To heal we cannot reject our illness and grief or use anger and aversion to try to get rid of them. Instead, we have to bring a tender, healing energy to all that is sick or torn, what is broken or lost.
The only way out of our suffering is to go through the pain.
And that is true for any kind of pain we are experiencing. Though, most of us keep ourselves in a state of denial by either seeking pleasure to distract ourselves or by avoiding the reality of our experience.
Why? Because “going through” the experience of our pain means actually feeling it. And who wants to feel pain? We are designed not to seek pain. It is part of the beauty and intelligence of our makeup, where we intuitively seek security, safety, and refuge. But over time, if we continually avoid the inevitable pain in life, we are creating more problems for ourselves.
So how do we “go through” our pain?
As I’ve previously discussed, the first step usually involves going right into the body and acknowledging the pain. This keeps us very present and engaged in the moment. If it’s physical pain, we can go to the part of the body that hurts. If it’s emotional pain, we can try to find where it is manifesting itself on a physical level; for example feeling anger in the throat or fear in the stomach. We then breathe into this part of our body, bringing, as Jack Kornfield says a tender and healing energy to all that is sick or torn.
The next step is a process of self-inquiry. We ask ourselves if this experience triggers old feelings or reminds us of old pain. We explore it. We go into it. We take as long as we need. We don’t judge anything that comes up. We watch and observe, and we let the process unfold.
We may find a root issue or core wound that needs healing. In such cases, I find visualization very helpful. When I feel triggered, I see it as an opportunity to nurture a part of myself that has been ignored. I give this feeling a voice; I let her speak and reassure her that I will listen to her, care for her, defend her, protect her.
We also may experience that the pain opens our eyes, shows us a new way of seeing ourselves and the world around us. We may obtain a sense of gratitude or compassion or maybe a desire to help others. But, we only experience these if we actually experience our pain.
We can choose how to relate to our pain, but avoiding it only creates more problems. Let’s stop running away from the inevitable and face the truth of our lives. Let’s ease back into the reality of the moment and lovingly embrace all that we are experiencing and all that we are.
I have included a guided visualization on healing.