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.
So look into yourself, with the intention of seeing what is truly bothering you. With awareness, one can look directly, scanning their mind, body and consciousness for the source of the pain, for the causative factor. Otherwise, questions can be a great tool to help find the cause.
Questions are powerful tools for self-discovery. Whenever you pose a question to your subconscious and wait for an answer, you will receive it. So ask yourself a question that you feel would be appropriate for discovering the cause of your pain.
“What is truly bothering me?”, “What is the cause of this pain/suffering/feelings?”, “Where is this arising from?”
Stay in silence and let the answers arise themselves. Answers will come in the form of pictures, words, sensations. Embrace them all, become aware of them, notice them.
If you feel it is helpful to you, write them down – putting your thoughts and pain on a piece of paper can help bring awareness to it and thus help you resolve and dissolve it.
What you will notice is that simply by becoming aware of the causes of your turmoil, you will already be dissolving it. Awareness is the great healer. You will see that very often, your suffering is arising from wrong perception. You will let go of deep seated fears, forgive yourself and others unconditionally, drop anger, grief as well as unchecked egotistic pride. All of these things contribute to your suffering. Simply by becoming aware of them and noticing that they are causing you suffering, you will be letting them go – simply by bringing them to the light of your awareness you will heal and drop what is no longer necessary. Heavy baggage that you no longer need, that no longer serves you.
Now, allow yourself to notice that which is beyond your pain, your emotions, or any thoughts that may have arisen. Allow yourself to embrace the silence, without which no sound can exist, the space all around you, without which no matter could be placed, as well as the space between thoughts and the feeling of space and stillness in your own body. By looking beyond what is manifested, you will encounter a faint stillness at first, a sense of peace and calm. Slowly, as you give it attention, this will grow into a far deeper peace, that includes joy, love and even bliss.
This stillness and freedom is behind all your thoughts, emotions and all of manifested reality. Thus as you let go of everything, you will experience this more and more. You will also see that who you are can bear all pain and remain free – that no matter what happens in the world, what happens to you, what your life situation is, there is always a peace and stillness of your true presence, of your deepest nature and the nature of the Absolute, the Divine, in the background.
Now, if action is needed, take it. Use your intuition to see what kind of action needs to be taken, but do not take action from a point of confusion and emotional turmoil. Bring yourself to peace first, as best you can, then if the cause of your misery can be abated by some form of productive action, by doing something proactive, then do it. Always connect reason and logic with your intuition when taking action – do what makes sense, but also what feels good – what feels good from a deep level, not from a surface level perception. Whatever you feel leads you to deeper peace, freedom, well-being, compassion, love….deeper into the present.
-Embrace what you are experiencing, hold it in loving awareness until it dissolves, or is significantly reduced in intensity (enough for you to have enough clarity to take the next step and look deeper), use your breath as an aid if you wish and find it helpful. If the feeling is felt as a sensation in the body, allow yourself to feel it fully. Don’t think about it, just feel it.
-Look deeper for the causes of your turmoil, scan your mind, body, consciousness for the source of the pain. Ask questions that will help you gain deeper insight into your feelings and yourself (also – write down what is bothering you if you find it helpful, or perhaps talk with someone you can trust and entrust them with your issues)
-Look for the peace, the stillness (and possibly even the freedom, joy and love if they accompany it and you notice/feel them) that is beyond all words, the spaciousness that resides in the here and now. Become present and aware of it. Notice how this is the background to all of your experience, your deepest nature beyond name and form. It is like your home. Being aware of it will give you the insight that you are invulnerable, that no matter what happens externally, or what kind of pain you are going through, a background of peace and stillness is always possible
-If action is needed, take it. Use logic, reason, as well as your intuitive sense (how you feel about the action on a deep level) to help you take the best action in order to improve your life situation and resolve your issues
What I’ve described here is the main and the simplest way to deal with your inner suffering, in whatever form it may arise.
Use it to help heal yourself whenever necessary, whenever you intuitively feel it is right for you to do so. Make it a continued practice to dissolve and resolve your inner pain, to look within – but also to be aware of the peace, presence, stillness, love and even joy that is present here now. Remain in the peace of Now and deal with the pain whenever it arises. Slowly, there will be less pain and more peace. Less unpleasantness and more happiness.
You can alter the process in any way you intuitively feels improves its usefulness to you. We are all unique individuals and each of us experiences themselves and life differently, so what I’ve provided is more of a blueprint than an exact plan. Nobody can give you that. You must discover it yourself based on your own intuition, which you can only gain through experience, through facing your inner demons again and again, until they are integrated and dissolved by and into the light of your awareness.
Much love and good luck 🙂
Some other relevant links to help you on your path of dissolving your pain:
-Awareness – The Key to Mental, Emotional and Physical Freedom
-Finding, Experiencing and Following Your Intuition
–Deciding, Choosing and Creating with Awareness
-Forgiving Yourself for Your Past Mistakes Unconditionally
-Breathing – A Portal into the Present Moment
-Triple Welcoming Process – The Sedona Method (a wonderful process for dissolving inner pain and suffering)
The Work, By Byron Katie (a wonderful process for questioning your thoughts and resolving inner pain – one can get the process from the book ‘Loving What Is’, but it’s also available free on her website)