A friend, who I coach on mindfulness, was concerned about an upcoming medical test since the last one she had delivered bad news. She told me that her anxiety was keeping her up at night and she didn’t feel good.
I was immediately aware of my wanting to help her get rid of her anxiety. I have suffered a lot from anxiety and know how uncomfortable and life draining it can be. Never-the-less, I trusted that awareness would guide my actions and began the meditation. At one point I customized it so that we said “may your anxiety be held with compassion”. We didn’t ask it to go away. We brought open-heartedness to it.
Mindfulness is the allowing of present moment experience. Allowing and holding gently with compassion and uncondition. It can be very hard because we just want to push away the uncomfortable, the scary, the bad things. That’s natural. But the problem is that what you resist persists. So the instruction is to meet it (all) with open arms.
Still feeling inadequate and powerless to help I was surprised when she told me after the meditation that she felt better. That she hadn’t known it but that she had been resisting the anxiety. When she opened her awareness to allow it to be, it made room in her heart. And then the anxiety wasn’t the only thing in front of her. There was also loving kindness.
I thought about that and realized that the magic is in the allowing. It’s an amazing thing that truly works.