Suffering, says Shinzen Young(a Buddhist teacher), is our pain multiplied by our resistance to the same.
I feel this to be true. In Facing the Storms, I gave diverse examples of the benefits of stepping into uncomfortable feelings. With this post, I invite you to not only turn and meet the pain head on – but to also allow it without any resistance. The subtle difference here is to shift from a defiant, confrontational energy to a mindful, receptive one.
What we resist, persists. The defensive energy of fighting with pain, whether it be physical or emotional in nature, creates tension, contraction and its own consequences within our mind and body. Our defensiveness reinforces our identification with the limited mind-body and the pain, creating further suffering.
Our true, expanded state needs neither protection nor repair. A gentle acceptance of things the way they are arises easily when we are rooted in our true nature.
However, the experience of pain is real. It cannot and should not be denied. When identified with the pain, all non-duality concepts seem to be just that – concepts. But when we are able to find the courage to allow the pain, slowly but surely, we start connecting with that part of us which is always at peace – regardless of the state of body or outer circumstances.
This understanding is particularly helpful in long-standing situations such as chronic disease or close, difficult relationships. Here, though This Too Shall Pass – change may be slow in coming, and the pain could be repetitive and intense.
A simple way to see if this approach works for you is this: When another episode of emotional/physical pain turns up, sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Imagine as though you are breathing in and out of your heart. Next imagine the pain is represented by the image of an immense lake of liquid light. Now visualize yourself gradually immersing deeper and deeper into this lake. It may initially seem intimidating and overwhelming, with the surface being dark and choppy. But know that as you go deeper, the waters begin to feel stiller, lighter and reassuring. Right at the bottom, below all the intensity – you will reach a peaceful place. This visualization works astonishingly well for me, but then I love water 🙂
Alternatively, the EFT(Emotional Freedom Techniques) script below should help most people. EFT is remarkably effective during acute episodes of pain. I often used it as the first demonstration in EFT workshops, because it’s easier for people to notice the change in pain than in their emotions. While results differ, EFT has almost always given a significant benefit.
This script goes beyond addressing the acute, obvious symptoms. Even in the midst of pain, it assists in taking us back home. I wrote this for a client only a few days back and subsequently shared it with a few others. The positive feedback has me posting it here, hoping that many more will benefit. If it works for you, please do share it with others.
Peace Be With You!
Karate Chop Even though I have this pain, I release all resistance to it now
Karate Chop Even though I have this pain, I release all argument with it now
Karate Chop Even though I have this pain, I release the need for it to go away now
Eyebrow All the meaning I have attached to this pain
Side of the eye All the significance I have given this pain
Under the eye All that I fear will follow this pain
Under the nose All the dread of what I expect next
Chin All the anxiety of this pain becoming worse
Collarbone All the panic of this pain staying on forever
Under the arm All the reasons I feel I don’t deserve this pain
Top of the Head All the ways in which I believe and prove that pain is inevitable
Karate Chop All the known and unknown ways in which I am inviting, creating or perpetuating this pain, I release dissolve and let go now
Karate Chop I release all fixed points of view around this pain
Karate Chop I give myself permission to allow things to be as they are now
Eyebrow For just this minute, I relax.
Side of the eye For just this minute, I breathe.
Under the eye For just this minute, I welcome it all.
Under the nose For just this minute, I let life lead.
Chin For just a little while, I rest.
Collarbone For just a little while, let all thoughts cease.
Under the arm For a little while, whether pain is present,
Top of the head Or goes absent, I choose peace.
(Drink water and repeat a few rounds if required.)
Photo Credit: Tanushree Vaidya @photohappyme