Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting Underneath the Pain

When we are feeling physical pain, our usual response is to try to cover it over with some kind of medication. If we are experiencing emotional pain, then we might want to mask it by drinking, overeating, buying or doing some other activity to totally divert our senses away from the very thing that is crying out to be heard.

Here is an alternative course of action, a healing response rather than something that will only temporarily relieve our pain and distress. Instead of running away from the pain, we will be running towards it.

Ask yourself, ask your soul, and ask G-d: "Where is the pain coming from?"You already have some answers from your childhood, from your boss, from your marriage, from a school principal, from a crabby neighbor, from bureaucracy, from too much chocolate chip ice cream. But more important than all those people and things outside of you is what's inside of you.

Try sitting down with pen and paper or at the computer keyboard. With your eyes closed as you breathe deeply, ask again, “Where is the pain coming from?” What's the root of that pain which is catalyzed by outside forces? Does the neighbor bring up some deep-seated memory of conflicts with parents, judgments by authority figures, or unmet expectations of love or acceptance? Is the ice cream your way of silencing the place inside that is crying out for love and acceptance?

When you really listen to your insides, you may hear some very, very simple answers-- they were there all the time, but you just hadn't heard because there was so much static flying through the air. At the same time that you face the underneath sources of your external pain, the answers to what to do about it will often spring up spontaneously. Your insides know what to do to heal.

The universe is full of answers to questions that we don't bother to ask.

When the pain motivates you to re-unite with your insides, then the pain turns into light. It turns into a flashlight to illuminate your way in the dark. You can be thankful for the pain-- because pain is a sign that you're alive and feeling. You're awake.

Write from the inner landscape where you’ve journeyed. Pick up the pain in your hands and carry yourself through the silence into your vast inner world. Let the pain turn from ache to song, and let your voice rise up and sing.

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