Although we hear how to deal with our own pain (physical or psychological/emotional) very seldom we hear about the suffering of witnessing the pain of others.
For instance, a loved one, a close relative could be going through excruciating physical or emotional pain: We could hear and see their discomfort, we could empathize with them, we could wish them a prompt recovery, but we could find ourselves absorbing that pain emotionally in such a way that their pain, becomes ours.
A famous case is the one experienced by Christopher Reeve, (actor who played Superman in 1978) who went through many diseases after he was paralyzed from the neck down, after falling from a horse. After his death in 2004, his wife; Dana Reeve died 18 months later from lung cancer. She wasn’t a smoker. She was 44 years old.
As cancer is known for being an emotional disease, we could observe how her husband’s experiences affected her. The symbolism for pain in the lungs is sadness.
Ahnanda is very experienced in seeing the pain of others, I used to take them with me. However, as my awareness increased; that has changed.
There are 2 things to be aware of: 1) How our emotions are affected 2) How the mind is affected through identification.
There is an emotional energy sent by someone in pain. I have been in cases where there was nothing I could do, but just observe. That frustration added further sorrow when the perception of my mind in that moment, changed: “How unfair life could be…” the mind is champion in adding useless comments. “I” identified with someone’s sorrow thus, awareness is no longer there.
It is what it is. Observe. Feel compassion, send get well wishes, but as soon as the opportunity is there to change into another activity; we need to do it, we need to smile again. This is living in the now.
The mind may bring memories. It may bring comments. Observe and let it go.
In my own experience, dancing to upbeat music, has been an incredible help to take my mind away from remembering such experiences. When the mind is distracted, enjoyment follows.
We could turn the page onto another chapter.
Life presents different experiences. If pain is not our own, why not keep our happiness?
Energetically; what it is not ours, we do not need to take with us. That is part of self-respect. To be able to save the integrity of our own self and to know when enough, is enough; that is, when we have reached a limit.
Traditional society may have a different perception on this based on ideas of “sainthood;” (suffering with others or for others) however, society is not concerned in increasing our own awareness through Life experiences.
Compassion is found in the experience of witnessing someone’s sorrow. That compassion is without “practice.” It is natural, real. Nevertheless, to remain untouched by someone’s sorrow is an art of awareness, it is the practical experience of living with no mind.
Seeing sorrow of others is unavoidable but so is our own Joy. Our quality of awareness flips the coin.
Some individuals will walk through a spiritual path. There, they will learn about their own “weaknesses.” That is the typical label used to recognize those aspects which need “improvement.”
Others however, feel alright as they are. They are pretty sure it is others who cause problems and in turn make them feel upset, mad, angry, unhappy, etc. These people only react to the stimuli. Thus, a step forward in inner knowledge will be to realize that those emotions are within and triggered from without.
Those inner emotions have been labeled with a negative connotation: They are called sins, vices, etc.
The “spiritual game” consists on how to get rid of those “bad traits” and install the good ones, so we could “improve.”
On that end, many inventions have been made. There are confessions of sins, yoga with God, penances, positive thought, etc. Nevertheless, nothing has a lasting effect.
Why is that?
Emotions need to be expressed. We cannot get rid of them by DOING something.
A sad person cannot become truly happy by applying some positive thoughts.
A person feeling guilt and shame, will not be able to be free from those emotions by confessing them.
The typical stereotype of many “spiritual” individuals is: Reject those traits which are considered negative and only allow those things considered positive.
Instead, we may need to learn to express all emotions. Emotions are like water streams, they will run its own curse; however, we do not allow them to fully express, thus; we stop the flow and let those emotions stagnate in ourselves. That is what is known as a trauma.
Obviously, the full expression of some emotions will be detrimental to some members of society. If I feel angry, it will be detrimental to hit someone to express it. However, I could hit a punching bag instead, to my heart desire.
I could express sadness in the privacy of my bedroom and so other emotions as well, once I am AWARE of them. Once they are expressed, the water stream is gone. Just do not use your mind to bring that stream back.
We can feel guilt. Let it go by forgiving yourself, otherwise it will stagnate as self punishment, even though we may not be aware, it remains in the unconscious.
Children will use this principle of letting go. They do not reject or repress emotions. Those are fully expressed and gone. As grown ups become more complex and rigid, there is a need to create an outlet for them.
Although, the above may not be considered appropriate by some, all I have to say is that we cannot interfere with emotions as we see fit. That is utopia, and that has been mainstream teaching due to the mentality of “black or white” morality. A repressed emotion will be detrimental for our well being.
Life uses all emotional energies to express through us. Light cannot exist without the possibility for darkness. To know our best means to equally know our worst. That sort of knowing is experiential, it comes through observation, awareness.
With emotions, express them and once expressed, let them go. Emotional healing means to let go.
We live life just to go away. The candle is lit just to be extinguished. Emotions are meant to pass by, once they arrive.
Observe the game to play it well.
Nowadays, bacterias and viruses aren’t the only providers of disease. The quality of our emotions will greatly influence our health.
Different emotions will trigger different chemicals in our body. When we are young, our bodies have the ability to hold on certain emotions, even though detrimental to our health. As we age; the importance of recognizing the flow of emotions in our selves becomes extremely important.
Anxiety, anger, worries, uncertainty, over thinking… all of those “modern diseases” will affect the quality of our health.
Every one of us may have felt these. These emotions are not “bad.” Those emotions need to be allowed to be felt but at the same time, they should be allowed to leave.
This is the key . We are not sponges. We are mirrors and as we self-realize, we become doors and windows.
We have been taught through many years of repressive “spirituality,” that we should not feel certain emotions. That practice will hurt us.
Observe Nature. A duck will fight with another duck. After that event, the duck will flap its wings. Then things will continue as “normal.”
It is true that in our society there are consequences for expressing our anger. There are “acceptable levels,” however; for a seeker it becomes important to OBSERVE the emotional energy going through us and create a “space” and effectively, disassociate from that energy.
For instance, in dealing with certain personalities, it may be important to show our anger. Nevertheless, our “liver” should not pay the consequences and our mind should not take that episode for the next day or week or month or year, unable to let go.
Things happen. It is a “now” thing. Afterwards, it is a different reality altogether.
When we are not OBSERVANT of the build up of emotions, we will identify with them, we will believe that “I AM ANGER,” “I was angry,” “You made me angry” we say rather than, “I FELT ANGER.” As it is felt, it goes away.
Flap your wings and let it go.
For many individuals, it is hard to eat after an episode of anger. If they eat, their stomach will feel upset. Others, are capable of enjoying their meals right after an episode of anger.
What is the difference?
The level of IDENTIFICATION. How much our mind recites the incidents? For how long? That is what we may need to be AWARE of, to OBSERVE in ourselves.
As we master this “skill,” there will be a level of energy “regulation” built in. This will arrive as we OBSERVE every episode in our lives rather than repress or label that as “this is good or this is bad.”
It is of paramount importance to learn to OBSERVE ourselves as if we were following someone else: We will notice movements, emotions, triggers, ego and we can contrast that with the certainty that Life is a game, for sooner or later; Life only reflects back our beliefs. Would you rather play or worry?
In Life, nothing lasts forever. That is a “good” thing.
“When I observe myself I feel more comfortable when I cry a lot by recalling bad events happened to me in the past and present. Sometimes I feel like crying loudly. I don’t know what is happening inside. I live alone and always wanted to stay alone without any friends and family relatives. Also I am suffering from an inferiority complex over my physical appearance. Any solution?”
Thank you for your question.
The world of emotions is incredibly deep. Logic, reason and analysis are useless when dealing with emotions.
