“When you close your heart down to protect yourself from suffering, you also close yourself off from being fed by that same life situation.” ~ Ramdass
WE ESCAPE THAT WHICH MAKES US UNCOMFORTABLE, INSTEAD OF USING IT AS A KEY TO THE EXIT DOOR.
When going through difficult experiences, most of us will instinctively turn away to avoid feeling pain.
We naturally want to live in an eternal expansive state, because it feels good and because it’s easier.
We’ve been told by everyone that the purpose of Life is to ‘be happy’, and so we believe that’s the way everything should be.
We welcome the positive emotions, while avoiding the negative ones. We chase the highs, while escaping the lows. We open ourselves to Love, while protecting ourselves from its thorns.
We believe that by avoiding & ignoring the pain, it will slowly disappear and cease to exist. But we’re wrong.
All we do is cover it up with walls until we can’t see or feel it anymore.
Is it really happiness when we’ve closed half of our heart to it by fear of being hurt?
“The only way out is through” ~ J.K. Rowling.
PAIN TELLS US WHERE TO LOOK, NOT TO LOOK AWAY.
One thing that I have learned this year is that pain is here for a reason. And that reason is because it’s time to heal it.
Each pain is linked to a wound… A fear… A self-limiting belief (e.g ‘I’m not good enough’… ‘I’m not loved’…).
Unless I *heal* that wound, pain will just keep surfacing again and again in my life, through similar situations and relationships.
HOW DO I HEAL THE WOUND?
That’s an excellent question.
First, by not looking away… by gathering courage and deciding that I’m going to watch my pain, recognize it, and be present with it.
What this means is that instead of doing everything in my power to escape the situation that’s making me feel pain, I have to stay and try to feel every corner of it.. and get to know it.. as difficult as it may seem.
How does it feel to be sad? How does it feel to be hurt? How does it feel to be disappointed? What’s the color, the size and the texture of it? Do you feel it in a specific part of your body?
Ask it: “Where do you come from? What’s your story?”.
Our pain is like each one of us: it needs to exist, it needs to be listened to. In fact, by the mere act of giving it attention, we’re are already half-resolving it.
On the contrary, when we try to escape it, we are closing our eyes and ignoring the crying baby. The baby will keep crying until it’s gotten our attention. And whatever trauma had caused him to cry in the first place, it will crystallize and solidify deeper inside, until it becomes so thick that we cease to feel any emotions at all, ‘good and bad’.
So instead, stay with it until it has told you the whole story, what it feels and why it’s crying. Ask questions and really try to uncover the self-limiting belief, the first original trauma. “Does it come from my dad? Does it come from my mom?”. Understand the circumstances.
Second, by telling it: “It’s OK. I understand you’re hurting… and you have every right to. I want you to know that it’s OK for you to feel this way… That I won’t judge you. Instead I’ll be patient and hold your hand until you’ve cried all what you need to cry, until you decide that it’s OK for you to stop crying”.
By opening our heart wider to the pain and by allowing it to burn, we’re showing it that it’s not good or bad, not positive or negative, that it just is.
And when we stop judging our pain as good or bad, as pleasurable or painful, we start to accept that it’s not here to hurt us, but simply connect with us. So why turn away from it?
Third, by transforming it and integrating it. The only reason why our pain is hurting us is because we’ve somehow punished it. We’ve isolated it, put it in a black box in a corner of our heart, and made it separate from us.
Would you remove your kid from the playground just because the other kids won’t play with him? By telling your kid he’s not allowed to play with the other kids, what do you think it will make him feel? Would he think that he’s done something wrong… that’s there’s something wrong with him?
Instead, would you teach your kid to change his perspective/perception and explain to the other kids why it would be nice if they tried including a new friend to their games?
When you find your original trauma… your self-limiting belief, show your kid (your inner child) how he was mistaken to think that he had done anything wrong to deserve this, and how it was actually the opposite, how he had just been the best and most loving kid whom you’re proud of.
People don’t hurt us intentionally, they just express their own suffering in the only way they know. It’s unfortunate that we get hurt in the process, but by understanding that it was never personal… not directed at us… we also understand that ‘they weren’t hurting us, they were just hurting themselves’.
When we understand that that hurt isn’t ours but others’, we can tell them: “This pain is not mine but yours. Thank you for sharing it with me as it has helped me understand that I no longer need it. And since I don’t need it, I can give it back to you”.
NOW, WALK FREE FROM THE PAIN, NOT BECAUSE YOU’VE AVOIDED IT, BUT BECAUSE YOU’VE FACED AND TRANSFORMED IT.
When we try to escape pain, what we really do is make sure that we stay in that same dark little room.
When we face our pain, we realize it’s actually smaller than what we had imagined.
We can then turn on the light in the dark room and see the exit door.
Get out of the cage you’ve unknowingly put yourself into. Understand that you’ve never done anything wrong to deserve that pain and you’ll be free from its burden. Not because you’ve avoided it. But because you’ve healed it.
Remember, it is by integrating your pain into your deepest core that you will emerge bigger, more expanded and happier.
Until next time,