I have spent many years trying to discover the ONE thing – the one vital choice – that leads to healing and joy, or to suffering.
Over 35 years ago I discovered an essential piece of the puzzle: that we each have only one to two intents at any given moment – to protect against pain and responsibility for it, or to open to learning from our pain and take responsibility for it. In other words – to learn from pain or to run from pain with our various addictions.
I discovered the next vital piece almost 25 years ago, after working as a traditional psychotherapist for 17 years and not being happy with the results. I discovered that there is no true healing without a connection with a personal source of spiritual guidance. The mind cannot heal itself.
Many people in our world are spiritually off-course, having become convinced that they cannot access Spirit directly – that they have to do it through a priest or a minister to get to God. We cannot manage the pain of life – lose of loved ones, rejection, abuse, violations, loss of limb, illness – without a direct experience of Spirit, without the compassion, wisdom and strength that comes only from Spirit. When we do not know how to have this direction connection, then our only choice is to run from pain.
And run we do – with all of our addictions to substances, processes, activities, and to anger, blaming, withdrawal, resistance, self-judgment and judgment of others. We learned to disconnect from our feelings and stay in our head, completely out of touch with the vital messages that our feelings – our inner guidance system – are giving to us. And all of our ways of avoiding pain create our suffering.
PAIN IS A FACT OF LIFE – SUFFERING IS A CHOICE
When you close your heart to not feel the pain of life, you create suffering. When you judge yourself, you create suffering. When you turn to addictions, you create suffering. When you shut down, you create suffering.
The question is: What IS the pain we work so hard to avoid?
Loneliness. Heartache. Heartbreak. Grief. Helplessness over others and events. These are some of the core painful feelings – the existential feelings of life – that we work so hard to avoid feeling.
As small children, we could not handle these feelings, so we learned to protect against them. All our protections/addictions inflict pain on ourselves and cause pain in others – creating a cycle of suffering.
The centuries of disconnection from Spirit created the fear of core painful feelings – as we had no way to handle them. We learned to protect against them, thus perpetrating suffering on our children, who then also learned to protect against the loneliness and heartbreak of childhood.
The final piece of the puzzle of healing, the heart of healing, the ONE vital choice that leads to healing and joy – is our willingness to learn to manage our core painful feelings in a loving way, so that we don’t need to avoid them with our addictions.
THE HEART OF HEALING
Someone yells at you. Someone judges you. Someone rejects you. Someone tries to use you. Someone violate you, betrays you, invades you, blames you, shuts you out.
What do you do?
If you are like most people, you get reactive – judging, blaming, complying, resisting, withdrawing.
You experience loss – loss of a loved one, loss of money, loss of limb, loss of heath, loss of respect, loss of a job.
What do you do?
If you are like most people, you turn to food, alcohol, drugs, TV, video games, gambling, spending, sex, anger, blame, judgment, withdrawal.
What else can you do?
You can open to the core painful feelings – feeling shattered, crushed, broken hearted, deeply lonely. You can acknowledge these authentic feelings, open to your spiritual Guidance and bring in deep caring, compassion, tenderness, and gentleness to yourself. With the help of Spirit, you CAN manage these feelings. And by opening to them, you allow them to move through you rather than getting stuck in your body. By opening to them, you feel the pain, but you do not cause suffering by avoiding them with your addictions. By opening to them, you also open to learning about what information they are giving you, and what loving actions to take in your own behalf. Learning to do this will change everything in your life.
This is the heart of healing.