When you remember your past or current “bad” events, you mind is involved. It is like forcing someone to watch a sad movie for the heck of it. Many times we do that to ourselves. It is as if something is bothering our ego and the movie comes up to tell us what it “is.”
That is the rational mind. There is nothing there for us to look at for we can only interpret things, rationalize things and decide to act in one way or another to protect our ego.
Sit down comfortably. Put on some tranquil, peaceful music. Observe how the mind goes into a dream state by playing anther “movie.” We are dreaming although supposedly, awake. Music could be a trigger to release your emotions.
Cry all you want within the space of compassion. It is needed, necessary and good.
You don’t need to know what is happening inside. Remember, that need to “know” is the mind. What your being needs is to heal.
Healing emotions is a process. We cannot pick what we want to heal. “Today I want to heal my inferiority complex…here is the method.” No! It does not work like that. What you are able to release, will be released. It does not depend on you.
Emotions are unprocessed energy stuck in our beings.
In my experience, holistic healers could be of great help. Sound or hypnosis may work for you, but that is up to you to try. That depends on you. Life will offer the “solution” at the right time. See what is available for you at this time.
To live alone is beneficial in many aspects. However, when we use that lifestyle to protect ourselves, out of fear, or to fulfill some “spiritual” ideal; our Life could be hellish.
Physical appearance is important, but more important is the acceptance of yourself.
By all means, DO something to improve your physical appearance if possible, according to your means, your time and how bad you want it, while in that process acceptance of “you” as “you” becomes the most important item in your list.
This is not related on how others perceive you based on some collective conditioning, but in how you perceive yourself. Do you like yourself? Do you feel at ease with yourself?
You have identified an inferiority complex. Now is the time to act.
Allow for Life to show you different avenues. Keep an open mind. Your Life may change at any time.
Openness in all aspects is the key to understand spirituality beyond infantile ideas.
What is that openness?
If you feel like crying, then cry.
If you feel like living alone, then do it.
If you want to remember “bad” events, remember them.
If you want to physically compare yourself with others, then compare yourself.
Just be AWARE of their consequences and repercussions. Forget about judgments.
Note how much of that which is happening to us, we DO it to ourselves unknowingly, then ACCEPT that all of that can change at any time… for it will change.
For some this is the belief about “hope in the future”.
For me, this is just a fact of Life.
The very best to you! 🙂
What do you feel when a loved one dies?
What do you feel when you experience a broken heart?
What would you experience if you are told that you only have a month to live?
Most of us will perceive those experiences as a hardship, something that shouldn’t happen to us, but yet it does.
Psychologists have come up with stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Observe in yourself how grief transforms into anger and how that in turn will transform into sadness, depression and finally into acceptance.
Nevertheless, for most that final stage of acceptance is not “true” acceptance. It is more accurate to call it to be submissive.
The angry tiger becomes a docile kitty cat.
We could fight, struggle with anyone except with Life itself.
Observe how the experience of opposite emotions will be going through the experience of the “cycle” of grief: I could deny, just to accept. I could feel anger, just to be submissive. I could bargain with the higher powers to be, rationalizing the incident; just to be depressed.
Acceptance is not submissiveness.
Acceptance is openness to the experience.
When you are a “Life walker,” a seeker; you may find out that those 5 stages of grief are not accurate in your case.
There is one important stage, which will return a true smile in our faces.
That final stage is called GRATITUDE.
Gratitude is not say “Thank you” as many think. Gratitude means to be able to be fulfilled in yourself. Nothing is lacking. You are at ease and able to live with you.
“You” are Life itself, complete. Nevertheless, most “normal” people cannot experience that yet. For them gratitude is just another “spiritual keyword,” a nice way to say “thank you,” with the mind.
If a loved one passes away, your stage of grief will be fully transformed through “spiritual alchemy,” when there is a sense of gratitude in you. A loved one is gone into another journey. You are not lacking. That sense of grief was shown to you through that event. You are grief. Nothing wrong with that. However, you can transform it, that is; use the same energy to come up with something else: Acceptance, Gratitude.
