1. Forewords

‘Healing’ means different things to different people. The healing I write about is not healing from ‘minor’ issues of life, like heartbreak, loss of something or someone, or a personal failure. I write about healing of an individual, after which one knows that he is a qualitatively different person. I write about personal growth, about healing of one's mind, and about the integration of personality into a single and peaceful whole - in such a way that one knows he is a peaceful entity where the internal wars have ceased. I write about learning to live in the present moment, instead of longing for being somewhere else, doing something else and experiencing something else. I write about breaking free from behavior dictated by pain or fears. I don't write about success or easy life. I write about finding love where it does not seem to dwell, and about being fully satisfied in what others might call poverty. I write about love, dreams and compassion - about life worth of living, and not necessarily about easy life.

This healing is not an intellectual process and it cannot be understood solely on the intellectual level. One can try to imitate the healing process intellectually, but healing can be achieved only by living through it in all levels of personality - especially feelings. During healing, painful feelings and fears from the past emerge and they are experienced and released. This is not always easy and it requires a great deal of trust in the process. We may be tempted to close our emotional channels with a quick fix, rather than to surrender to the exposed pain. However, we can not let go of our pain, shame and fears without first becoming conscious of them. We will find our pain, and in doing so we will experience and feel it. Facing our pain eventually leads to true freedom and growth. Our pain will leave us, but the farewell will hurt much - yet it will be full of new joy and hope. It will lead us to a new, painless world.

About me

I grew up in a dysfunctional family. At the age of seventeen, I already knew what addiction is - followed by being a prisoner of pain and shame for more than twenty years. On the outside, I became a flexible people-pleaser, but in the inside I lived in rigid structures and despised myself. I did not know who I was and what I wanted, except to be accepted at least for a while. Pleasing other people was my way to control them in order to make them appreciate me. Other addicts can go the opposite direction and use power to hide their shame and to suppress their fear of being out of control. Both people-pleasing and controlling are signs of fear of being out of control of one's own life. The outer manifestation of addiction and shame can be almost anything - but there is always disconnection from other people. In my life there were issues I was ashamed of, and I did not want others to see them. Actually I was ashamed of myself. For a long time, I tried to overcome my addiction, but my efforts were useless, since they addressed only the ways in which it manifested itself and not the root causes. I did not know that pain could have such a power over my life. My efforts were mostly intellectual decisions trying to change myself, and only after a minor collapse, I got enough courage to look at myself with loving and accepting eyes. Then my defenses broke down and the healing of the ego on the emotional level could begin. I became ready and willing to deal with my pain.

When the shame of being me has disappeared, I have found tremendous peace and serenity. I could never have believed that this kind of existence is possible. I have no issues to hide, I am afraid of nobody, and I have to please nobody. Still, I have become softer and more loving. When I meet people, I can concentrate on them with all of my personality since I don't need to defend or hide some aspects of my person. I have become free to love in ways I never knew before, and at rest. I have found love. I have found joy of being me, and being exactly in the place I am. I am happy to be myself.

I live like never before. I bear no regrets from the past, and I am not worried about the future - I live in the present moment, and in peace. Of course, there are and there will be moments of sorrow, fear and pain, but I accept them in peace. They do not jeopardize my existence - they validate my existence as a person who can feel the complete emotional spectrum. They may reveal old wounds for healing, and letting go of them brings great joy. For me, life is a promise of a future that is filled with dreams, joy and love - life that is worth of living every day. I love my life and myself.

About this book

I write about my own experience. All my writings are attempts to describe different facets of experiences I have gone through. They probably will not tell much to someone who is not involved in a healing process, but my hope is that they will encourage those who are healing and dealing with their shadows. We should be patient with ourselves and remember that we must heal our inner self - not the outer self that others see. The inner healing requires the greatest honesty on earth: honesty to oneself in issues nobody else knows anything about. We dare to be honest with ourselves only when we love and accept everything we see in us. If we cannot love and accept ourselves, we cannot truly love and accept others. As long as we hate or reject some facets of ourselves, we will not find true peace. As long as we fight against ourselves, we will not find our rest. Some of us may have a long way to go, but every step will move us closer to peace and rest. Every step is worth of taking. Every step brings us closer to the freedom to love without defenses.

The following is a summary of stages of personal growth and/or levels of consciousness /Pathways to Serenity, Philip St. Romain/.

