Fear of Facing the Pain that’s Inside of Us

It’s funny how sometimes we tend to avoid the very thing that will bring us relief or the best return on our investment. This is particularly poignant when it comes to matters of spirituality and personal growth.

I can see this is true for me when it comes to meditation, especially physical embodiment meditation.

I know that that is the very thing I need to be doing the most – like every day, set time, and with dedication and focus – but it’s also the thing I find the hardest to do.

I think this has something to do with wanting to stay in my comfort zone.

It’s easier to stay the same than it is to change.

For our egos, it’s more comfortable to continue to tell ourselves the same story. If we start changing the script, we threaten that story.

But if meditation and self-awareness have taught me one thing, it’s that we are not our minds. We are something more. An energy. Pure consciousness. A life force that knows no bounds.

A simple ‘story’ about who I am or what I do does not and cannot define me. Life is what you make it out to be.

What’s more is that no story our minds can tell us can ever hold up to the power we feel within when we are in touch with our deepest selves. Compared to that, a story scatters apart like dust in the wind.

I also think that people tend to avoid facing the pain that’s inside of us, the perceived pain. That’s why we turn to negative behavior like drugs, drinking.. You know the score.

In the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, he refers to that pain as the “Pain Body”, which is an energy that lives on inside of us.

He also says that the pain body appears to be a “dangerous monster that you cannot bear to look at” but when you do witness it wholly, you see that it’s nothing more than “an insubstantial phantom” and that it can’t exist in the light of your awareness.

This pain that we avoid, that’s the very thing that will set us free.

This isn’t an ego thing. This isn’t about “holding on”. It’s a conscious march into the death of the ego, into unknown. Into Faith. Into Trust. Into the body, deeply.

To truly go into it with attention, to “feel it from within” as Eckhart says.

There can be no hiding there.

When we connect with ourselves on that level, there is only a direct witnessing of our Self. We rest in peace, in knowing.

Your body knows what’s right for you. It knows how to act in uncertain situations.

It’s only that we are so out of touch with our physical bodies that we do not hold up nor do we show up. We’ve developed an obsession with thought and we are stuck in our heads!

The physical body knows how to heal but it becomes maladapted when we bury parts of our personal history in the body and store it in various parts of our bodies.

And it’s easy not to notice that our bodies are holding tension. It is only when we become conscious of the physical discomfort in our bodies – or have a practice of directing attention into it  – that we notice just how much tension we are holding, and how we are barely scratching the surface of what we can discover, how much deeper we can actually take our attention and to feel within (if you have spent a lot of time cultivating your own personal self-awareness, you may well have a very good idea of all the parts of your body that are holding on to some unacknowledged or buried emotions. That is a good thing!).

Here’s an analogy I heard today about facing the uncomfortable:

An uncomfortable/painful/inconvenient (insert adjective here) emotion operates like a young child demanding your attention. When you deny it attention, it can become more demanding and begin throwing things around the room. Or it can become petulant, sulky, and temperamental and refuse to leave you alone. In either case, it is not leaving until it gets your acknowledgment of it. It requires your attention. You have to pay it attention.

This is the case for the emotions that we hold in our bodies.

We may be afraid to face them. They may appear like dangerous monsters and it would surely be easier to just avoid facing them and to bury our attention in something else.

That is fine if that is your choice.

But eventually, over time, your body will demand your attention. And one day it will become easier to just face the pain than to avoid it. At least that was the case for me.

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