When we are not aware of transformation of energies, we will only repress them to try to act tough, quasi-spiritual, disconnected, disinterested, etc.
Many individuals will experience grief, express it and keep it for as long as they can. They thrive in getting pity from others. It is a way for them to feel important as people may finally notice them. Others, may reject grief as they have been conditioned to believe that they have to show a happy face all the time.
Very few will transform it, and yet even fewer; will feel GRATITUDE out of that experience. Ultimately, there is FREEDOM in GRATITUDE.
A trauma or fear of Life comes when we have not reached a state of true acceptance, when we are continuously struggling with Life.
Our conditioning that we should fight for everything may work in the “office world,” but it will never work with Life.
The mind is our inner TV. It has so many images. Most times we believe in those images as “real” and add our own expectations, our own story of how life should be for “me.” When a setback is felt and grief comes in the horizon, that TV show will be the same repeat which in turn will bring more suffering to the ego, the “I.”
Why is that suffering?
Because my expectation of what Life should be for “me” does not fit reality. Ego cannot accept that. The repetition of the images is there so we don’t forget. It is a nagging reminder.
Anger, denial, etc. are expressions of the fighting ego.
EGO cannot have GRATITUDE, for ego always wants something else. Ego is in a state of lacking fulfillment.
That is why it is said that “time heals.” For the ego will look for something else in time to cover the previous trauma.
Self-observation is an invaluable tool for self-knowledge. For that to happen, we need to allow ourselves to feel the full range of an emotional experience. Life is always teaching us, showing us, who we truly are.
Until December 1st! Enjoy Life. 🙂
A reader asked: ” I want to forget my past but I could not. What to do?”
Observe that “I want to forget my past” does not work.
It does not matter what “method” someone may want to use.
The “I” cannot forget at will just as the “I” cannot stop thinking at will.
To say to someone “forget and forgive” is completely meaningless. Nice words to say, it sounds wise, but that is as far as it goes.
It is not about trying to “forget something,” that is like trying to catch your own shadow.
It is not a matter of DOING something like drinking tequila to “forget.”
The past is gone. It will be remembered if that was a cause of trauma, which means if it wasn’t accepted as it was.
What otherwise was like a flowing river; becomes stuck in a particular place due to a trauma perceived by the “I.”
Thus, the “keyword” to emotionally understand this issue is Acceptance.
Acceptance is not a concept, a nice thought to be entertained with or some sort of “spiritual” catchphrase.
If your mind says: “That makes sense. I will accept my past.” Nothing will happen. You will still remember it. The trauma is there.
Acceptance is to take away the blockages which are not allowing the waters of the river, to flow freely.
“Taking away” the blockages means to realize the beliefs, ideals, hang ups causing the trauma.
For example, you may have experienced a hard childhood. Whatever hardship you may think that you endured, has taken you today to where you are. Do you see that?
Would you label yourself as a “failure,” a byproduct of that traumatic childhood?
Yes? That is where lack of love will begin. It begins as a rejection to ourselves. We cannot forget something which we blame to be the cause of our “failure.” That memory will be triggered over and over by different events. All we are showing in our reactions, is our own suffering.
That lack of self-love will cause our inability to have a healthy connection with another human being, where love is at stake.
No? Then, if you are not a “failure,” then ask yourself: Why that pain from the past cannot be let go, accepted as part of Life? You may have broken your finger in the past, but even if you remember the experience, it will be neutral, it will not move you a bit. You can only be emotionally moved by something from the past, if that hasn’t been accepted, assimilated, processed.
Do you see that the type of acceptance I am talking about, is not coming from the mind?
Find the rejection. That is all. Once you find it, accept it with your heart.