  1. Undifferentiated State: The personality may be directed by instincts, or the energies of the unconscious. In this state the ego is fragmented and almost powerless to direct the activities of the psyche. In the case of babies, who are highly motivated by instinct, it may not even be correct to say that there is an ego. Addictions of any sort also render them vulnerable to unconscious impulses. "I want what I want," describes the stance of such people.
  2. Child State: Researchers in human development have described several levels of ego development which take place between eighteen months to six years of age. During these early years, the Child forms emotional convictions about life; convictions which are retained through later years of development. The Child also includes possibilities for wonder, creativity, spontaneity, and fun. If, however, this inner Child was abused or neglected, he or she pays the consequences in later life; if the Child was properly nurtured, he or she will have more trust in life. For many, a primary task in spiritual development is healing the wounded Child within. Its stance is, "I am little, and life is big and mysterious."
  3. Parent State: This is the Freudian Superego - a state of consciousness characterized by "shoulds", "musts", and "oughts". This state is programmed according to the manner in which your parents, teachers, and other authority figures treated you. It once played an essential role in helping you learn to discipline your instincts, but often sits on your shoulders as a spoiler during adulthood. "What should I do?" is its primary attitude.
  4. Persona State: The Persona refers to the self you would like others to see. It is often called the Conformist State. Generally, this ego-state is attuned to the expectations of others and becomes intensely manifest during adolescence - which is why the young are so vulnerable to peer pressure. Adults are also prone to wear masks and play games to impress others. Taking off these masks is an important goal in personal growth. "What will other people think of me?" describes the stance of such people.
  5. Conscientious State: This state is characterized by internal motivation directed by goals. It has its roots in childhood fantasies, then becomes the adolescent's antidote to peer pressure and the young adult’s center of career goals. Research indicates that few people move very far beyond the beginnings of realizing this state. "What's my goal?", or "What's right for me apart from the expectations of others?" is the stance here.
  6. Shadow State: This is not so much an ego-state as a part of self you do not want the world to see. Carl Jung called it the Shadow side, which usually is encountered in your late 20s. Generally it includes feelings and ideas about self and others that cause shame, embarrassment, resentment, and confusion. But it may also include positive energies that you are afraid to show. Given the right conditions (drunkenness, tiredness, therapy), the Shadow often asserts itself, much to the dismay of the person trying to hide it. "I don't know what came over me!" is what such people say in retrospect.
  7. Adult State: Sometimes called the Compassionate Stage, this is the ego that has separated itself from parent, child, conventional, and instinctual voices, and now serves as arbitrator among them. In this state is found a balanced internal locus for controlling behavior. "What is needed in this situation?" describes its stance. A full experience of the Adult State is contingent upon coming to terms with its Shadow State.
  8. Cosmic State: The ego may lose itself in any activity during any period of growth. But what is meant here is a more or less permanent state in which the personality is no longer directed by a rigid, strictly controlled ego, but by a more universal level of the self. Many people experience this state for a short period of time; but only a few experience it as a permanent state of being. This is also called the enlightened state.

The following is a summary of general characteristics of the cosmic state /Pathways to Serenity, Philip St. Romain/:

  1. There is a "softening" of ego boundaries; the self-limiting wall of ego-defenses has broken down. The personality is no longer focused and held together by selfish desires and cravings. Instead, personal awareness has to do with your relationship to the whole, the entire world.
  2. Personal security is no longer based on being well-defended, but derives from the awareness that you are well loved.
  3. Most major Shadow issues have been resolved. Any emotional pain experienced is from daily issues. These daily pains are not complicated by attachment to unresolved issues from the past. You become acutely sensitized to emotional pain in yourself and others because there are no longer protective ego-defenses. You become aware of the tremendous varieties of pain confronting people in everyday living. Genuine empathy and compassion become a real possibility for the first time.
  4. There are temptations to selfish behavior, but these are seen clearly as separating forces, and they are easily resisted (although occasional slips do take place). Narcissistic self-consciousness has been annihilated. No longer does the narcissistic self have its "big nose" in everything.
  5. There is a breakdown in dualistic thinking - either/or, win/lose, and so forth. Thinking becomes holistic; the truth is recognized in terms of the good of the whole.
  6. Far from being an altered state, it feels quite common and ordinary. There are fewer emotional highs and lows. Instead, there is a serene, compassionate readiness to enjoy or to endure. There is no longer a sense of enmity between body, mind, conscience, memory, and other members of the soul. You experience yourself as a simple whole. There is complete freedom to do with the body and mind whatever you wish (within the framework of natural laws, of course). If you want to think, you may think; if you wish to stop thinking, you may do so and withdraw into silence. Conscious awareness has become the captain of the soul. The members of the soul now obey their ruler.
  7. You must still study to learn, evaluate options when making decisions, and struggle to love others. There is no infallible knowledge - no by-passing the ordinary means of learning. The only difference is that you engage in these activities in the awareness of being part of a greater whole and without much spontaneous thinking clouding perception.
  8. In relating with others, there is still the possibility of rejection, disappointment, and hurt. There is a genuine freedom to love in this state, for you are not dependent on others' approval.
  9. You know yourself to be a qualitatively different person than you were in previous ego-states. Although different, there is appreciation for the continuity of the journey - how it was all necessary to lead to this point. You may assess the consciousness of earlier ego-states through contemplative remembering, although this usually proves distasteful. There is no desire to go back; the past is dead. Just as parents recognize and respect children in their limited ego development, so do you in Cosmic Consciousness respect those who are not yet done with the Shadow. In fact, lack of respect here is a sure indication that you are not in the Cosmic State, but, instead, in a Persona role trying to act the part.
  10. You do not enter the Cosmic State all at once - as you might enter another geographic place. As with other ego-states, it emerges slowly; you experience it at first for a few minutes a day - perhaps after a period of deep prayer. Later, you may live this way for several hours a day. After a while, it becomes the only way you wish to experience life. It is then that the last pitched battle with the Shadow begins in earnest. This is the Dark Night of the Soul.

