Challenging times can fundamentally change us; in fact, that is what they are meant to do. The only time they do not is when we resist what is happening and fail to remain present. They support the transcendence of our current identity and open us up to new possibilities, but only if we let them.
We will suffer to the extent that we resist what is happening. However, when we see these circumstances for what they are instead of what our thoughts tell us about them, we will gain a new perspective. With this new perspective, our suffering will be diminished, end much sooner, and for some, stop instantly with this awareness.
You do not want to end up being the same person you thought you were before these events took place. Otherwise, you will become more anchored into your conditioned self, leading to more pain.
Know this truth; peace is never found by those who try to avoid life’s difficult times. Without this recognition, you will only see your troubles as unfavorable. And while there may be truth in your troubles, your experience of that truth does not have to be dictated by your thoughts about it. You can rise above them, which means everyone can, not just others who do not have YOUR problems.
Therefore, do not miss any opportunity that a challenging time might bring to you. And yes, it may be hard at first. You may even think it is impossible because you get caught in your pain and fear of the experience. In these times, we do not want to look or forget to look for the positive. We get lost in our endless thoughts, which tell us a story about our suffering, perhaps even how justified we are to remain in it.
We can feel like there is no way out, and we will always feel the way we do now. If you are alive, I presume you have already felt this way, perhaps more than once; I know I have. So based on your past experiences, is it true that you will always feel this way, or there is no way out?
Are you feeling that way right now? And if you are, have you looked for something other than suffering from your experience? Pain can ease with time, but it will rise again unless you find a way to be present with it. Therefore, do not let your fear or thoughts get in the way of you looking for something other than pain. Perhaps you will find something positive, even life-changing, from your challenging experiences, but you will never know if you do not look.
Healing takes many forms, and we have already consciously experienced this many times in our lives. And I can say with great certainty that everyone has or will heal on every level of life; however, you will not always be conscious of every healing experience. Most of you have already forgotten many more than you will remember. Many will agree that the experiences that leave the deepest impressions seem to be the ones that hurt the most.
There are various ways of healing, for example, the quick fix. We want something that will take away our pain quickly and easily. The perceived miracle, in truth, all healing is a miracle. Life itself is a miracle. Then there is the long-haul, which is that injury or illness that will not or does not seem to want to go away. The long haul has much to teach us if we are willing to listen.
We usually think of the more common types of healing, like physical or emotional, perhaps even mental. However, we could include spiritual healing, which has to do with the spirit or the soul, and holistic healing, which includes the body, mind, and spirit.
Now it can be easy to get confused or distracted on the healing path. What helps pave the way is slowing down, patience, and persistence for the more complex and challenging. Of course, many factors are unique to the one having the experience. Staying in the present moment, awake and aware, helps keep us from getting confused or distracted. However, if this happens, remember that’s okay. Once you wake up to it, move forward without criticizing yourself. It is common to falter in this way or fall into our emotions when dealing with something traumatic. There is power and healing by feeling our emotions fully.
Often, we give up, ignore, or resist what is genuinely happening out of a combination of fear, frustration, and anger. Of course, we can have many different feelings during this time, particularly when faced with a long-haul healing experience. Not viewing the reality of our current situation only leads to suffering and the inability to see a path forward.
Healing does not always happen in the way we want or expect. When this occurs, it does not mean that our healing is any less impactful. In fact, it is precisely what needs to happen, or it would not be happening. Therefore, it is essential to remain open to your experience even when things do not seem to go your way. Why? Because if we pay attention and remain open, we can find opportunities in the problems we face. I know that sometimes it does not feel that way, but I have seen it repeatedly.
It feels this way because you are stuck in resistance. Therefore, look for fear, frustration, or anger. Use your awareness to take an honest inventory of what you are feeling and thinking. What is your state, and where are your thoughts focused? Growth, healing, and change will present themselves in these situations. And grace is always present when we are in the moment with what is.
I have found that significant transformation comes during the most challenging times in our life. Verify this for yourself by looking back at your own life. Can you remember a difficult time, that after weathering the storm, you came out the other side better for it? Did you learn something about yourself, life, or others? Did you heal in some unexpected way?
So, it is those situations that we find uncomfortable or do not like that can offer us something life-changing if we are paying attention. Remaining open to possibility gives us the best chance for achieving our desired outcome. Without an open heart and a willingness to go through the tough stuff, we limit our possibilities, slow the healing process, and suffer more than is needed.
