REFLECTION: ‘This next series of practices (15 – 21) helps us to negotiate the tough times whenever they come, as come they surely will. Descent is one of the realities of existence. But it contains within its harshness the possibility for our flourishing. This is not just about surviving the tough times but about learning to stay with them, to receive their learning, and to find the means to be ready for an ascent when that becomes possible…
PRACTICE: ‘Let Go (Keep on Letting Go) is about nurturing a sense that the first step towards changing something difficult is to accept that it is real. And then realizing that however bad it is, it does not have to destroy us.
Here’s a way into the practice of Let Go (Keep on Letting Go). The next time that you have a descent experience, in your imagination try to step outside of yourself and notice how you react to it. Pay close attention to how it makes you feel physically. Then see how it might work not to suppress this, but to allow the physical feeling to happen, trusting that you will be held. Like the causes of the descent, the symptoms of the descent may not be pleasant. But it may be possible, with courage and practice, to learn to accept, and even to befriend those sensations. This is not about welcoming whatever has caused the descent. But it is about letting go of our resistance to the physical feelings the descent seems to create in us…’
©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)