We all have moments and periods in our lives when we feel stuck. When life is not quite flowing the way we want it to be, we need to pause and look within. Once we direct our awareness inward, we will likely find outmoded ways of being that we are holding onto that no longer serve our greatest good.
Most of us hold onto the past, stuff it away in the recess of our psyche and hope it will go away. But it doesn’t. What was tucked away slowly grows like compounded interest on debt, until its weight grinds our life to a halt. We then have no choice but to be present for the reality of our lives and open to meet the skeletons in our closet.
When we face the unpleasant aspects of our lives, we often need to embrace the ways we have experienced emotional pain. There are many ways we can experience pain and many ways we can address it. Ideally, we learn to meet pain courageously, with openness, wisdom and compassion. Rather than running from it or trying to hide from it, we learn to give space to that which we feel. In doing so, we meet that which is, without resistance. With this intention, we eventually experience lasting release of whatever may be the source of our pain.
The universe is constantly evolving and so are we. Spiritual teachings show us that we are vast beyond the limited grasp of our sense perceptions and ego. As we allow ourselves to become fully present, we begin to let go and expand. The colours of life change. We notice that what we used to call “real” and “mine” is just an energy knot fueled by wanting. Wanting is an illusion that says what we need is outside and beyond us. For most people, wanting is born from a primal fear that we will not get the love we need because we perceive ourselves to be disconnected from love.
Mystics throughout the ages tell us that in the highest reality, we are the embodiment of pure, unconditional love. There is no separation from the profound, eternal fulfillment we seek, and that which is available to us here and now. Yet we erroneously believe that what we think we want is outside ourselves. So we cultivate sorry stories about ourselves that perpetuate an experience of disconnection, of suffering by seeking approval, wanting to possess, attempting to gain while feeling lack. All the while, beyond the grasp of this false self-perception, we are the healing, the love, the approval, the acceptance we have been seeking all along.
Suffering comes when we are in resistance to what is. When we are attached to this moment being other than it is, we experience constriction and disconnection in an attempt to control the moment. We feel dissatisfaction, which births mild irritation to full-out rage. As a result, we experience emotional pain.
When we 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 ourselves and others, such as outbursts or an attempt to medicate pain through addictions, be it food, substances or even self-defeating thoughts.
Developing the ability to not resist what is is a powerful way to get unstuck. When we resist, we add energy to whatever we are resisting. We become like the car in a ditch, spinning our wheels only to find ourselves sinking deeper.
As we practice witnessing, a space begins to arise through and beyond our tendency to want to resist and control what is. In this new space, possibility is born and our true nature flowers.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS). More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.