A number of times I've chosen to experiment with pain, from moderate to extreme, to see where it could take me. At times the only other option is rather bleak - suffering like a helpless, wounded animal. So instead of tensing up to bear it (the freeze part of the fight/flight/freeze reaction), I immediately opted to try a practical experiment that surely countless others also tried throughout the ages: consciously opening up, surrendering to & deeply exploring pain (or other harrowing existential crises)!
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl, "Man’s Search for Meaning"“The best way out is always through” Robert Frost
And social workers' advice to "lean into" difficulties.
This choice to bravely explore the mystery of hardships we're usually desperate to avoid happens to be remarkably effective in shifting us out of our default self-centered, materialistic / survivalist mindset, & into an infinitely wiser, altruistic, transpersonal, spacious, timeless, joyous one. Because of this profoundly important shift, intentional surrender to hardships (self-imposed and uncontrolled) has become a formal practice in all wisdom traditions.
Psychologically-healthy, mature participants in spiritual practices such as meditation, are typically advised to 'surrender:'
"... surrender is probably the most important piece of advice ... it is when you’re resisting what’s happening that you get anxious & frightened, because what might be happening is your ego may be just melting. Your sense of self may be dying. And if you fight that & try to hold on for dear life to your sense of self, that fight is going to create a lot of anxiety.
And this is that experience of ego dissolution — the idea that you lose your sense of yourself as an individuated person and become merged with something larger. People do have the sense of merging into the universe, or with divinity, or with other people — and that’s an ecstatic experience. It’s so rare. We’re so isolated in these skins of ours. And to let that go & become part of something larger is — I mean, that’s the essence of the mystical experience that William James talks about. ... it just felt so right and so beautiful." Michael Pollan: https://onbeing.org/programs/michael-pollan-and-katherine-may-the-future-of-hope-4/
But our usual mindset CANNOT conceive of anything beyond self-preservation, which of course includes remaining comfortable & maintaining the status quo, even when the status quo is miserable & unsustainable! Those with unresolved, untreated major trauma are not usually ready to dissolve their ego - although awakening experiences, as mentioned previously (http://www.johnlovas.com/2021/03/fascinating-overlap.html) can also be induced by entheogens under well-controlled medical supervision - the fastest, most radical pathway to awakening. When in doubt, it's best to consult a mental health professional who is also knowledgeable about advanced meditation practices.
“It’s better to feel pain,
than never feel at all.
The opposite of love’s
“... accept that pain & grief are emotions that are as important as joy & love." Sabine Mehne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-IBPltVcL0
By now, most people will have shut down, yelled 'crazy' & run away! Their ego is cradled in the illusion of control - even if their idea of control is resolute hopelessness!
To grow up, we MUST release, drop, let go of ALL our stories of who / what we imagine ourselves to be - they're WRONG & WAY, WAY TOO SMALL, LIMITED. Skillful meditation practice allows us to get beyond (transcend) our 'small self' - when we're ready.
Be brave enough to GO DEEP into physical / emotional / spiritual pain, no matter how severe it may be, and savor it like you would a glass of mind-blowingly complex wine, really open your entire self up to it completely, with no judgment of any kind, drop all that you ever thought you were, NOW BE EVERYTHING - THE OCEAN WELCOMING BACK this TINY RAIN DROP of PAIN with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
WHEN once again, ALL YOU FEEL is EVERYTHING - WHOLENESS, PEACE, SILENCE, STILLNESS, TIMELESSNESS, NEVER FORGET THAT THERE NEVER really WAS, NEVER IS, and NEVER WILL BE ANYTHING other than THIS EVERYTHING.
Though in ordinary life, you may often feel like nothing special, YOU ARE EVERYTHING whenever you remember to LOVE & NURTURE UNCONDITIONALLY.
“Love says 'I am everything.'
Wisdom says 'I am nothing.'
Between the two, my life flows.”
|Let Go ... by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com|