Long-term or long-haul challenges require an unbending intention. Many years ago, I injured my back at the age of 16 and then again more severely in my 20’s. After living in pain for years, a neurologist told me I would never get better. The doctors said I would live in pain for the rest of my life, and I would have to learn how to manage it. It was hard to hear for sure, but I would not be where I am today if I had adopted those words in my life as the truth. They set me on a path to healing and helping others heal because I did not take them as fact. That bad news ended up becoming an opportunity that changed my life for the better. Now 64, I have followed my unbending intention to heal for over 33 years. Because of this commitment, I continue to reap the rewards and have proved the doctors wrong. I cannot even begin to tell how much this journey has positively impacted every area of my life. Therefore, even if I had not become pain-free, it still would be a gift that keeps on giving in my life on every level.
Remember to have patience and take your time. I know when you are in pain, you want to be free from it now. So, we look for a quick fix, and then we move too fast. Or we fall into resistance. We try to ignore what is happening. We need to be honest with ourselves and face the truth of what is going on. We need to slow down. In these states, we stop listening to our intuition and divine guidance. We fail to do the proper research and make good choices. I understand that sometimes there are no other options, but you may miss something you need if you are moving too quickly. Be open to opportunities that may come in unexpected ways. And expect them to come! If you do not look for opportunities, how will you find them?
Remember that whatever is happening is happening, whether you like it or not. As hard as that may be to hear, feel or experience, it is the truth of your life. And when we face the truth of the moment, grace steps in and supports us. Life unfolds in new and different ways. Ways that we could not see before and we can experience joy and peace again in our life. Even when our desires are not fulfilled, we can still be happy and loving.
Many years ago, I had a severe back injury. I was diagnosed with bulges on four of my five lumbar discs. To make a long story short, after suffering for many years, I was eventually told by my doctor, a neurologist, that I would live in pain for the rest of my life. I was informed that there were no other options except to learn to live with it and manage the pain.
At the time, I could not explain what happened next except to say that I heard a voice. Yes, a voice as clear as if someone was standing next to me that said, do not listen to him, you will find something that will help you. Now I know that that was my first mystical experience.
I left the doctor’s office bewildered, not knowing what the voice was, where it came from, or what it meant, but from that moment forward, I knew I was going to get better. I did not know how, but with a strong belief and unbending intention, divine guidance, and desire to heal, I live practically pain-free, and the journey continues. I have gained so much more than freedom from pain; this healing journey has changed my life forever, and in more ways than I ever thought possible.
In December of 2018, I started having nerve pain in both elbows at the same time. The exact cause is unknown, but I believe it occurred using improper form weightlifting. And once again recently, I was told by a medical professional that the pain I have in my elbows would probably never go away. When I heard him say this, without hesitation, my first thought was, that is not the truth. This time I did not need any encouragement from that voice. Not only did I think it, but I immediately heard the words come out of my mouth, telling the practitioner I understood his thinking, but that I was choosing not to believe it and that my elbows will heal.
What I am pointing to in these stories is an essential lesson for healing and living a life that is aware and awake. Once we identify with and believe what we are told, it becomes our truth. Our life then becomes a living expression of this belief. It does not matter if a medical professional tells you that you will live in pain for the rest of your life, or someone else tells you that you are not worthy.
I am not saying that we should ignore medical advice, far from it. I am saying that we must question what we are told before we accept it as truth. A thought is no different; unsolicited thoughts appear in our minds all the time. If we identify with them without question, then we become the living expression of these thoughts. Our problems begin here and end with the manifestation of anxiety, emotional pain, worry, stress, and suffering.
At some point in your life, you have experienced someone saying something about you that was not true. It was only their perception about you, and if you believed it, it formed how you interacted with others after that point in time, or at least until you were able to rise above their comments. Sometimes when we hear these things, they have no impact all or only for a short time, and then some words or judgments can influence our lives until the day we die.
Only through the grace of awareness can we free ourselves from this self-punishment. Awareness is one of the greatest gifts in our life of personhood because it gives us the ability to observe what is taking place. The mind will always want to blame someone or something else outside of ourselves for our problems. You may have noticed this in your life but have certainly seen it at playout in someone else’s life.
