Acknowledging emotional pain may seem like an obvious step in the healing process that everyone is already doing. If you’re in pain, you already know it, right?
Most of us have varying degrees of emotional trauma in our energy field that lies below our conscious awareness. Although we might be aware of some of the symptoms of emotional pain within us, we usually don't fully turn our attention to it and SEE the actual energy itself. Instead, we tend to focus on our thoughts ABOUT it.
Consequently, we end up in conflict with ourselves, wanting the emotional trauma to go away, and fighting with it mentally. THIS is the actual suffering: our resistance to what is appearing within us. This produces a painful inner contraction, which ranges from annoying discomfort at one end of the spectrum to severely debilitating physical and/or mental dis-ease at the more serious end of the spectrum.
It is common for us to become practiced at denial of emotional pain in order to function in our lives. Unconsciously we have learned how to keep the pain at bay so we can “do” our daily lives with some kind of balance. Often, the energetic imbalance within us actually causes us to create more imbalance as an attempt to gain equilibrium. And our only awareness of this might be a sense of feeling “off” or living our lives with limited inner resources, constantly looking for something outside ourselves to “fix” us.
In order to heal emotional pain, we need to invite it up into our conscious awareness. We need to care enough about ourselves to spend time with ourselves, looking within and truly BEING with ourselves AS WE ARE. Doing this we can discover an infinite source of emotional support and wellbeing that is always available to us from within.
So-called “negative” emotions are flags
to let us know when something needs to be seen and embraced within us.
Our feelings give us direct access into the center of a debilitating
Zeroing in on the actual experience of an emotion (not our thoughts ABOUT the emotion) can help us consciously get right to the core, the root cause of all pains/wounds – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
At the core of all wounds is a thought / belief that we are not good enough, that we are bad, that we’ve done something wrong.
Perhaps as children we received negative feedback, or even punishment for doing something or being a certain way. This generally comes about from innocently rocking the boat of a caregiver and unconsciously triggering their unhealed wounds, which then gets projected out onto us. (See “The Superego – Breaking Free of a False God”.)
Most of us were conditioned to believe that it isn’t okay to feel our feelings, especially the really strong emotions that threatened our caregivers’ world when we expressed them. So, sometimes unconsciously and with good intentions, they did whatever they could to try to influence us into burying our feelings.
Then, as young children (or even from previous lifetimes) we carried this belief seed of “not good enough / bad / did something wrong.” Consequently, since our experience is always a reflection of our beliefs about ourselves, other reprimanding “events” generally occur that feed energy to this belief. Each time we were reprimanded and made wrong for being who we were, the “I am bad” thought was rethought and eventually became a part of our self-concept.
As we move through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood, a self-preservation component of our psyche pushes this debilitating belief down into the subconscious.
This self-preservation component, which we all have, is driven by the instinct to do whatever we can to survive as best we can under challenging circumstances, including turning away from the emotional pain and denying – even to ourselves – that it ever existed.
Unfortunately, even though the “I am bad / not good enough” belief may now be unconscious, the energy of it still operates in our lives, veiling the reality that what we truly are, beneath ALL self-concepts, is radiant, alive, consciousness, totally at peace.
Some of us have had the experience of feeling emotionally “frozen” or cut off from our feelings. We know we feel SOMETHING but the feelings themselves are murky and indefinable.
Again, this is the act of a part of us that tries to take care of us in the only way it knows how – to “freeze” up the emotions in order to protect us from what we perceive as the intolerable emotional pain of the shame and powerlessness we feel when we think we are “bad” or "unworthy" at the core. In the whole spectrum of human emotions, this "I am bad" feeling is the most painful.
Consequently, as we go about our lives, we may be aware of a vague feeling in the background that ranges anywhere from uncomfortable to intense emotional pain and suffering, without even having a word to describe or define it.
In this case, it takes practice to allow ourselves to actually feel what is really going on inside – to give PERMISSION to ourselves to see and experience it.
The essential realization that we all eventually come to in our healing is that the core belief of being inherently bad and having done something wrong is COMPLETELY untrue. Here is the truth:
You've never been bad. Neither has anyone else. We are actually pure consciousness, manifesting as these various forms, each of us playing out a role in this amazing dance of life. In our essence we are pure, alive, conscious Beingness.
We are all somewhere in the process of awakening to the truth of Being. In the meantime, we all believe that we are these bodies, emotions, and our concepts, beliefs and thoughts about ourselves and each other.
While we believe that is what we are, we are in a constant state of reaching for what we think will help or add to us and pushing away everything we think will hurt or take something away from us.
Everything that anyone has ever done has always been an attempt to take care of themselves with whatever inner resources they were aware of at the time.
Generally, we are conditioned to make ourselves
and each other wrong. To heal, we must learn to experience ourselves as the pure consciousness we are. As we begin to experience the truth of what we are, then we begin to see that EVERYONE is pure consciousness.
We are actually the very SAME pure consciousness – unlimited, unconditional love.
