We can change our relationship to uncomfortable experiences, or we can see it for what it is.
Changing our relationship to it. From seeing an uncomfortable experience as an enemy, a problem, something to be fixed, changed, or avoided, we can instead meet it, find peace with it, even befriend it. That in itself makes a big difference. It may still be there – whether it’s physical or emotional pain, a bodily contraction, an emotion, a story – but we experience it differently. Our relationship to it, and how we experience it, is different and more friendly. We are more kind towards it, so experience it in a more kind way.
By befriending it, our relationship to it is changed, but we may still see take it – the emotion, story, discomfort – as meaning something that’s real, solid, and true. So that is something to examine.
Seeing it for what it is. How does my mind create its experience of whatever seems scary, threatening, a problem, and real and solid? What imaginations (mental images and words) and sensations make up this experience? What happens when I isolate out and examine each of these components? What may happen is that I see – and get at a more visceral level – that my mind creates this experience for itself, and it’s not real and solid in itself. And sometimes, the charge may lessen or go out of it, although that’s not even necessary for this shift to happen.
These two support each other, and they are also aspects of the same.
Mutuality. Changing my relationship to it may make it easier for me to see it for what it is. It calms my mind down enough so I can meet it and investigate it more closely. And investigating it and seeing it more for what it is inevitably changes my relationship to it. When I recognize – again at a more visceral level – that it’s not as solid and real as it appeared, I naturally relate to it in a more relaxed and kind way.
Aspects of the same. When I change my relationship to something in my experience that appears as an enemy, there is also a change in how I perceive it. My beliefs about it changes as do my identifications. There is some shift there. And, as mentioned earlier, when I see how my mind creates its experience of something, my relationship to it changes with it.
How do I do it? How do I change my relationship to something in my experience that appears as an enemy? For me, ho’oponopono, tonglen, all-inclusive gratitude practices, Breema, TRE, inquiry and more helps me change my relationship to it. And how do I see it more for what it is? For me, inquiry – whether it’s The Work, Living Inquiries or something else – has been most helpful. It really helps to have some structure and guidance – from a structure and ideally an experienced facilitator – in exploring this. (And that facilitator can – with time, guidance, and experience – be yourself.)
Healing and awakening. These explorations support healing and awakening. How do they help us heal as human being? When we struggle with or own experience, it tends to keep wounding, trauma, and discomfort in place. And when we befriend it more, it tends to heal. And how do they support awakening? They help the mind see how it creates its own experience of separation. In this case, separation between an apparent self and an apparent enemy, problem, or discomfort. The experience of both is created by the mind, as is the apparent separation between the two, and the pull of attention into these stories and away from what we really are – which is that which all experience happens within and as. (Aka presence, awareness, consciousness, awakeness, and the emptiness all of that happens within and as.)
In practice. How can it look in practice? (a) Something is uncomfortable to my mind, and I notice something in me wants it to go away or escape from it. From here I can (b) either explore changing my relationship to it (as described above) or explore how my mind creates its experience of it (inquiry). Often, I do both. I may explore ways of changing my relationship to it within an inquiry session, or do them in separate sessions.