We all have days, moments or periods of our lives when we experience emotional pain. There are many ways we can experience pain, and many ways we can address it. From a yogic perspective, we learn to meet pain courageously, with openness, wisdom and compassion. Rather than running from it or trying to hide from it, you learn to give space to what you are feeling. In doing this, you allow yurself to meet and witness that which is, without resistance. With this intention, you eventually experience lasting release of whatever may be the source of your pain.
When you feel emotional pain, it is important to learn to be present for it. Pushing pain away leads to emotional blockages such as resentment, rage, despair and depression. It can lead to painful behaviour that hurts your self and others, such as outbursts, or an attempt to self-medicate through addictions, whether to substances, habitual behaviours or self-defeating thoughts.
The sincere spiritual seeker practices witness consciousness, to be present with what is. Being present is a balance between focused attention on what is directly happening now, and broad awareness that this moment is part of a vast, intelligent unfolding of which we are an integral part. Our universe is ever changing, evolving, so what you perceive now is also changing and evolving.
Like an eddy of water that swirls around and around, caught in its own rhythm and disconnect from the rich flowing river around it, our psyche and perceptions can be like a repeated swirl of painful thoughts and we become unaware of the magnificence within and around us. Emotional pain is an energy swirl caught in an eddy, within the owing river of life. Eventually the pain will release and the energy held there will find its way back to the river.
As pain begins to release, there may be tears, sweat, movement or vocalizing. These can be part of the return to the river, when they arise from a sense of inner spaciousness, without forcing, without wanting. As energy stuck in pain begins to release, you feel more expansive, energized and vital. This moment seems richer, more possible. The energy once caught in painful, sorry story eddies now flows back to the river of “I am”. And throughout this day, you can continue to breathe and witness this moment. So it is. So it is. One moment gives birth to the next, each moment unfolding perfectly. Your individual awareness opens to infinite consciousness, and you meet that which is, without resistance. Then you awaken to the reality that you have been one with the river all along.
Sit quietly. Take several deep breaths. Allow your awareness to move inward, perhaps down from your head, into your heart and down to your belly. See how you feel.
Perhaps you find that you feel relaxed, satisfied, fulfilled. Perhaps you feel anxious, angry or sad. Whatever you find, allow it to be, without judging. Just witness what is. In witnessing, there is no narration of likes and dislikes. A vast space naturally arises beyond the habitual tendency to constrict and try to control what is. In this space, possibility is born and your true nature arises.
As you continue to practice, your awareness deepens. Painful parts of the psyche often begin to emerge through this process. If pain arises, notice how it feels. Does it feel hot? Does it feel cold? Does it seem to have textures, edges? Does it feel loose or constrictive? Where do you feel it in your body? Is it in your gut? Is it in your chest or your head? Where are you holding? What are you holding on to? Watch what begins to arise, without trying to change or fix it. Allow it to be as it is. Allow the intelligence of Nature to move within it. Let the feelings and sensations have room to breathe. As you practice this witnessing, physical, emotional and psychological pain will naturally begin to move, unfold and eventually release.
Known as the Positive Possibilities Lady, Parvati inspires magnificence through music, yoga, words and activism. An award-winning musician, Parvati brings joy and hope to top 40 radio with her celestial pop songs “I Am Light”, “Yoga in the Nightclub”, and “Shanti Om”. Founder of “YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine” and author of “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie: A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker”, Parvati has been featured on radio and television talk shows and news and wellness magazines globally. She is the founder of Parvati, a not-for profit dedicated to realizing MAPS: The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary to help stop global warming. More about MAPS, free YEM videos, self-help articles, her music and more at parvati.tv and parvati.org.