Embracing and Dissolving Inner Pain and Suffering

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Whenever we are presented with pain in our life, whether it is emotional, mental or physical, we push back, resisting it. We want it to go away, wish for it to disappear, desire to change it, control it, make it different than the way it is. We want to escape.

But if you look closely, you’ll see that doing so only makes the pain, the suffering worse. In fact the suffering itself is actually created by the resistance to the pain. As the saying goes – “In life, pain is inevitable, yet suffering is optional”.

So whenever you feel any form of pain, instead of resisting it, embrace it.

As the wonderful Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh says – treat your fear, your anger, your grief….your pain, like a mother treats her child. Embrace it, hold it in the loving attention of your awareness.

As you embrace your pain, as you engulf it in a loving, open awareness, in a welcoming presence, it will slowly start to dissipate.

If you find it helpful, you can breathe through it. Use your breath to help hold you conscious attention on the pain and to help you in embracing it. Breathing is magical and the breath can serve both as an anchor for awareness as well as means to help dissolve the pain that you are experiencing. If you choose to have the breath as your aid, remember to breathe correctly – allow your breathing to be slow, quiet and abdominal (diaphragmatic), breathe through your nose and not your mouth.

Alternatively, if you are a more physical person or the feeling manifests itself as a sensation in your body – allow yourself to feel it fully. Do not think about it, just feel it.

The most important thing is to be completely aware (in a welcoming manner) of what you are feeling, whether you are simply aware of it or feeling it fully, the crucial point is embracing your feelings, thoughts and sensations in a welcoming, spacious awareness – giving yourself and your experience the gift of space. (described in even more detail in the linked article)

Keep at it until the pain is gone, or at least until it has been greatly reduced. Embrace whatever comes up. Welcome any and all thoughts, pictures, emotions and sensations. Love whatever comes up.

At this point you can also simply decide to let the pain go. You may be surprised, but ultimately holding on to your pain is simply an internal decision that is there by habit. Thus you can choose to make the opposite decision and simply let it go, like dropping an unneeded heavy item from your hand.

You can also ask yourself a simple question to help facilitate the release – “Could I allow myself to let this feeling go?”, you can follow it up with “Would I? and “When?” – these questions will help you identify your resistance to the act of letting go. By noticing your response to these questions (which may in the beginning or in some cases be negative “No”, “I can’t”, “Later”….) and choosing a positive affirmative answer (in order “Yes”, “Yes”, “Now”) you will be able to let whatever you are holding on to, go.

It is in this moment, when the current pain is greatly reduced or perhaps even gone,  that you need to look deeper and find the cause for the pain that has surfaced and is perhaps to a degree still present. You cannot hold the crying child that is your pain in your arms forever and even if you have temporarily calmed it down, you cannot truly help it if you do not know what the cause of its distress is.

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Portals to Insight, Knowledge, Understanding and the Dissolving of Confusion

The letting go of the seeking for answers, for understanding, as well as admitting that you do not know the answer to the questions that appear in your mind can be one of the most liberating things there is – as well as a true portal to deep insight.

DROPPING THE SEEKING OF UNDERSTANDING AS THE PORTAL TO INSIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING

It is so often that we obsess about certain questions, whether it is about us, about our past or quite frequently about our future (“What will happen tomorrow?”), about what others think (“How does that person see me?”, “Does he/she love me?”), or perhaps deep philosophical and/or metaphysical questions about reality.

I know that in my life this is a common occurrence. I get obsessed about various questions, very often philosophical in their nature, that will often drive me to the edge of insanity.

One of the main keys to resolving such issues is to simply ask yourself an iteration of this simple question, that can work as a facilitator for a release:
“Could I let of wanting to figure this out?” “Could I let go of wanting to know the answer?”

Look within and see whether you can let go of the desire to know, to understand. See the resistance within you and ultimately choose to simply let go. Letting go is simply a choice and by answering yes to the above question, that is the exact choice you are making.

Why would you want to let go of the desire to understand? Simply because the very want, the desire to understand the question is the very thing that is one of the greatest impediments between you and the answer.

By letting go of wanting to know, you move into the realm of knowing. You move into peace and the realm of stillness, where no questions arise. From this place it is far more likely that you will find an answer to your question, either through your own internal intuition or by intuitively knowing where to look for the answer (perhaps in a book, perhaps by asking someone that might have the answer…). Though it is not guaranteed that you will always receive a total and complete answer and be given omniscient clarity on the subject of your confusion, it is still far more likely for this to happen after you drop the desire, the burning want to know, then if you keep holding on to it.

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