Freedom comes through awareness, not by watching or blaming others, but by observing our behavior and paying attention to our thoughts. We can watch our unsolicited thoughts arise with awareness, hear the conversations that we have in our minds, and wake up to see that what the mind tells us is nonsense and usually, if not always, untrue. The mind is needed and useful. However, there is a big difference in using it and allowing it to use you.
Can you ever recall having conversations with yourself about what might happen if things did not go a certain way? Then, fear arose, and a conversation continued, maybe even a whole story was created around this thought about what was going to happen. Your fear grew, worry and anxiety came, but the story that you created never happened, and in the end, all your worry and stress was for nothing. And because of this, you missed the present moment; you lived in an imaginary future.
A single thought that you believed in misled you down a path of suffering for no real reason. This happens to everyone more than once and continues to happen to us until we notice it occurs through awareness.
Therefore, I encourage you to take the first step, and that is to notice and question just a few thoughts you have each day. Notice when you get pulled into a story about something that is not real. Notice if you find yourself thinking about what somebody said to you that made you mad or upset. Catch yourself having a conversation with your mind about something that is not important or true. Just notice, it is that simple.
Now it may start to become uncomfortable because you might be surprised how often this is occurring. Let this be another opportunity to notice how the mind operates. Notice that it has an opinion about this process and wants you to stop or tries to distract you somehow. Notice if your body is uncomfortable in some way. The uncomfortableness is a clue that you are caught again by your thoughts. Find the signals that alert you to wake up to these thoughts.
Know that this becomes easier as you break down your old habits of identifying with thoughts and building a new habit of using your awareness to catch them before they catch you. This is not about being perfect, so do not beat yourself up if you forget or get distracted by the mind. The mind can be very subtle, even tricky, in its efforts to mislead you. Respect its cunningness but remember you oversee the mind, not the other way around, even though it may feel that way as you begin to bring more awareness into your daily life.
Once you consent to a non-healing thought, which means to identify with it, you will instantly slow or stop the healing process. You will be unable to create what you desire unless you become aware of these thoughts and let them go.
The letting-go process will happen naturally through awareness of these unhelpful thoughts. If any other action is needed on your part, it will be clearly shown to you, so gently pay attention. Some examples of these thoughts might be, I cannot get better, I will never change, this is not what I want, this is just who I am, or any thought that states what you desire cannot happen.
Can you feel the resistance in the examples above? It is essential to become aware of your resistance—the resistance to the healing that you seek.
I have learned from my healing journey, and that of others in my private practice, that you must never give in to these kinds of thoughts or allow them to control your choices.
Remember, never give up on your intention to heal. Because if you do, it will most likely not happen. In those moments, for example, when feelings of disappointment, frustration, or failure show up, and they might, you must step forward in faith and continue to follow your unbending intention.
Let your pain and suffering propel you forward, instead of holding you back. The thought that pain and suffering are your only problems is a problem; with this belief, you only see them as harmful, bad, and dark, which brings resistance and avoidance. Seeing them only as harmful is a perception created by your conditioning. The wise person will recognize that these experiences can guide you toward healing as well. When you only see them from the narrow view of negativity, they naturally become an overwhelming or unwelcome issue.
If you only look at your situation through a dark and narrow lens, you will never find the path to freedom. Notice I said freedom here and not healing; that is because real healing does not always show up in the same way that the mind has shown you or the way that you desire. However, if you remain open to receiving whatever shows up, it will always lead to greater freedom. That means accepting what is without conditions and continuing to move forward using your intuition as your guide. Use your mind when you need to, but do not let it use you, because its unasked-for help will mislead you. Lead from your heart and not your head.
Do not let the thought that you will not heal or get what you want to be another reason for discouragement. Use your awareness of these kinds of thoughts as motivation to inspire you to forge ahead without hesitation, because true freedom can offer you so much more, not just healing, but in other ways that you never imagined.
If you are a white person and you believe you are not a racist, that you were not conditioned in some way by your past or you overcame your conditioning about race, then the words on this image should ring true.
Can you know what someone else or another race has experienced in their lives without having experienced it for yourself? You cannot. You can only imagine you do. You only have to look at your own life and troubles to know this is true.
You can acquire more knowledge, but knowledge does not translate to experience. However, it will increase understanding, empathy, and compassion, which is sorely needed now. Therefore, educate yourself, especially about white privilege. Do not just think you already know what this is, because too many only ignorantly think they do, and many more do not believe it exists.
