"Softening" is a crucial aspect of getting the most from your meditation - whatever approach and practice you might use. We use the term "softening" a great deal, so what is meant by it?

You'll likely have your own breathing practice for meditation. If not, I would strongly encourage you develop one. Such as the Openhand Breakthrough Breathing for example, which is a modern day way of applying ancient yogic breathing from Kriya Yoga (of the Paramahansa Yogananda lineage). Although it does have a more metaphysical aspect too - expanding in the 8th chakra and breathing the light down through.

It's essential to realise though that the breath is really only a carrier for consciousness by getting you to relax in certain aspects of the bodymind field and focussing mind. It's what happens AFTER that where you get the real benefit. And this is where to explore "softening".

Softening is where you slip past the form of your breathwork discipline and into the formlessness. So the breathwork has taken you to a certain place of focus. Now my suggestion is to let go of the form so you're not specifically controlling it - allow the breath to simply move of its own accord. Then gently explore the subtle feelings you're having throughout the bodymind field. Firstly if there's any tension or tightness anywhere, bring awareness to it and soften into it and through it. Softening in this case means being attentive through the feeling but not tightening in judgment of it - this is a "bad" thing. It's an experience, only that. Become fully intimate with it, then use a gentle breath to feel your way deep into it. Give yourself full permission to unwind and let go. It can sometimes feel like expanding a balloon through the feeling.

If that particular tightness is not ready to move, then I'd suggest that at a convenient moment, you apply the Breakthrough Approach, which is to start to express the tightness - what colour, what shape, what form, what sound? How might it relate to a situation happening in your life right now? Whose involved? Why might that create tightness and tension? Keep working it through, becoming intimate with it, until you'll so surrendered and accepting, you don't need it to go away. It's at this point you can 'open a doorway through it' - into the abode of Pure Presence. From there, you can use your Breakthrough Breathing once more to unleash soul through the unwinding, and then perhaps expressing the integrating beingness through movement to music (here's a deeper exploration of the Breakthrough Approach).

Assuming you're now pretty relaxed internally and there's no noticeable tightness, you can start to explore into the deeper core self. Again, first using the breathwork but then allowing it to settle so it's happening by itself. Now you're looking for the subtle senses of 'rightness'. Perhaps an expansiveness, a timeless sense, a deep peace, or else a warmth that flows through the core of you. If you're starting to pick up senses like this, then bring soft focus to them. Work to become increasingly gentle and aware. Feel the sense of gratitude, love for all life and love of self - visualise something you truly love, or a landscape that deeply moves you. Keep softening into the sense of complete immersion into it, relaxing ever deeper within. If it helps to play some music to deepen into that, then do so. But also be minful that music is a 3D experience and the idea being to go beyond that into higher dimensional experiences - 4D and 5D especially. Music can help you get there, but it's about going beyond the 3D.

So there are my basic suggestions around softening in meditation. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. And likewise, do share your meditation experiences - the community would love to benefit.

In loving support

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