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Trusting Trust

Last night, while meditating, I was given the guided inquiry to trust that I am "loved by an unending love." All of a sudden, I was face-to-face with my deepest inability to trust. I felt a tightness in my chest, and the muscles in my quadriceps began to tighten. Even with my eyes closed, a surge of tears tumbled down my cheeks. When I finished the meditation, I quickly wiped alway all evidence of a bruised heart and adorned my face with a sparkly smile. On my walk home, I tried to ignore the the presence of a wound that has yet to heal. Several hours later, while I was simply sitting on the couch watching television, my right hip flexor began to ache and then an aggressive burn traveled down my quads, through my calf, and settled in my right foot. My body had begun to somaticize.

Even as I write this post right now, my right leg is still seized by this burning/ gripping sensation, but I know how to work with it. In Dr. John Sarno's book, The Divided Mind, he offers a treasure trove of supports to help one navigate the complex relationship between mind and body. One of the reflection questions I've found helpful is along these lines --- If I wasn't so focused on _______ (fill in the blank), then I'd have to feel _________ (fill in the blank). Another way of looking at it is to ask yourself - What is _______ protecting me from feeling?

Dr. Sarno writes in The Divided Mind, "The psychosomatic symptoms - whether pain, discomfort, depression or whatever - are activated solely to reinforce repression and protect the person from mental pain or discomfort." He goes on to write, "My experience in treating these cases strongly suggests that psychosomatic symptoms are meant to distract, and to protect the conscious mind from dangerous emotions, and we conclude that the need for new symptoms is to guarantee that the protective mission will continue."

In other words, it is easier (or less threatening) for my mind to focus on an ache than it is for my mind to sit with the raw pain that I still, after all these years, struggle to trust. There is no quick fix. But I know if I ignore the ache or deny its presence, the pain will only intensify. Consequently, earlier this morning, I called upon Tara Brach's RAIN practice to help me find a way to be with the sensations in my leg. "Trusting Trust" came out of that meditative experience.

NOTE 1 : The line "loved by an unending love" was taken from the poem "An Unending Love" by Rabbi Rami Shapiro.

NOTE 2: If you are interested in listening to Tara's guided RAIN practice click here.

Trusting Trust

by Lauren Taub Cohen

All my poems are my offspring

and I am the offspring

of all my experiences and

the collective consequences

of my ancestors’ actions

and inactions.

I’d like to think

I am not alone

and that a long lineage

rests behind me

like a sun-soaked bay

lapping against

my shores

with infinite love.

This is where I


It’s hard to feel


in isolation.

And yet I have found

refuge in my husband’s

loyal love and I have learned

to feed myself the meaning

behind those empty

words I was fed.

But the hurt

has yet

to heal.

And so I wait


for the day to come

when I can answer

my prayers

and let myself

receive the truth

that I am no longer


and that I do

in fact


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