We must stand up for what is right, for human decency, to look with our eyes at the truth and see. To feel in our hearts what we know to be morally wrong.
To allow any group or individuals actions such as looting and burning to sway our support for the greater good is a lapse in judgment and moral character because who is to say that you might not be next because of your skin color, beliefs, or religion. Do not think you are not vulnerable because of your white privilege.
One could say, it is always easier to social distance and maintain six feet of ignorance, than it is to risk getting up close and seeing the truth.
When the fear of feeling our emotional and physical pain becomes more significant than our intention to heal, we fall into a state of resistance and contraction. When we resist and contract we fail to release the energy of this pain entirely, and part or all of it remains in the body.
The ongoing presence of this energy in our body literally influences our lives on a daily basis through our thoughts, choices, and actions. It can also affect the physical body in a myriad of ways including illness.
It is not until it comes back into our awareness through self-inquiry or another event that brings it up into our conscious awareness that we can release it. At that time it must be felt and released, or it will remain stuck indefinitely and impacting our lives in some way.
We are often tricked by the mind to think that we have to figure things out or understand them to let go and heal. The truth is when we think this way; we are destined to hold onto our problems in hopes of finding the answer. However, what if the answer never comes; this is how we become saddled with our problems.
What I’ve learned through my work and life is that if we are meant to know something, the information will always show up. You must ask yourself what is more important, to figure it out or to let it go. Your answer should always be to let it go and then trust that if you are meant to know something useful, it will come to you with ease. Do not make the healing process more difficult by always having to know everything because sometimes you will never figure it out.
We have become so polarized by our conditioned beliefs in this country and around the world that we can no longer see our true nature, but instead, we focus only on our differences. Our misguided thinking creates hate, separation and wrecks havoc on our bodies and minds.
Operating in this confused state is like putting blinders on a horse, and our views become bound by our conditioned beliefs. We lose sight of the expansiveness of life, the beauty of diversity, and our ability to compromise is lost. We are no longer rational but solely focused on our unyielding desires.
It is no longer possible to see the Divine in others or the oneness of all things. From this place the seed of destruction in planted through our thoughts and when the light no longer pushes through the darkness we are lost.
However, hope is not lost, the light is always shining just like the sun above the clouds and you; yes you have the power to turn the course by connecting once again to your divine self. By being kind to one another, posting only uplifting and supportive things, not just, what you think is right or falls into alignment with your beliefs.
Stop perpetuating the separation and hate of your misguided thinking. Think of other’s first instead of your desires, be a human being instead of just being a human who wants what they want and thinks that their way is the only way.
Make choices from your heart for a change and let your thoughts go. When one person is in pain, we are all in pain. When we reach out with an open hand instead of a closed fist, we have the opportunity to heal. Our country only becomes great again, when everyone is elevated, not just a few and certainly not just when we get what we want.
Love is the answer, not hate. We must come together not just as a country but also in the world if we truly believe in something greater than ourselves. Otherwise, continuing to put ourselves first selfishly, will only lead to more injury in the fabric of our collective lives.
Pain and suffering do not come from letting go; they arise out of fear and our inability to be present in the moment. We are resisting what is, and trying to avoid feeling our pain. By doing this, we mistakenly think we will suffer less or not at all when in truth the opposite becomes our reality. This resistance is automatic and originates out of our conditioning. When we acknowledge and embrace our pain and suffering, and we bring our attention back to the present moment, we have the opportunity to release whatever is causing our discomfort.
We can recognize what this moment looks like because we become sick and tired of being sick and tired. At that very moment, we step back into the present moment with the truth of what we are feeling, and this is when the door to infinite possibilities opens up, and healing becomes possible. We now have a choice to step through the door or close it by falling back into resistance. Do not worry if you close the door, even more than once because the opportunity will always come up again.
Remember that as long as you stay in resistance, you will continue to experience pain and suffering. Your willingness to be present with your painful feelings needs to be greater than your fear of stepping through the door. Through the experience of this process, you can build a strong foundation of trust and faith something greater than yourself or in the realization of how the universe works energetically.
When we are willing to feel our feelings and be present in the moment with them and the truth of what is happening, life presents us the opportunity to let our pain and suffering go and experience joy again. This may occur instantly or over a period as it becomes clear that you must let the energy go. The next time you feel lost in your pain and suffering, know that the door to healing is open and waiting for you to walk through it and to the other side, where joy and peace are waiting for you.