It’s not about changing the object that is causing the pain – be it a situation, a relationship, a cancer, a fear, a relative, a friend, an enemy, ants at the terrace – it is about changing our response to this pain.

When I become aware of my response, and  choose to soften around  the “pain” instead, relaxation happen, and the right mind becomes available. For me, the active choice to “soften” – quite simply to start to soften the belly, as the Levines teach –  creates an inner sanctuary where there is space for whatever. I am so grateful to have found this simple method – it changes how I relate to the world, and it makes the “looking with H.S.” much simpler.

It is amazing how powerful words are for me: I can read the Course and Wapnick and feel stuck, and then someone outside the tradition uses a different word and the Course opens Itself to me.  I  notice how clever ego is to  make it’s world seem constant – and poof, there comes a word from outside it’s world and punctures the seemingly constant reality.

When I “soften”, I AM the softener, the love, the compassion, and am free of the identification with the pain I resist. I also love to notice that when I relate to “ego” with softening, it always reveals something that needs love.

Here is my favorite singer Kathleen Ferrier:

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh' in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!
text: Friedrich Rückert

English translation by Emily Ezust
I am lost to the world
with which I used to waste so much time,
It has heard nothing from me for so long
that it may very well believe that I am dead!

It is of no consequence to me
Whether it thinks me dead;
I cannot deny it,
for I really am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world's tumult,
And I rest in a quiet realm!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love and in my song!

Please note that nothing written here is intended as medical advice. Readers who think that they need help with a physical or psychological condition are advised to seek a qualified opinion.

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