This book deals with healing of one's inner child and finding inner peace and rest. I write about my experiences, and why I think I have finally found deep peace and rest. The aim of this book is to encourage other addicts on their paths searching for inner peace. I do not want to generalize. I write about the experience of my own healing, and about the experience of roughly twenty people healing with me at the time of this writing. If you feel something does not resonate with you, just leave it. My path was my path. Yours is a different one, but I wish I could give you hope and some stepping-stones over the worst places. If we continue on the healing path, we will arrive at new levels of consciousness, and eventually we will reach a really peaceful and enjoyable existence - cosmic consciousness or enlightenment. We will find great joy in the world, and in being ourselves in the middle of it.

Why?

I write because I have found something I have been searching for a long time. I write because I am free from pain - as a gift of love to my fellow addicts searching for inner peace and rest. I write because I respect my life, my history and myself. I lived the best way I could. We all do. For more than twenty years, I have been searching for inner peace and finally I have found it in such a way that it surpassed all of my expectations. I am not a healing expert. I have an academic decree in a technical field. However, I know I have been healed and I have inner peace and rest - unlike before. This gives me courage to share my experiences and lessons I have learned. Probably many of my lessons are helpful only for me. However, as I have shared my life with other people, it seems that they have seen at least some aspects of healing, enough to start their own healing. I write also for myself, in order to remember and esteem my history. I want to let go of the last remnants of pain and shame, and be proud of myself. I write because I want to display that the Dark Night of the Soul is an episode of life, which reveals the beauty of the unseen world - the beauty and richness of love and silence. I am loved, and so are you.

At the moment I understand, at least to some extent, what was missing in my earlier attempts to find inner peace and to become free. In retrospect, I can see that at least the following characteristics that kept me stuck:

  1. I viewed myself through shame: I am not good enough as I am now. I have to change myself in order to be a good human being.
  2. I focused on outer behavior: as long as I behaved the way I was expected to behave, I was good. It did not matter what happened inside me. This led to denial, secrets and separation. I did not know it was possible to live without pain and anxiety. I did not even know that my life was largely dictated by pain.
  3. I wanted to please others: I wanted to fill the place given to me. If something within me voiced that I did not like an issue, I had better to suppress the voice. I could not be myself and a unique individual.
  4. I was goal-oriented: Only when I demonstrated that I had done something well, I allowed myself to feel good. I had to keep on moving. There was no rest for me.
  5. I was not open: I had burning issues and problems. It was evident that other people had problems. I thought that I would not be accepted after letting people see my true self. I was used to pretending.

For you, with love

I have learned that everyone can start healing. It does not require a breakdown. Collapse is often a starting point, because it grants us willingness - or at least readiness - to look at our life with new eyes. Nevertheless, the choice is always ours. We have learned not to trust - I mean really trust - others or ourselves mainly because of our former life experiences. In the course of healing, we will not actually trust others very much - we learn to trust ourselves. Yet, other people can encourage us and give us building blocks for our life. We will find our true self, who is assertive and spontaneous. By now, we know how restless we are, and we cannot experience peaceful belonging as long as we try to find it by escaping our restlessness into searching for a quick relief. We will learn to love the person deep within ourselves. We will discover the beauty of our soul. We will peel away the shaming and rejecting messages we have received or said to ourselves. We will enter a world of respect. We also begin to respect our beauty and the beauty of other people. The best way to learn is to find a support group or an individual who has experienced healing and who has love to share; I had both. On the other hand, healing is largely a lonesome process, since we enter our own internal world, dealing with issues nobody else knows anything about. We look behind our own masks, and we learn to love what we see. We will find love, and love will find us.

What emerged during some of the lonesome moments was so scary that I was tempted to stop the process; but rather quickly I noticed that each painful moment was a healing one. The most difficult issue was to see the prison in which I lived. In my childhood, I had built strong walls around me to protect myself, and they had caused much needless suffering when they were no more needed. I was unaware of my prison, since it was a natural part of being me. I was desperate, but I learned to appreciate the times my fears surfaced. I learned that in those moments my pain was leaving and I could see the walls of my soul gradually breaking down. I needed other people and their loving and compassionate support. I do not know whether healing is possible entirely alone. Many say it is not. I had company, and I needed it. I think I would not have done it alone. Try to find someone who does not shame you and who believes in your healing. I can assure you that my healing was worth of all the pain and terror – I found happiness and peace so deep I could not have anticipated it. I found a new existence and peaceful belonging. So will you.

You will heal the pain that belongs to your past. I know. I did it. I came from the world of fear, shame and restlessness to a world of peace and love. Do not hurry. We cannot hurry. As soon as we start making progress, we will see that there is no need to hurry. We do not heal ourselves. We become healed. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes it sucks. But there is nothing comparable to peace within. I found rest, and so will you.

With Love,
Healing Eagle

Out of Pain

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