Let's wrap up our exploration of TRUE spiritual experience V.S Trauma, shall we?
If you haven't done so yet, you can read:
Now, on to today!
True liberation is this:
My feelings are telling me a story, and I am most likely misunderstanding it. Most of us think we are 'feeling our feelings' but we are in fact telling ourselves a narrative. 'I feel fat/unworthy/inspired/excited' - These are not feelings. These are stories. FEELINGS are BODY SENSATIONS. Pain and pleasure. Light or heavy. Contraction or expansion. These two poles tell us that what we are DOING or what we are THINKING either is or isn't in alignment with truth. The mind can create a narrative to make ANYTHING seem true. That is what the mind is set up to do. Figure out how to take our desires and make them real in reality. The mind cannot determine that which is reality from that which is fantasy. Only FEELING can do that. But it is more complex than 'if it hurts it's no HAPPENING.' Rather, if it hurts, it means it is out of alignment with truth. It is working AGAIST reality.
For instance - the thought 'I have cancer' if it is TRUE should feel relatively NEUTRAL.
Where the pain comes in is 'I have cancer and that means I am going to die, I don't want to die, I am going to lose everything I have ever known and loved, it is not safe to die, cancer means I did something WRONG and that makes me BAD or it means I am a HELPLESS VICTIM and have no power or control.'
THOSE thoughts are STORIES on top of reality.
Reality = cancer.
I'm unworthy/out of control/alone - those are STORIES.
The negative feelings are showing us that our STORIES are not true.
The cancer is still there. That is a reality. What we are making it MEAN - that's where the pain is coming in.
Thus when we tell ourselves a PAINFUL story, THIS is where the negative feelings come in, and where we need to question our thoughts.
Is it really true that I have no power? That I have to hate myself? That this was my fault entirely? That I am a victim? That I am going to die and that is BAD? THIS is the real work.
The true work of questioning stories has NOTHING TO DO with denying reality. It has everything to do with questioning our INTERPRETATION of reality.
Also incredibly important to remember - some things in reality ARE painful. It's totally NATURALLY and REAL to feel fear around the unknown of death and the unknown of our potential suffering. It's totally healthy to experience pain, sadness, anger, denial and the desire to escape when we get painful news. Not ALL pain is a STORY. Sometimes we absolutely need to be loved, comforted and seen in the very REAL pain of our lives.
Spirituality shouldn't be about trying to be neutral about everything. We want to be able to PROCESS our pain - that which is in our minds AND that which is due to actual reality being painful. Losing things and people we love, illness, tragedy on any level - the feelings that go along with these experiences are VALID and IMPORTANT and should be HONORED. Processed. Visited as many times as we need to visit them. It's so important to be KIND to ourselves in our feelings. Not to go black and white - that all painful feelings are due to a 'false' idea. Sometimes the painful story is TRUE. We can love ourselves in this. And through this processing we learn where we have some power - and where the power is in accepting where we can and making of it what we can. It's an eb and flow process.
Second, true liberation is realizing that we are now adults who have power we didn't have as children.
It is realizing that here in our adulthood, if we want to feel good EVENTUALLY - we are going to have to transcend our conditioning and live our truth. But in this, we are going to have to reprogram our nervous systems to see this as SAFE - which is incredibly challenging.
To do this, we don't actually want to push ourselves DEEPER into a trauma state. We don't want to stress ourselves into a state of breaking our minds and bodies.
Rather, we want to practice BEING with our feelings. BEING with our triggers. BEING with our stories. WITNESSING where we act from compulsion, and learning to STOP. To be STILL when we want to move. To SIT WITH FEELINGS for a bit - first just to prove to the nervous system that NOT DOING WHAT WE ALWAYS DO doesn't = death. Because to your brain/body right now, it doesn't matter how deeply you intellectually understand your trauma, your triggers, your cycles of behaviour - if you keep ACTING on your patterns of behaviour that don't get to the ROOT of what you REALLY want, who you REALLY want to be, that don't address the pain in your life for what it really is - you continue to reinforce that these patterns of behaviour are life saving. We MUST pattern interrupt ourselves. To show the body and brain that in so doing, we don't die.
Then we can start to dig into what we want. What we need. What's really going on. What's story and what's reality.
For this, I highly recommend you check out the following resources:
The Emotional Mastery Series on youtube here -https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfS-UvlzRbK8UXTXSjJGWqLLNZOUknHZ_
The Transformation Series Here: Intro http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3190
part three http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3431
part four http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3534
Part Five http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3578
Part Six: http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3568
Part Seven: http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3604
Part Eight: http://perceptiontrainers.com/?p=3616
Aliyah Mystery School: https://aliyah-mystery-school.teachable.com/p/aliyah-mystery-school-subscription
Because questioning your conditioning, finding your actual POWER in your life, discovering where you can figure out where your pain is coming from and where you can make liberated choices in your life that go AGAINST consensus is HARD WORK. It takes time and dedication. There is no quick fix. It is a process.
You Are No Longer A Child: That In And Of Itself Is A Liberation
It comes down to this - you aren't a child trapped in your caregivers world anymore. Your pain is not your fault, it's based on your living in ways that are out of synch with real reality. What you think is reality, the way things HAVE TO BE - isn't true. Who you think you have to be and what you think you have to do isn't so. And you can change. You can be different. You can align with reality even if NO ONE ELSE DOES - you can be rejected, hated, shamed, discarded and STILL SURVIVE. You may even find that you can THRIVE. You don't need an external source to validate and understand your pain so that they can rescue you from it - that is the child perspective. If you are looking to CONVINCE others of your pain or of your point of view, feeling that you can't have freedom until you are understood or rescued - this is a foundational false belief.
