Healing and the limits of what happens inside of thoughts

When it comes to healing of emotional issues, it’s limited what can happen inside of the person’s thoughts. There is a limit to what can happen through thinking and talking. 

Of course, through thinking and talking, some limited resoling and healing can happen. It can be good to think or talk about something and put words on it. It can be good to have someone listening to it, whether that’s ourselves or someone else, especially when the listening is kind, insightful, and helps us find our own insights and resolutions. 

In the best case, it can help us gain some perspective and resolution. In the worst case, our painful (and trauma-creating) stories can be reinforced by ourselves or the other person. And by entering into something too quickly or in an unskillful way, we can also retraumatize ourselves. 

And although emotional issues may be largely created by us believing our own thoughts about something that happened, the emotional issues themselves go far beyond out thoughts. They sit in our whole system. 

So for a more thorough and real healing and resolution, we often need something outside of thought. As mention above, the main healing factor may be listening with presence, patience, respect, kindness, and invitation for us to find our own insights and resolution. 

Among the many outside-of-thought approaches to healing out there, I am only familiar with a few so those are the ones I write about here. They are just examples, and I don’t mean to say you have to do any of these. The ones available to you, and the ones that work for you are the ones best for you. 

So here is a list of examples I happen to be familiar with: 

Release tension related to and created by the issue out of the body through therapeutic tremoring (TRE). 

Reorient in how I relate to the emotional issue and to the triggering situation through heart-centered practices. (Ho’o, tonglen, all-inclusive gratitude practices.) 

Examine the stressful and issue-creating thoughts, and find what’s more true for me (The Work). 

Examine how the mind creates its own experience, and specifically the issue, through combining sensations and thoughts. Peak behind the curtain. Shine sunlight on the troll. (Living Inquiries.) 

Use energy healing to release the issue, including through releasing conditioning at all levels and invite in new insights. (Vortex Healing.) 

In addition, there are the time-honored ways of healing through touch, movement, loving social interactions, and time in nature. 


Initial notes….

  • Healing and the limits of what happens inside of thoughts
    • emotional healing 
    • some preliminary healing can happen inside of thought
      • thinking about, talking about, sharing, giving it words 
      • best case: gain some perspective, can meet with kindness and understanding, get a sense it’s normal etc. 
        • if don’t go too much into the stories, and listened to with love, kindness, understanding 
          but the benefit/healing is typically very limited 
      • worst case: reinforce painful beliefs + retrigger trauma
        • and can be exactly what we don’t need if we just rehearse stressful stories (or if the one we talk with reinforce the painful stories), or if retrigger trauma 
    • need what’s outside of words for real healing
      • release related tension etc. out of the body 
      • examine the thoughts, find what’s more true for us 
      • examine how the mind creates its own experience through combining sensations + thoughts etc. (peek behind the curtain) 
      • energy healing, release conditioning, find new insights etc. 
      • touch, time in nature etc. (heal the creature through the larger social + ecological whole)
    • ….


That’s why we often need something that’s outside of thought. There are a wide range of approaches, and the simple patient, kind, and respectful presence of ourselves or someone else is an important factor in any case. 


Among the many specific outside-of-thought approaches out there, I am only familiar with a few and those are the ones I tend to mention here.

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