Posted in Being Human, Healing, Lessons

Transformation through Pain

Today’s blog explores the spiritual practice of presence – specifically how the simple act of being present to our pain can bring profound healing, growth and transformation.  In this case, “No pain, no gain” is a true statement.

 

Avoid the Pain

I recently had a really interesting experience where I found myself simply being observer to my journey, instead of my normal role of victim.  It was a situation where something very innocent was said to me  – something that in and of itself was harmless enough, but of course, my inner victim wanted to make it a threat, a source of danger, another incident where I got to be the victim and someone else the enemy.  It was so strange to watch, like a slow motion replay, how my inner self responded to this “innocent something.”  As the words left the other person’s lips, I clearly saw a daggar coming through the air and stabbing me in the heart.  I felt my being recoil in pain and then sink into the pit of martyrdom and depression.  I withdrew.  I became silent.  I shut down.  This chosen response remained until later in that same day when I suddenly decided that the “other” had to be the enemy.  I quickly made up in my mind all kinds of scenarios where I was convinced this person was bad, didn’t like me, was rejecting me and how I would decide to not like them in return.  Then I went into fear.  I went into that place in my mind where I make up stories about what my future needs to look like, might look like, is supposed to look like.  And then again, depression, rejection, anger and pain.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted from being battered about by my inner thought demons.  My typical response to this kind of reaction is to push away the pain, the hurt, the perceived rejection and I usually do this by harboring resentment, anger, rage.  I was surprised, however, to find that something else all together began to unfold.

Pull the Plank from your own eye…sister!

Instead of gathering around myself the cloak of protective anger and resentment, I found myself simply being present.  I let myself feel the hurt of perceived rejection.  I allowed myself to be present to the impatience and frustration of not having “my plans fulfilled.”  Instead, I simply sat with the question – what does this mean?  And when I allowed myself to be present to this question, several answers began to be revealed.  First I saw the “innocent words” and had to admit that I had entertained these thoughts myself on some level and that all they were doing were reflecting my own fears around the particular subject.  Then I saw the way that I cling to perceived surety, concrete plans, a “secure” and “predictable” future…..of my own making, of course.  Following the clinging, I saw my intuitive knowledge around this subject and the sudden fear, “What if I was wrong?”  Then I was acutely aware of two pretty big fears that I have struggled with for as long as I could remember:  ok….actually it was three fears:

  • The fear of rejection (of not being loved, accepted, understood, etc.)
  • The fear of not being right
  • The fear of not knowing my future (ie: the need for security, surety, concrete plans)

When I identified these three fears, something amazing began to happen.  Instead of running from these fears, pushing them away, ignoring them or bargaining with them, I decided to sit with these fears and see what happened.

Making Friends with our Fears

After turning the finger of blame that I was waving toward the innocent “other” back toward myself, I was able to identify the fears that caused me to hear a simply innocent comment as something potentially hurtful.  Instead of stomping away in anger or retreating into the dark coccoon of depression, I decided to sit with my fears.  Instead of pushing them away, bargaining with them or denying them, I allowed myself to be present.  I allowed myself to FEEL the fear of rejection.  I allowed myself to EXPERIENCE the fear of being wrong.  I sat with the little girl inside of me that wants everything to be safe, predictable, planned out and HER WAY.  And then, I breathed!  I breathed these fears into myself and allowed myself to be present to them.  Then here was the miracle…….they all went away.  I saw the fear of rejection evaporate into thin air.  I heard the voice of my truth reminding me of what I know to be true  for now.  And the little girl stopped clinging to the illusion of perceived surety while she sank into the arms of God and let God carry her to where she needed to be….trusting that all would be well.

How might you become more aware of your own defensive reactions to perceived hurts, etc.?

How do you run from or avoid the pain of loss, disappointment, not being in control, etc?

How might you be present to the pain and allow the possibility of healing and transformation?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Forgiveness

Forgiveness Part Seventy Times Seven

Today’s blog continues the discussion on the spiritual practice of Forgiveness.  Specifically, in order to experience the grace of forgiveness, we have to be willing to go into the pain.  No wonder Forgiveness is so dang hard!

The Road to Forgiveness

Roughly 6 weeks ago, thanks to the urging of several spiritual teachers, I embarked upon a journey with Forgiveness as its intention.  It started with one individual, then unfolded to include others who I had perceived to have hurt me in some way.  Interestingly, I have learned many unexpected lessons along the way.  I have been reminded that forgiveness is a process and that the actual moment of release is a moment of grace and comes unbidden and is given without regard to merit (in other words, it doesn’t come because I finally said enough “Hail Mary’s or proclaimed enough Mea Culpas).  I learned (actually, remembered) specific spiritual practices that I have found to be helpful along the way.  And I discovered the miracles that begin to unfold when we give our intention and attention to the process of forgiveness.  I also discovered that what is said of physical fitness seems also to be true in forgiveness:  No Pain, No Gain.

NO PAIN NO GAIN

Instictually, we are avoiders of pain.  If something hurts, we don’t do it again.  Avoidance of pain is an important attitude if we are to survive as a species.  Avoidance of pain, however, is not helpful if we are going to experience the depths of forgiveness.  If we really want to forgive others and ourselves and if we want to be open to forgiveness by others, we have to be willing to go into our pain.  This does not mean that we intentionally subject ourselves to someone else’s abuse, deceit or neglect, but it does mean that we have to be willing to recall those past moments of hurt, betrayal and loss and to actually go into those perceived negative feelings so that they can be transformed and released and so those constricted areas within our emotional bodies can be open to receiving love where the negative feelings used to be.  It goes something like this:

  • We hold an intention in our mind to forgive X person for some perceived hurt.
  • We allow ourselves to be open to remembering that hurt.
  • We allow ourselves to feel the emotions related to that hurt (anger, betrayal, hatred, thoughts of revenge)
  • Then we allow ourselves to feel SADNESS that is lying underneath these other emotions.
  • Then we grieve…..cry, moan, wail, feel the sadness.
  • Then, let it go.

As we allow ourselves to be present to the pain of the loss….the sadness of the hurt, and when we grieve this sadness, we are freed.  The part of the hurt that caused us sadness is released, and forgiveness and love can enter in to that space vacated by the loss.

Afraid of the Pain

It is ultimately the fear of these raw emotions….sadness, anger, depression, that stops our forgiveness process.  We push them aside, ignoring them, resisting them and in doing so, forgiveness is stalled and love is thwarted.  So if we really want to achieve forgiveness in our lives and thereby open more fully to love, we have to be courageous enough to be present to the pain.  And when we do so, our journey toward forgiveness and the fulfillment of love is accelerated and the greatest miracles begin to happen.  And who knows, we might even discover that we can love not only our enemies, but that we can love ourselves as well.

Where do you want to invite forgiveness into your life?

How does the fear of pain thwart your ability to be open to forgiveness?

What are the pains that are currently calling you to be present to them?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com