That suffering is both real and an illusion.
It’s real in that it hurts. So much so that it can make you take action that seems out of character or propel you to do things you normally wouldn’t, out of desperation.
But the illusion is that it’s not as concrete as it appears.
It can usually be shifted, anywhere, anytime. Suffering is an unnecessary by-product.
And the simple solution?
Many people ask me what that means…
I guess it’s too simple. The problem with simple... is exactly that. We over-think it, come up with strange meanings, over-complexify, deny… and all sorts of other sabotaging strategies.
But to clarify, it’s not to become complacent to the pain – it’s to reintegrate with that which you are actively avoiding. This requires honesty.
It requires going down to an ‘inherent’ weakness (or wounding) within that you’ve been actively trying to avoid. That even you don’t want to have in your immediate reality.
The reason why you feel ongoing pain or discomfort is because it’s a counter to this ‘inherent’ wounding. Rarely because of the wounding itself.
Protection occurs through compensation, whether on the physical or emotionally. If you actively kept the wounding open, it would seem too much to bear – so you protect yourself. And it’s in those defences that hinder healing and resolution.
Physical Pain example
The physical body acts as one whole unit. And its always trying to keep things in balance. Either through the nervous system, fascia or other mechanisms such as the endocrine (hormonal) or immune system – it uses these pathways as a way to keep itself protected or safe.
Whether it be an injury from external impact, intense emotion or some other internal/external aspect that throws it off-balance, the body will try it’s best to maintain an equilibrium. However, this can mean it creates the equilibrium around the wounding/weakness, rather than healing the wounding/weakness itself.
For example, I recently hurt my foot dancing during African drum & dance camp. I did a jump, landed funny – and because of the intensity of things I had to learn at the camp and an upcoming performance, didn’t give the foot a chance or space to heal.
As I continued to dance on it, my body instinctively tried to dance ‘off’ the weakness in the foot. Leading to the knee being twisted at a funny angle – and because stress is applied in sub-optimum positioning for shock absorption – pain started to occur in my knee.
But the show must go on. And I also pulled my hip in the lead up, but managed to give it enough presence and attention to unravel before the performance.
It took a good week to unravel the pattern I had created (plus giving it a rest). The pain kept showing up in the knee (as well as the hip), but that wasn’t the inherent weak spot. It was a compensation for the original weakness in the foot.
Ultimately, to unravel the whole pattern, I needed to work with the knee to get to the foot. And allow that pain in the foot to be given the chance for expression, so that the other parts of the body didn’t need to protect it any longer.
Emotional Pain example
Likewise, we undertake the same compensatory mechanisms with our emotions.
For whatever reason that we deny our real feelings in a situation – whether it be societal conditioning OR the wounding is too unbearable OR self-imposed denial (too weak/mean/wrong) – the truth is that a part of us feels that way. It doesn't matter if it's rational or irrational - emotions aren't like that.
And yet, we don’t want to feel it – so we layer other emotions on top. Usually the ongoingly painful emotion is more comfortable to feel than the core emotion… no matter how unbearable that ongoing pain is.
Another alternative is racing thoughts that never resolve in clarity or peace of mind. This in itself creates its own form of pain (never feeling relief). Usually this is another compensatory mechanism to avoid the underlying emotion. I won’t go into the physical sensations that could occur as well.
It's perceived, deep down, as more bearable to feel these other types of pain or discomfort than allowing the original emotion to exist (as an expression or felt within us).
For example, in the past, my husband used to get really short about things, leading to large arguments where he would get almost rage-ful, the more logical and calm I tried to be. Eventually, I would clam up which would end the argument, but also end in me crying about it for ~3 days afterwards. The crying would never be cathartic or releasing, but ongoing, like a broken record inside of me.
After some personal development work and completing my own Pattern, I finally could see what my true feelings were – anger in response to his short and often irrational temper.
It became apparent the mixture of emotions that layered on top in order to avoid ever expressing anger (because I would be a bad, irrational person – kind of like how I saw him, I guess. Hehe!). There was fear which would exhibit as me trying to avoid things that would make him angry, and shame & numbness through defending myself calmly during the argument, of course ending in passive-resistant ‘silent treatment’ through to irresolvable sadness/grief through crying.
The clue is that crying is a naturally linked expression of sadness/grief – and yet that action did nothing to resolve it!
One day, through spontaneous behaviour after my Patterning work, I slammed down the dishes while washing up & told him to 'Back off!' when he got in my face about something. He looked at me and said calmly, ‘Why are you acting like a crazy person?’ and walked off. I felt this instant feeling of release, laughed quietly and continued washing the dishes. I had expressed the real emotion in the moment – I couldn’t believe how simple it was or the freedom it gave me through not having the urge to cry or feel victimised for 3 days.
The Counter-Intuitive Strategy
Realise your ability. Realise your ability to resolve your pain and discomfort by allowing yourself to go into the core – the very core of it.
In your instinct to remove yourself from the ‘weakness/wound’ and avoid the vulnerability it imposes, all your compensatory responses start to occur. It happens both physically and in our psyche.
To protect yourself from it is the instinctive counter-strategy. But this is the very thing that holds the structure in place, with the outcome being some form of ongoing pain.
Healing can’t occur while you protect yourself. When your defences are up.
So, the counter-intuitive strategy is to become one with it.
Through this, you stop protecting yourself from it, as if it’s a separate entity to avoid at all cost. This can be hard at first… because your instinct wants to protect yourself. But it’s in this vulnerable space that healing occurs, innate order has an opportunity to re-establish.
You can’t transform an illusion – and that’s what the compensation is, a reaction to an illusion as if it exists. But it’s more like a hologram. A projection.
You can’t touch a hologram. You can only affect the hologram from the equipment that holds it in place… from the real source.
And that’s where you need to go. The source of the illusion – the wound/weakness at the core. It’s not comfortable at first, but it’s effective.