Two things to do when it feels like it will never end

Sometimes, physical or emotion pain can feel overwhelming and as if it will never end. Here are two things I have found helpful in those situations.

Is it true? I can ask myself, it will never end, is it true? And then stay with it for a while to see what comes up. This opens the mind to the possibility that it may not be true. Everything is transient. Nothing lasts. It invites the mind to open to that reality.

A possible drawback to this is that the mind then tends to go to the future, expecting and waiting for relief, and that makes it difficult to find peace with what’s here. The struggle with it continues in a subtle way continuing the suffering.

I can also ask myself it’s overwhelming, is it true? And find that that too may not be entirely true.

Let it be true. Let it be true that it will never end. What happens if this is true? If there is nothing I can do about it? If my only choice is to find a way to live with it? How would I want to relate to it?

The second set of questions invites something in me to settle around it. The struggle settles. This is a more radical, and ultimately more freeing, approach.

I typically use one or the other of these approaches and spend time with it.

This sense of overwhelm can happen any time wounds or trauma are triggered in us. And it can also happen during a purging process following an opening or awakening, as it did for me.

The overwhelm is created by (a) sensations (b) lending imagination about a scary future or present (c) a sense of solidity and reality, which means it can be investigated further in inquiry.

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