I found out that a very dear friend of mine, passed away yesterday. Memories of the past will be triggered. My mind could even say how unfair life is. She was so young and full of artistic zest. Whatever my mind adds as justification or explanation, is just an interpretation. To accept means to feel the event whole in its entirety, without finding a place to hide. By allowing the event to go through me, it will not be stuck in my emotions as a trauma. By not using my mind to explain and justify things based on my ideas and conditioning, it will go through me as it came. For when you are an empty door, aware of who is passing by, there is no place for a trauma to stay.
Rejection of a Life experience is the obstacle not allowing the river of Life to flow, to change. The past is only memory. Observe how you perceive it, observe your own interpretation of it and how much damage we can do to ourselves when that interpretation does not fit the ideal that we have of how Life “should be.”
Life is. Always the present, always the “now.” Embrace it, love it, move with it. 🙂
“You” or “I” is a water pipe. The experiences of Life will go through the pipe, through us. As time goes by, some experiences may have “dirt” in it. That is a traumatic experience. That episode accumulates as energy, clogging up the pipe.
Because the pipe is unaware of what is going on, the pipe will “forget about it.”
“Yeah, that happened to “me” but I forgave “them” and “me.” I have to be positive. I have to look at the brighter side. Life works for “me,” so I am cool now.”
Those are the lying words that we are taught to say to ourselves. The words to meditate on, to condition our minds through some sort of “mantra.”
“Reality” is that the trauma is energy, it is not a rational element, a concept to change; thus, our little pep talk will not work at a deeper level, the level of change. It may work at the superficial level, that is behavior.
As the “dirt” accumulates over time the pipe acquires solidity. It filters the waters of Life experiences by using labels such as “good and bad.” “Good” means that it will be accepted for it is something known. “Bad” means danger, unknown, it could start another trauma. The pipe does not realize that filtering is done under conditioning. The pipe is no longer open to experience Life and thus, enjoyment diminishes. Extreme safety in all aspects becomes the concern, to preserve the “I” which is only accumulation of dirt. That is what we call ego. Thus, ego is a byproduct of living Life.
A time will arrive, when water will not be able to flow. The “I” is stuck with its own past experiences unable to let them go so water cannot flow again.
That is the time, when surrendering arrives. Life is no longer bearable as the pressure of the pipe increases with many emotional episodes.
Emotions are energies trapped which will express through the body. Because energies cannot be destroyed, these emotions will appear in different life times.
That is the time when we may learn about releasing energies or transforming them. That is the way to open up the pipe again.
In my experience, a point where Life is unbearable will need to be experienced (surrendering) before Life itself will show us the way out. It is a process. It doesn’t happen magically all at once. If it was all at once, it will be extremely painful as we couldn’t hold on to the armors that gave us a personality.
Since we are dealing with energy and not with concepts, different types of energy work may be needed. In my case, I am in tune with sound. Tibetan singing bowls have been very helpful. There are some practitioners who are working with ethereal beings/energies, many times unknowingly. They have been “chosen.” Through those individuals is how healing may happen at some level. Their mission in Life, is to provide emotional healing to those who are ready.
Hypnosis could be helpful as well, to remove some traumatic experiences from childhood. There are many non-traditional ways. Experiment. Be aware.
“Releasing” occurs in many ways. Sometimes is through crying. Sometimes screaming, sometimes through a sharp feeling that something came out. Other times, is subtle, as we resume Life, those things which used to be triggers will not be felt like that anymore.
It is important to keep the rational mind away, for we will not be open to express. The conditioning of “A man does not cry or a woman should be always a lady” will be there unless we allow ourselves to express raw, and be Ok with whatever is being felt.
Rationality and rational “solutions” or any sort of “numbing” will not go to the root.
The “methods” that Life uses to remove the dirt from the pipe are always unique. Openness is necessary for if we use our judgment, it is truly conditioned.
Feel from your gut, if it is “right” for you and allow it to happen. Trust Life… 🙂