Ways of relating to emotional pain

Some ways of relating to emotional pain, each of which I am familiar with from own experience.

I can recoil from it, react to it, try to change it.

I can ask for deliverance, resolution, guidance, clarity.

I can use a range of different techniques, including ho’oponopono, tonglen (towards myself), and TRE.

I can dialog with the emotional pain – with the pain itself, with the part of me experiencing the pain – and see what it has to share, how it would like me to relate to it, and so on.

I can breathe, feel, and turn it over (to the divine, Christ etc.)

I can identify and question (a) my thoughts about it, and (b) the thoughts behind it, triggering it

(a) It’s emotional pain. It’s an old wound. It’s overwhelming. It’s too much. It’s easier to distract myself from it. It’s kinder (to me, others) to avoid it.

(b) She didn’t want a relationship with me. She chose someone else. I missed out of a wonderful opportunity. My life would have been better with her.

I can be with the emotional pain, stay with it, open my heart to it, befriend it, meet it as a child, a friend or a lover. Allow it to have it’s life.

I can notice that any struggle is happening among my own images, within my own world of images. This tends to come out of inquiry, for instance The Work or exploring sense fields.

There can be a recognition that it’s all happening within awakeness, as the play of awakeness.

The first approach – avoiding, reacting to – tends to keep the dynamics going. (And there is nothing wrong with this, it’s worried love and innocence.) Some of the mid-range approaches rest on an assumption that (a) there is emotional pain, (b) it’s happening to a me or I, and possibly (c) that something needs to change. Different forms of inquiry may be used to question those assumptions. And that may lead to a direct recognition that it’s all happening as awakeness, and as the play of awakeness.

……..
……..
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– recoil from, react to, try to change it
– ask for deliverance, resolution, guidance, clarity
– identify and question (a) my thoughts about it, (b) thoughts behind it, triggering it
– be with, stay with, open my heart to
– notice any struggle is happening within my world of images
– notice it’s all happening within awakeness, as the play of awakeness

 

………..

I am reminded of several ways of relating to emotional pain.

One is to manage it, deal with it in different ways. I may distract myself from it, talk about it with a friend, react to it, recoil from it, engage in different strategies to change it, pray for deliverance. This is what happens as long as the label of emotional pain (or something similar), the image of a me or I it’s happening to, and stories about what it means, are taken as real and true, reflecting an objective reality.

Another is to question my thoughts about it: It’s emotional pain. It means something terrible has happened. It means something terrible will happen. It’s too much. It’s overwhelming. It’s easier to distract myself from it. I need it to change. Another experience is better.

And if I question these labels by being very still, as meditation, they may reveal themselves as something quite different from how they initially appeared. There may be a recognition that any struggle happens within my own world of images. There may even be a recognition that all of it – what the labels are anchored on (sensations, sights, etc.), the labels themselves – is happening as awakeness, and the play of awakeness.

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