You are an adult now. You can change your own life with or without the approval or understanding of anyone else.
It all comes down to - how am I LIVING in ways that are causing me this pain? What am I doing that is out of synch with how reality works - all the things I was taught and conditioned to do and be that aren't so?
This again is tough, because to us so much of what is out of whack was and is how things have ALWAYS BEEN for us. Like a fish in water, we don't see our conditioning. Thinking we have to have a certain job, that we have to look a certain way, that we must interact with others in a certain way - these will be so deeply assumed, we will have no idea that they are just a concept. To consider being different will feel like death - and that is something we have to face.
But this is the reality.
We don't need a stress state and we don't need dissociation to be liberated.
In fact, both of these things keep us stuck in delusion.
That intense yoga practice, the plant medicine, the fast - these things look like they liberate us via pushing us to the edge where we are so stressed and exhausted we can't hold onto our stories - but there is always a price to be paid for this. Even if we think we saw something - we generally can't ground it in our lives, or we are constantly 'chasing' that feeling once it fades and our minds come back online. Our bodies are left to recover from the stress, and we are simply in a state of burnout. We chase the high with more and more extreme methods. We feel liberated only in these extreme states - because we didn't actually SEE the story or WHY we are in pain. We just got too exhausted to hold onto it for a moment or two. That is not liberation.
Liberation is deliberate and done over time in a sober state.
The true key to liberation is learning how to discern pain from pleasure - and then using that to test EVERYTHING we think. To search for REALITY - not what others believe - and to be brave enough to align ourselves with what we discover - even if that means rejection and loss.
THIS is liberation.
Of course we ALL want to believe that it's our current preferences that determine reality. That what we want to see, what we want to experience, what we want to feel and what we want to be simply ‘will be’ because we want it. That all that we don’t want, don’t understand, all that scares and confuses us would simply cease to exist again, because that’s what we currently prefer.
Many of us WANT reality to be as simple as ‘that which I think about is real, that which I decide I don’t like isn’t real.’ We want the world of complex cause and effect to be boiled down to a matter of thought, desire and will. Perspective. Focus.
We want to be able to DO whatever we want, and at the same time get only the consequences we prefer. We want to believe we are the deciders of reality and how it unfolds. Because if this were true - poof! There goes all our pain and suffering. Because pain is simply caused by living in ways that oppose reality, and suffering is the result of not understanding our pain enough to be able to CHANGE so as to match our desired outcomes with the actions that will actually create those outcomes in the reality that exists.
We live in a complex world. We are not the only people who are affecting our experience. This is a cause and effect universe - and it is not built upon preference. It’s moldable and bendable to a degree, but there are laws and rules that determine outcomes. When we don’t get what we prefer the instinct to change something about OURSELVES is a good one - where it gets hinky is in believing it is all a matter of mind and perspective. Real reality is calling us to grow out of the child like perspectives that what we want is how reality should be, and that anything we don’t like can simply be ignored and thus will vanish. We need to evolve past the childlike view that if we don’t understand something it’s not happening. That phenomenon is based purely on imagination.
OF COURSE we want to question our thoughts and perceptions when we are in pain - again this instinct isn’t a bad one. In fact it is a very very wise one. But taking it too far, oversimplifying life to being nothing BUT perception and perspective, is again, a childlike grasp at an adult level system.
Byron is not the only teacher who preaches this self centered, preference based, child like view of reality - but her teachings are a great example of what it looks like when we take these principals that DO have truth to them too far.
We must be open to the idea that reality does not bend to our will. It is complex. There will ALWAYS be things that occur that we don’t like or understand. Pain will always be present - but that doesn’t mean we have to suffer. Rather if we can OPEN to what is happening, allow it to crack our foundations enough to see something BEYOND what we currently understand to be true about ourselves and reality, if we can question our painful thoughts and beliefs enough that they drive us to look to how we can BEHAVE differently so as to get better, more aligned results - in THIS we are being adults.
We have to embrace that we don't have total control over our own lives and experiences. We are interacting with systems we didn't create, cultures, histories, policies and so on. We are dealing with a nature we can't predict. There are going to be times and places where we are not in any way the cause of our own suffering - the systems and conditions we're in are. And we can't change those sometimes. In that, again, we work with what we CAN change. And then we learn to nourish, nurture and love ourselves in what we can't. We can't always make change in the outer world. We aren't always the cause of our pain. There are things we can't control. Our adult reaction here it to have compassion for ourselves, our process and what we can do for ourselves within those conditions.
We can't over-accept responsibility for our lives - as much as that may feel empowering at times, it's actually disempowering when it's not true. It's a balance. We have to be willing to love ourselves where we don't have external control. To call for change where we can. To take steps where we can. Then to comfort, validate and love ourselves.
Wishful thinking is not the answer. Learning about how life IS vs. how we want it to be is critical.
Question your thoughts and perspectives, but don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that reality revolves around your preferences.
So what do you think? Liberation or trauma response? I would love to hear your thoughts.