However, in this dream we tend to believe we are all separate characters. We dream up a multitude of experiences, all of which ultimately serve in our awakening FROM the dream.
And there is no judgment in any of it.
Emotional wounds are the energetic cause of all other wounds and dis-eases. To let any wound heal, we need to retrace our steps back into ourselves. We need to become CONSCIOUS of the belief that we are “bad” that is running the whole show of suffering, and the immense shame and feelings of powerlessness that result from that false belief.
It is very important to not make ourselves wrong for having this belief, which only adds another layer of shame. The more you check this out, you’ll see the subtle ways this belief can show itself. While there is allegiance to a self-concept, the mind can even try to co-opt the healing process by making you wrong or bad for not healing fast enough! Or not doing it the right way, etc.
Once we acknowledge and are conscious of emotional pain, the next step is to shift attention to the pure consciousness we already are. You may know this as God, Source, Spirit, or by another name. All of these words direct our attention to the Energy that is us, that this entire dream arises in. We can begin to discover that God isn't outside of us. We and God are One, inseparable Being.
The experience of actually shifting attention to THIS that we are is far more powerful than a mental concept. However, at first, we can begin with a concept, or even a dialogue with this pure consciousness that is us, right now already, in this very moment.
As we become conscious and aware of the falseness of the belief we've held about being "bad" or "not good enough," we start to see and EXPERIENCE the truth of our own goodness. At this point, emotional pain begins to unwind organically, automatically.
When we experience the reality of our goodness, a change in what we identify ourselves AS occurs. We begin to know ourselves as peace.
We see that the core belief of being “bad” was just a misunderstanding that grew out of an untrue thought that we believed was true.
“…and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
When untruth is consciously met by truth within you, your energy field begins to vibrate at a higher frequency of love and wellbeing.
This is very much like the metaphor of “thinking outside the box.”
If you think of a problem as being contained within a box, you can’t solve the problem by only looking within the box. You need to expand out beyond the box of the problem to find the solution.
In the same way, we need to shift our attention and point of reference beyond the limited energy field of our wounds in order to notice that we are the consciousness the wounds (as well as our entire lives) is arising IN.
This consciousness we are is the only place of peace. As we get to know ourselves as this, gradually suffering unwinds on its own because we are no longer identified with it. The old wounds and emotional pain are no longer being fed energy by our identification with them and then, starved of energy, they begin to fall away.
As I mentioned, the first step for healing emotional pain is awareness – being willing to become fully aware of the pain itself, and then being willing to notice that we ARE the awareness that is aware OF the emotional trauma.
Then we realize we are not just our body, beliefs and
concepts about ourselves, or the emotional pain. We are what it all arises IN.
The natural outcome of this is a change in consciousness, a broadening and deepening of awareness OF awareness, and the wound organically begins to release by itself.
Until we become conscious of the feeling sense of emotions themselves, we can use all kinds of healing practices that can help us get relief from the symptoms of the pain, but until we are willing to bring attention into the energy of the emotional pain itself and honestly SEE it without trying to make it go away, the symptoms will spring up again.
The energy of the emotional pain needs to be gently exposed with loving compassion, and then touched by the realization of the truth that we are the consciousness that is aware OF the pain.
What we truly are isn't even in the realm of good or bad. We are the loving, neutral space that experiences of "good" or "bad" appear IN. With this realization, wounds gradually release all on their own.
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart. Love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. The point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, someday, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
It takes courage to turn inward and be investigatively honest about what you are really experiencing and acknowledge your emotional pain.
Usually this doesn’t happen until we've tried every method out there to try to get RID of the emotional pain, which only feeds energy to it. If you have found yourself here and are reading this, you are ready for something different that works. You are standing at the threshold into true healing.
I greet you with love and understanding. I acknowledge and celebrate your courage – the part of you that has said “I’m open. I'm ready to see all this from a different perspective.”
We all have unique predispositions. Some of us are more physically oriented, while others are more mentally or emotionally oriented.
You may experience your first awareness of emotional pain as an uncomfortable physical sensation, such as tightness. Or it could be mental confusion and obsession about a subject. Or you could feel emotionally overwhelmed, like being pulled into a tidal wave that has you spinning and not knowing which end is up.
You may be able to determine the quality of the feeling as rage, sadness, despair, etc. If you do characterize it as a specific emotion, then for our purposes here, for just right now, let go of that description or definition.
Let the energy just be here, nameless, undefined.
Give the feeling / sensation permission to be here within you fully, simply because it IS here. Let go of judgments about yourself for having this emotional pain energy.
Look for even the tiniest sensation of discomfort. Often this is a mild awareness of tightness. If you keep bringing your attention back to the tightness and give it permission to show itself, your awareness of it will increase. In some cases the beginning signs of tightness are later experienced as sharp pain or as a tight constriction as you stay with this process.
All emotional pain has 3 components: mental, emotional and body sensations. I prefer to start with the body sensations level of emotional pain because we get too easily sucked into the mental thoughts or the emotional whirlpools. By addressing the emotional pain on the body level we are simultaneously addressing it on all 3 levels because they are intertwined.
