move into this, you start to feel overly fatigued or like you're straining, it's not going to help you to push, just be complete and then come back to it. Okay, so with your awareness in your lower belly and a feeling of the breath, remember that our first step is to see and pay witness to our own suffering. We're going to be here about three minutes. So there's an inhale and there's an exhale, I see your suffering, directing this towards yourself.

There's an inhale and as you exhale, I feel your suffering. As we've discussed earlier, you might address yourself in this kind of separate person, referring to yourself as you, or you might experiment with becoming just a little closer to yourself and it might be an acknowledgement of, I see my suffering, I feel my suffering. And it might be kind of a general awareness or you might have something very specifically you're working with. You might feel pain directly in an area of your body or in your heart or in your mind. We're not endeavoring to become overly identified or feel extra special because of our particular will, our particular brand of suffering, but to just give room for it, to give room for ourselves, to resist the temptation to push away or deny or fix, inhale, exhale, I see my suffering, inhale, exhale, I have room for my suffering.

You'll find the exact right mantra for you. Relax this effort, soft in the belly, kind in the eyes. Without rush, I'm just almost as if it's just a natural progression. Step two, let someone that you care about, that you love come into focus, perhaps somebody who you actually know to be suffering. And again, we'll be here about three minutes and it's the same, letting yourself stay rooted, practicing staying rooted and soft in the hands and kind in the eyes, inhale and as you exhale, just gently like directing your attention to this being, I see your suffering, I feel your suffering, not to be complacent or heartless.

In a way it's increasing our capacity of the mystery, increasing our capacity to be with what is, to increase our capacity of the pause so that if we're lucky enough and we do get the directive of an action, we'll hear it and be able to be clear about it. Soft in the belly, kind in the eyes, there's an inhale and on the exhale it's the mantra. And as we were playing with earlier in the loving kindness, the mantra, the words can help us stay focused, present and directive, I see your suffering, I feel your suffering. If the words distract you, if you've moved into such a capacity of the feeling, you can let the words quiet, soften, reduce, softer in the jaw, the jaw can really get gripped here easier in the base of the skull, kinder in the eyes. Relax this effort, maybe even thank your friend for helping you practice.

Find again in the belly, let the heart feel bright and also again remember if this is enough practice for you today, you stop. Only as it's correct now, begin to invite your neutral person in. Someone who remains somewhat of a stranger, someone who you have a relationship with enough to recognize him or her but with whom you've never quite engaged or tried to assist. We'll be here about three minutes and the practice is the same, inhale and as you exhale I feel your suffering, inhale and as you exhale I see your suffering, grounded in the belly, soft in the hands, kind in the eyes and it's not as easy to let our attention be held on this neutral person, that's why they're neutral. Just be aware, this isn't a practice of getting an A plus, this is a practice of developing awareness and as might have happened before, if suddenly there's somebody else present with whom you're going to be working, just let this new person flow in.

This is a development of the natural flow of ourselves, this isn't a practice of rigidity. So again let the belly be soft, let the eyes be kind, like you're, we're tuning a feeling tone, we're tuning a feeling tone that we can drop into, a feeling tone of spacious capacity to be with what is. Suffering is a fact, it's our friend the Buddha's first noble truth, life is suffering, dukkha, dukkha, inhale and as you exhale I see your suffering, inhale and as you exhale I feel your suffering, inhale and as you exhale, inhale and as you exhale I see your suffering, and relax this project, gently thank this being for assisting you and again check in, make sure that it's appropriate for you to continue, softer in the belly again, kinder in the eyes, rude and blossom and only as it feels safe and correct and you feel ready, tenderly begin to invite a being who seems like an obstacle, a hindrance, a difficulty, a snargle, maybe even an enemy, somebody who stands between you and your dreams and what you believe in and what you believe to be true and as you bring this person in we're going to be here about three minutes, they might be close to you but most of us find that just pushing like letting them sit just a little further away sometimes helps and again as you bring this being in first step is to make sure you're rooted and so if you got a little knocked off center inside that's not unusual, let the belly relax again, let the eyes be kind, like come back to the attunements of you and if just tuning into feeling centered, rooted, grounded, soft while this being is in your presence is enough then this is your practice okay, only as it feels spontaneous and available and somewhat natural, begin to find the mantra so inhale and as you exhale like really can you really see this being suffering, inhale and as you exhale can you feel this being suffering, part of allowing the heart to open is to become more sensitive, this is increasing our capacity, this requires great courage, great strength and training like anything else, inhale and as you exhale I see your suffering, inhale and as you exhale I feel your suffering, soft in the jaw, kind in the eyes, noticing any resistances, being tuned to any secret desires for their suffering to continue, it's okay, we're trying to see ourselves, grounded, open, kind, these things take practice, gently relax this practice maybe even thanking this being for being available for you and maybe just a clearing breath, big deliberate inhale and exhale, do that again, inhale, exhale and if you've had enough, know if you've had enough otherwise moving into the last part, so with the soft belly, kind eyes, bright heart, rooted open, begin to extend your witnessing out, we're going to be here about three more minutes, extend your witnessing and your availability out to perhaps the whole planet and if the planet feels too big today, maybe it's to your immediate family circle, maybe it's to your circle friends, maybe it's to your town, baby steps but increase your capacity to hold more people than you could possibly handle all at once, one on one and maybe it's the planet but extend yourself out and really feel it from your all sides of you, so inhale and as you exhale, I see your suffering, inhale and as you exhale, I feel your suffering and can you allow your hands to be tender and can you allow your heart to be soft and can you allow your eyes to be kind and can you really know that suffering is a fact, yes, inhale, exhale, I see your suffering, inhale, exhale, I feel your suffering and the mind will sometimes try to know exactly what that suffering is, it will either try to fix, justify, argue for, delineate, it will do all sorts of crazy magical things, inhale, exhale, I see your suffering, inhale, exhale, I feel your suffering and a wider at the base of the skull domed in the upper palate, kind in the eyes, the quality again of the mother holding the small child who's crying, there's very little she can do but offer her support, beautiful and then tenderly relax this effort and let yourself come back in to you if that makes sense and just rest, relax the belly, soften the heart, let your chin drop, let your gaze come down into yourself and only as you feel ready begin to let your eyes start to open, let the light come back in if they've been closed. Thank you everybody for helping your practice, great work yogi, friends, love.


Kate M
2 people like this.
So very very necessary. Such a beautiful heart-opening practice. I am discovering how metta meditation actually begins to allow transformation in the way I deal with difficult people. There is the possibility of avoiding flaming into conflict - rather, seeing with eyes of compassion and seeing the pain that another must be in to flail out at us... huge challenge. But the only path that leads into deep, lasting peace. Thanks, Kira. 
Kira Sloane
Dearest Kate, yes, the practices have helped me in the same way. xok

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