“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved, but hope for the patience to win my freedom.”
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian Poet/Saint
“The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost
Ever wondered if there is anything you can do to grow out of the psychological conditions labelled ‘addict’ and ‘trauma survivor’? Well, there are. Eventhough each carry the burden of feeling trapped in a world of unending pain and suffering, each also hold the potential for relief and transformational change. The question is how ready and how willing are you to do what you can do for yourself, right now, to move out from where you are and into a new condition of mind and body? It’s a big question. And for some one that rouses a genuine fear of the unknown.
What would happen if you stepped out of the warm emotional nest of an old identity, one you’ve been tending for a very long time, even if it’s been a painful one, and into an identity you’ve never experienced before? What would happen to the comfort of the familiar pain? Where would it go? More importantly, how would you feel without it? Exposed? Frightened? Relieved? How would you identify yourself when the words ‘addict’ or ‘trauma survivor’ no longer apply? Then what? Who would you be then?
The good news is the movement out of a comfortable emotional nest of an old identity and into a new one is a natural process. It can be a process that unfolds at a pace that is comfortable for you, where you can do what you need to do to take care of yourself, in the now, while you grow steadily into a new you.
What would this process look like?
- Creating safety and preventing relaspe, and getting clean time under your belt. This lays the foundation for the emotional work you may know you need to do.
- Learning to regulate your emotional experience in order to be in control of it once again. This will help you to feel safe through the healing process, and to prepare yourself for future emotional work.
- Creating a container for your felt experience through your body to learn to be in the present moment as it is, unfettered by wishful thinking about the past or future. The present moment is your point of power for healing and forward movement.
- Enlisting the support of compassionate others who are both walking the same path as you, and who have walked this path before and know the way through.
Together, this approach will meet you where you’re at to enhance your power to change by working with, and not against, your natural healing instincts. It will help you to grow into the person you already know you are deep inside. Stay tuned for details about an innovative new program being designed to support you through this life enhancing process.
We are designed to separate things into dualities: this and that, black and white, up and down, good and bad, pain and pleasure, etc. This is the dualistic mind’s way of seeing. It sees in opposites as it gazes within to the interior relm, and as it gazes outward to the physical world around us. This is the perceptual place from which most of us are coming, with the exception of our fully realized friends around the globe who have evolved to a place outside of duality, where they can see the harmony and perfection in all things, all the time. Duality is also a place from which we can live our lives unaware of our conditioned responses to the world within and the world without. And as a result, we suffer, and endure what feels like endless psychological pain.
How does this translate into the ‘real world’? Well, take drinking for example: What if you’ve been conditioned to want a drink whenever you feel stressed? And what if there was a moment when you’re desiring the drink when you could allow the desire for the drink to be okay? To see desire for what it is . . . just another desire . . . and to feel desire in the body . . . to name what it feels like in the body . . . and then within the privacy of your own mind, lean back from desire and simply be there with the perception of it, without taking any action (yet). What would happen then? Well, it would give you the ability to . . . pause . . . to consider the ways in which you could respond to desire, before you actually did anything about it. Rather than being pulled back into a tour of duty with the addictive behaviour.
How can you let desire for something be okay? You do it by learning to hear the Witness.
In Steven Cope’s masterful work ‘Yoga and the Quest for the True Self’ he talks about how the Yogis discovered that if we can work with our awareness in a way where we acknowledge sensations as they arise in the body, experience these sensations fully, and perhaps most importantly, bear them, we can find freedom and no longer be bound to the world of duality. We would no longer have to feel compelled to react to sensations as they arise. In bearing them, we let them be. In letting them be, we can see them for what they are. In Yogic practice this is called the Witness conciousness. It holds the power to free us from our own conditioned responses and to the play of opposites in the world of duality. In learning to work skillfully with the Witness, psychological healing can flower. This is awareness in action.