To help bring the emotional pain more into your conscious awareness, think of a subject that troubles you. As your attention visits that subject, notice where in your body you simultaneously feel a tightness or constriction. Notice how the constriction feels – the energy itself, not your thoughts about it.
Silently within, tell this energy, "I see you. I see you as you are."
As you speak to this energy silently, feel yourself seeing it. In other words don't do this as a mental exercise. Don't just say the words.
Match the words with your action. Actually be AWARE of the energy. Awareness is a type of seeing. Actually be aware of the energy of tightness or discomfort in the body as it IS, not how you think about how it is.
Next, silently tell this energy, "You get to be here as you are, simply because you ARE here as you are. I'm not going to try to fix you, heal you, change you or make you go away."
Again, as you're saying the words, FEEL how it feels to mean those words. Actually LET the energy be as it is.
The energy is like a hurt child appearing on your doorstep – yourself as a child. If you tell this precious little one you want them go to away, they can't go away. They live THERE, with you. They have no other home.
So essentially, what we need and want to tell this precious one is, "You get to come inside and be here as you are. You LIVE here with me and you are welcome here, AS YOU ARE."
Silently tell the energy "You can fill this entire room and this entire home if you want to." Again, feel how it FEELS to mean that as you say it.
I invite you to practice this daily and you will gradually begin to notice more peace and harmony within.
Often, even when we have the intention of healing, what we are really wanting is for the emotional pain to go away. This is the normal initial reaction we ALL have. We are conditioned to resist pain.
However, while holding this intention to make the emotional pain go away, we are essentially telling the hurt child within, "I want you to go away. You are not acceptable as you are."
Or sometimes the mind will co-opt the healing process described here and try to "do" it itself.
The mind will say something like this when silently speaking to the energy of the emotional pain:
pretend to accept you as you are
but I'm only doing it because I'm hoping that will make you go away."
Imagine being a hurt child (which is essentially what the emotional pain IS) and actually hearing these words.
within feels the energy of this type of thoughts and the inner
constriction only becomes tighter and more painful because we are in
conflict with ourselves.
It is only when the energy of the emotional pain is totally allowed to truly be as it is that the constriction will gradually let go, because the resistance to what is arising IS the constriction of emotional pain.
As you begin to experience your emotional pain, remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you for HAVING this energy within. All this emotional pain needs is loving attention and self forgiveness – to be touched with loving compassion without us trying to fix or change it in any way.
You don’t need to figure out or decide what the story is that is connected to the emotional pain, whether it is something someone said or did or something you said or did.
If insights come, let them come.
But for our purposes of healing, for now, keep it simple. Just be with the energy as described above. At this point, mental analysis would only divert you off track and into the mind, which won’t be useful in acknowledging the emotional pain.
Remember, our intention here is to acknowledge and allow the FEELING energy itself to be as it is.
In order to do this, you need to be willing to BE with yourself, to turn your attention inward. This is about being with yourself AS YOU ARE and being with what is appearing in you AS IT IS.
If you notice yourself doing this, first of all forgive yourself. Most of our conditioning tells us to resist and blame, and it takes practice to become aware of that tendency and decline to follow it.
If you do notice resistance – either toward another person, to yourself, or to the energy you are experiencing – then let THAT energy be here too. Do the same thing as outlined above.
Whatever energy you're aware of, continue to follow the steps above, allowing it to be here as it is. You'll find that often there are layers to this process of bringing awareness to what is within and allowing it to unwind on its own and in its own time.
No matter what arises, allow and encourage it to come forth, but without trying to MAKE it come forth. Your job is to simply be in allowance of what shows up within you by itself.
Your mind will want to go into the past or future. When you notice then, don't berate yourself. Just come back to the energy of tightness or constriction you feel in your body right NOW.
Once you’ve consciously allowed your emotional pain to be here as it is, you've opened the door to healing. Keep at it. Stay with it. Practice this regularly.
Remember to keep allowing the energy of the emotional pain to be exactly as it is. Let go of trying to change it in any way.
When the unconditional love of acceptance and emotional pain come together, simultaneously occupying the same space at the same time, there is an amazing alchemy of healing. I’ve seen some amazing miracles happen from this simple process, both in my life and in others' as well. :-)
Bring patience, sensitivity and kindness to this part of yourself.
Let go of any agenda about healing, fixing or changing this energy. Remember, the hurt child (emotional pain) will only hear that as "I'm not okay as I am." It is actually that energy that is at the root of the emotional pain to begin with.It is quite a paradox, but by totally allowing it to be as it is, then and only then does it feel safe enough to let go.
If you would like help in bringing your emotional pain into awareness for healing, I invite you to a WellBeing Alignment Session. During your session, the places of constriction that are most ready to heal are brought to the surface.
Together we will bring awareness, light and love to the emotional pain within you, giving it the loving attention it needs to unwind on its own, when it is ready to.
I will also share with you ways to continue your healing.