If you woke up with a little heartache this morning over something or someone, don’t worry we’ve got this.
Our pain actually has a purpose. On the physical level when we break a bone or strain a muscle, we experience pain. It is body’s way to draw our attention to the part that needs to be healed. Otherwise we wouldn’t know. The same applies to emotional pain. We could say that it is our spirit’s way to draw attention to unhealthy patterns that we are running.
As soon as we find ourselves in some sort of emotional turbulence, we tend to look for the cause on the outside. We point fingers, we blame, our mind focuses narrowly on the subject or on the object that presumably is responsible for the way we feel. This approach is not serving us, instead it is creating even more havoc.
I came across a rather liberating concept when reading the Tao many years ago that changed my perception. The emotional pain is showing us where we hold an unhealthy attachment to someone or something. It is pointing us in the direction of that very thing that we need to let go of in a sense of being OK in the presence of it and in the absence of it.
We can have preferences, such as ‘I would rather be with this person than not’, ‘I would rather live in this city than in that city’, ‘I would rather have this much money than this little money’, etc. However, as soon as a preference becomes an attachment we are bound to suffer. Even some of the language that is commonly used shows how strong the attachments are, i.e. ‘I would die if s/he leaves me’, ‘I’d rather die than live in the countryside’, ‘I’ll kill myself if I don’t get this job’, ‘I can only be happy if x, y, z’. Of course, we don’t mean it literally but using this language just reaffirms again and again the attachments we have.
By sticking to our attachments, we are not only causing our own suffering, but we also significantly limit our possibilities. How many times did you think that you rehearsed every possible outcome, yet life presented you with a big surprise? Being free of attachments means being free of pain whilst opening ourselves to the unknown – to the infinite possibilities.
What’s causing you pain?
Is it your intimate relationship or the absence of it?
Is it your financial situation?
Is it your career or the absence of it?
Is it the particular outcome of any situation?
The true painkiller is the acceptance of what is. It is the realisation that whatever situation we are in is perfect, it is the way it should be. When we surrender to the unknown and suddenly become OK with what is and what might be, the things start shifting. We remove the resistance that otherwise would have kept us stuck.
Where to begin?
All roads lead to gratitude. However horrible the situation that you find yourself in is, start looking for the things to appreciate. Drop the expectations and make ‘thank you’ into a daily prayer. The pain will ease immediately as gratitude is such an antidote to any negative emotion. I promise you, in time when the resistance dissipates the things in your life will start shifting too. You will stand there in awe of that what is unfolding with no grasping or pushing and pulling in all directions on your part.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl