3. Starting to Listen

We begin to listen to ourselves by accepting our internal messages as good and real. As we heal, we will become more aware of ourselves, and the more aware we are, the more we can heal. It is a positive loop, and we are beginning to enter it. We do not try to change any of the messages or ourselves. Doing so would be denying our reality. We learn to be more aware, and we will see ourselves in a new way - in a way that is based on truth, love and acceptance.

A variety of different messages flows inside us all the time. The more we heal, the more we become aware of them. At first, we may be confused about the messages. We may not know how to listen to them. We may not know what to listen to. We may hear nothing. We may hear too much. The messages can be classified with many labels. I use two: source and timing.

Sources of Messages

When facing the everyday life, we receive a number of different messages from ourselves:

  1. Our observations: I see an expression on his face. His lips are tight and his voice is loud. I am hungry.
  2. Our interpretations: The expression looks like an expression of anger. His voice sounds angry.
  3. Our memories: Last time he was angry, he hit me. Many memories are already based on our interpretation of anger.
  4. Our imagination: He might hit me again.
  5. Our expectations: I would like him to understand me and to comfort me.
  6. Our feelings: I am afraid. I feel fear and despair.
  7. Our intellect: He wants this thing to be done according to his plan.
  8. Our values: People should respect each other and solve this kind of problems through negotiation.
  9. Our beliefs: Life has no meaning. Life has a meaning. There is no god. God is good. God is bad.
  10. Our goals or perceived needs: I would really like to eat and rest and not to follow his plan.
  11. Our plans: I could try to use power. I try to beg for pity. I try to shame him.
  12. Our actions: I let him get his way. I want my way. I negotiate. I withdraw. I yell.
  13. Our feelings for our actions: I feel depressed. I feel powerful.

The messages are delicately intertwined. Our memories give rise to feelings and our feelings give rise to memories. Our imagination and expectations give rise to feelings, and our feelings provoke our imagination and expectations, and so on.

It requires a great amount of awareness to recognize all messages. If we have unhealed pain, we usually are not aware of them, since our perception is clouded. When our perception is clouded, we often move from observation to action in a single automatic step. In fact, this step can be so automatic and predictable that it can be called reaction instead of action. When all is said and done we might end up feeling miserable because of our reaction, without understanding what happened. Our belief in something being inherently wrong with us gradually becomes stronger, and we pile up new layers of shame. Later, when reflecting on our action, we might become aware of what happened - at least on a surface level. Usually this leads to regret and feelings of failure or self-pity. We also tend to forget our painful side to make life even a little bit easier, which leads to increase of denial. Thus, our original pain will be hidden deeper and deeper, and we can release it only by painfully working through all layers of denial.

In cosmic consciousness, which is the highest level of awareness, one is aware of all of the above messages. This awareness is extremely enjoyable and deeply peaceful. One recognizes his feelings and where they come from. One can choose to feel any of them - or something else. We can separate our interpretations from our observations. We feel like the whole of ourselves is under our command - without actually commanding anything. There is no need to command, since every part of us has been integrated into a single peaceful and harmonious whole. In cosmic consciousness, we have an enjoyable freedom to choose: actions are not reactions. There is also a mysterious sense of belonging in the universe, and in everything we do. We actually are everything we do. I never thought this kind of existence would be possible. Yet it has manifested itself in me, and I see it manifesting itself within people around me. We will find it.

Distortion of reality due to pain and addiction is usually related only to a part of life. We may operate openly and well in certain matters, while the automatic reactions take place on other areas of life. Our perception is most clouded in issues related to our wounds and to the circumstances we were wounded in. Automatic reactions take place also when we are afraid that our addiction, our feelings of defectiveness, unworthiness, shame or fear might be revealed. Our wound aches so much that we do anything to protect ourselves against becoming more wounded.

There is an old saying, "To your self be true". I say that we have always been true to ourselves - and we always will. We can not be anything else than what we are. When we lie, we do it on purpose, since we do not dare to be honest. We are true to ourselves. As we heal, we do not concentrate on the act of lying, but we will become aware of the reasons that made us lie. We become aware of our internal messages, and we will see that somewhere within us a red light was lit. We did not feel it safe to tell the truth. We learn to notice the warning lights and the messages they carry. As we heal, we will not become more or less true to ourselves. We will become aware of ourselves, and aware of actually what we are true to. We will become aware of our wounds and our hurts. We will also become aware of our desire to be good and to love. We will become aware of the emotional separation that was inflicted in our being. We will become aware of our pain, and we will comprehend that we have always been true to our pain. As we heal, we will be changed in the innermost levels of our being, and all the time we will be as true to ourselves as we have always been. We will not merely learn new behavior that is ‘more truthful’ - we will be changed and healed deep within. The way to it goes through learning to know ourselves, and accepting everything we see. If we try to change ourselves or any of the messages we hear without letting them communicate something real about us, we do not understand ourselves. We would be running away from ourselves. Gradually we stop running away from our feelings and let ourselves relax. We learn to listen to ourselves, and we do it in rest. We will own our peace.

We may not yet know our wound or wounds. They are hidden deep within, but they are not silent. Sometimes they speak with a quiet whisper, at other times they yell at us. We can hear them when we begin to listen. They will not stop shouting at us until we stop to listen. We will hear them. We will learn to know them. They speak the language of pain, of shame, and of fear. That is what we will hear. We will not hear funny jokes and exciting stories. We will hear the words of sadness. We will hear stories of pain - stories of our pain. It will be an exciting journey. We will hear stories untold. There will be pain, but no more than necessary. We will merely find the pain that already exists within us. Nothing more. There will be no additional pain. But even it might be more than we think.

Our level of awareness of ourselves forms the starting point of listening to ourselves. If we do not know how we feel, we begin to listen to our actions. If we know how we feel, we begin to listen to our feelings, and so on. We might be aware of our feelings on some issues, our memories on some issues, and have no feelings and memories on other issues. We begin to listen to what we hear. At first we may hear nothing. That is okay. We will learn.

Timing of Messages

Our bodies live in the present. Our thoughts do not. Our minds dwell in the past, regretting our failures or re-experiencing moments of pleasure, or in the future, anticipating moments of fear or moments of joy. However, our feelings are always in the present, and most of the time they tell us that we are not doing well. Our feelings know how we feel. They know how we experience ourselves and our life. There are short times when we can live in the present - mostly after a relief. There can also be times when we feel ourselves so loved and accepted that we feel ourselves as respectable and lovable human beings. As soon as the love gives a slightest sign of withdrawal, we return to our 'normal' state. We rely on external sources of love and acceptance since we do not know how to love ourselves. We will learn, and we will enjoy it.

The timing of the messages within us can be any of the following:

Often an insignificant event in the present moment can trigger strong emotions within us. When someone glances at us with a certain smile and expression, something within us raises a warning flag: he despises you. That can be true. That can be untrue. However, we often take our interpretation for granted without questioning it at all. Our thoughts and feelings concentrate on the other person and he becomes the focus of our thoughts: what does he think; what does he know; why does he not like me; what should I do to make him like me. We do not listen to our own internal messages. We think of someone else, something else, or the solution. We may please people, we may try to control them, or we may try to hide ourselves from them. They become our focus and we do not see ourselves.

We carry so much pain. We carry so much shame. An insignificant event can trigger them. Someone touches our aching wound. Our reaction is only natural. Our reaction is good. It prevents our wound from starting to bleed. We need protection, and we protect ourselves. We are fine. We accept our reactions and our feelings without blaming ourselves. Then we begin to listen to them. We don't try to change any of them - we merely listen.

When internal pain accumulates and we do not know how to release it, we become nervous. We begin to want to be somewhere else, doing something else and experiencing something else. Our thoughts concentrate on the future, anticipating a relief granted by something in the future, somewhere else. We become excited or nervous when we think of the future relief. The present moment is painful, and the relief should be here as soon as possible: not today, but in a few hours. If we have to wait, we become irritated. At times, we become more peaceful when we have envisioned something that possibly could take our pain away, and then we can wait for several days. We feel excited when we look forward to it. Once more, we miss our pain. There is too much of it. We cannot face it. We want to forget. It is okay. This is how we survived.

Sometimes when we experience positive surprises and feel great joy, we become restless. We are not used to handling strong emotions, and the only way for us to ‘feel’ them may be through compulsive or addictive behavior. Great joy is a powerful emotion, and the greatest joy we have learned to know is a moment of forgetting our pain. The best way for us to live a joyful moment may well be to repeat something that has been our best source of joy. Thus, our addiction has become our most important, or sometimes our only tool to experience emotions - both joyful and fearful ones.

Starting to Listen

We can begin to listen to ourselves only when we accept our addictive and compulsive mind. It helped us to survive. Within it is a secret world of its own where we take care of ourselves and release our pain. We begin to listen by acknowledging the basic addictive cycle:

  1. During the course of our normal days, pain accumulates within. We have not learned to release it. We were not allowed to release it. We keep it inside, smiling happily to people around us. They know nothing. They really think we are the happy and energetic one they see. In the beginning of the cycle, even we do not recognize the accumulation of pain.
  2. As the pain further accumulates, we become aware of it. This is a sudden reaction. We have a large tank within, collecting and storing our pain. We put it there, thinking it has gone away. Then the tank becomes filled and begins to develop pressure. The pressure develops quickly and we are craving for an instant release. We begin to plan it. The pain is not insignificant. We are used to live with enormous amounts of pain. No wonder we want an instant relief. Anyone with the same amount of pain would.
  3. When the addictive behavior takes us over, we feel a relief. Our inner child lives openly for a while. We are delighted to do something just for ourselves. We are delighted to meet our inner child - the one who cannot pretend. We empty the tank of pain.
  4. After the release, shame accumulates. We tell ourselves never to do the same again. We begin to fill the tank of pain at once - and we do it by ourselves. Sometimes we are so desperate that we think we cannot live. We despise the short-lived manifestation of our inner child. In doing so, we despise ourselves. Sometimes our pain is so close to the surface that we begin to wait for the next relief at once. In this cycle there is no peace. In this cycle there is no rest.

We think of this cycle. We accept it. We live in it, and around it. We begin to listen by accepting our life and our cycles. We accept that our painful inner child leads our life. When we are calm, we can memorize our cycles. We can identify the accumulation of pain, our craving for something that is powerful enough to make us forget it, the release and the shame. We recognize the cycle. We do not shame ourselves. We just identify. We listen to ourselves, in order to understand. We do not try to change anything, since we are powerless over our pain. We are good enough. We know the best way to take care of ourselves right now. For now, nothing more is needed. We are fine.

We try not to look at what we do, but at what we feel. Feelings do not appear without reason. Feelings can be understood only when the are accepted without any moral judgements. Feelings are not right or wrong, they merely are, and they are always true. They do not lie about us. If they tell us that we feel bad, it is true.

We listen to ourselves and accept ourselves. We begin to understand ourselves compassionately. We recognize and accept our pain and relief. We become our own lovers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We just have a little secret. We have our own way of dealing with painful reality, a way that nobody can take away. It had to be such. It was necessary for us in order to deal with feelings that our parents did not accept. We look at ourselves without trying to change ourselves. The most important thing is that we learn to know ourselves. We take the time for listening to ourselves. If we try to change ourselves too soon, without understanding ourselves, we try to change only our behavior. It will not remove our pain. It will not give us peace. But now we rest. We will be healed.

Actually, our secret is not a small one. Our behavior is a small one, but the great one is the one within us - our pain. It is a secret that was given to us without our participation. They denied the reality of our pain, and they said that nobody else is like us, and that it is not okay to feel what we feel. It is a secret that we have hidden with our own hands. Our journey is to find it. We do not know what it is, but we will recognize it at once when we arrive at it. We are like adventurers searching for a treasure hidden in a box and dug in the sand. The waves have washed the traces away, but we have heard rumors. Nobody else believed it is there, but we are on our journey. We do not want everybody to know what we are after. Even we do not know what it looks like, but we will recognize it at once when we hit it. We will discover our hidden feelings and lost memories. Our feelings can not harm us. Our memories cannot harm us. Our pain can. Our addiction life can. Feelings are just feelings, and memories are nothing but memories. The pain is real, and our obsessive life is real.

Starting to Listen to Our Inner Child

The key issue driving our addiction is Pain. Our pain dwells in the darkness. It is a monster so horrible that we deny it. We blame everything else and everyone else except ourselves: the behaviors of others, their appearances, their voices, or our small salary. Yes, we blame also ourselves, but we blame only our behavior or our inherent defectiveness. However, our behavior is not the source of our pain. Our behavior may increase our pain, but it is not the Monster.

The monster is not an ugly one. It is the pain of a small child within us - pain too great for him to handle. It is not his pain; it was given to him when he had no choice. He took it for granted. Now we are adults and we can be with the child. We can be his comforter. We can be his security and love, but only when we approach him lovingly, listening to his pain. He wants to cry, but he has had nobody to weep with him.

Our inner child just is. He is our authentic self - our creative, playful and enthusiastic self. Our restlessness is driven by the voice of the critical parent who does. He tries to do something else than we as our natural selves would do. He is the one who heard the critical and shaming voices and understood that he can not be himself. He had to pretend. This requires doing. It is not existence in peace. It is survival in activity. He does not know how to merely be. The shaming voice of the critical parent keeps our inner child frozen. He is our real self behind all masks. He is what he is. He is the one within us who cannot pretend. He cannot wear masks. We will find him, and we will be delighted by what we see.

Our feelings are not what we are. We are not our feelings. The more we will become healed, the more we will find out that our feelings exist within us, but they are not the whole of us. For an obsessive or addictive mind, however, the feelings are the whole of us. They control us. They drive us. We are our feelings. We cannot say, "I recognize a feeling of anxiety". Instead, we say, "I am nervous". This is because we heard messages like, "You are bad", "You are a failure", "Do not disturb me with your presence". We learned our lessons very well. Often the only feelings we recognize are more or less general states of anxiety, shame, excitement or fear. We are not our feelings, but as long as we believe so, we are our feelings. If we have no way to recognize our feelings, we are our feelings, without knowing it. This is not to deny that many of us use sheer willpower to live against feelings - until a relief is necessary. The feelings take over. We are our feelings, until we learn to identify them and to feel them instead of doing them.

When anxiety starts rising, we blame our circumstances, other people, anything outside of us. We may have failed on some issue, but then again we are not afraid of ourselves: we are afraid of the reactions of other people if, and when, they find out that we failed. We place the fear somewhere outside of us. This is how we survived. We usually do not recognize and appreciate anxiety as a feeling or feelings. Instead, we begin to think about relief. We begin to wish to be somewhere else. After we have envisioned something that could provide a relief, we begin to feel excitement. We begin to wait for the relief. We have escaped our pain. We did not pay much attention to it. We could not. It is the Pain that puts us on our knees. We pass it by as quickly as we can. We have no tools to meet the pain. We do not have them yet, but we will find. We will see what terror is. But not before we are ready.

There are basically three time slices when we can begin to listen to ourselves: when we feel calm, when anxiety begins to rise, and immediately after the relief. Especially in the beginning it is very difficult, if not impossible, to listen to ourselves between formulating our plan and finding relief. Later we will learn to listen to ourselves even during this time. We do not try to change ourselves, but to listen, to understand and to accept ourselves. We want to hear the voice of the pain. First we will hear only a silent echo out of the darkness. Even that can be scary, but the pain will not harm us. It lives only in the darkness. When we gradually shed light into the darkness, it dies. Peace remains.

We are used to thinking of life in terms of external events: either we dwell in the past events or anticipate future events. Our egos naturally tend to direct themselves towards pain, unless the pain is too large for us to handle. In that case, our egos live on the surface of the pain, without daring to enter it. The pain remains the center. Very few of us want to be selfish, but whenever there is pain, there is selfish behavior in protecting ourselves from experiencing additional pain. We can not see ourselves, other people or events of life clearly when we look at them through the curtain of pain. We think of our pain in terms of painful events, and we talk about the events as if they were the pain. Thinking of the events gives rise to painful or nervous feelings - or numbness. Our memories, painful feelings and events are so connected that we cannot see any difference between them. But we will learn to separate them. We will learn to understand that our feelings are one issue, the events are another issue, and our memories and imagination are additional issues. We try to let go of the events. They have happened. Their consequences are still open. We can not control what will happen. We will be healed. Other people will find their healing. We forget the events.

We do not blame anything or anybody - not even ourselves. We concentrate on our internal messages, especially on our feelings and memories. We resist the temptation to return to life events. We do not let our thoughts leave us. For now, we do not want to understand the events, other persons or their actions. We want to understand ourselves - and nothing outside of us. We do not want to change ourselves. We do not want to fix ourselves or the events, at least for five minutes. If despair arises, we let it arise. It merely tells us that we do not feel good. Our feelings do not harm us. We simply hear the voice of ourselves. If the voice is painful, it really means something.

We may hear nothing. No memories, no feelings, no imagination. That is okay. There is no need to pretend. Anyway, we learned that we could not hear anything. We have no contact to our inner world. It is a valuable insight. We want to learn what we really are, and we are making progress. Good. We accept it.

We may hear too much. We may indulge in self-pity. We keep repeating the messages we have given ourselves for a long time. We are so bad, so poor. Why is it that we are so bad? We try to recognize a fact. When we find a fact, we concentrate on it. Is it true? If it is true, what then? If it is not true, why do we pity ourselves? What do we want to say to ourselves? We say it.

We may want to stop listening very soon. That is okay. We learned that we did not want to listen to ourselves. Maybe we heard that we would like to be somewhere else, doing something else. We learned that our pain is driving us with great power. We accept it. We are powerless over our painful mind. Anyway, we heard something. We may feel ourselves frustrated, but frustration usually precedes growth. We are entering a new world, and sometimes the greatest difficulty is in finding the gate. We may now know only our own painful world, and we have never believed that somewhere there is a gate. There is a gate, and it is wide open. Once we find it, it is hard to think that it was hidden from our eyes. Once we step through it, we are in a new world, and we begin to explore it in awe.

At times, we can return to life events. They are valuable, especially if they have triggered intense reactions or emotions. We try to separate our observations, interpretations, memories, expectations and feelings. Seemingly insignificant events can cause overwhelming reactions in us.

Once I noticed that a book I had borrowed to a colleague was laying on the floor of my office in front of my chair, torn into two pieces. I became crazy. Who wants to harm me? What does this mean? I began to think of everyone else and everything else except my reaction. A couple of hours later I began to reflect. My observation: My book is on the floor in front of my chair, in two pieces. My interpretation: Someone wants to harm me. I began to question it. Probably the book had broken in heavy use, the person who returned it placed it on my chair, and it fell down. Why I interpreted it as an intention of harming: I remembered that when I was a child, my parents broke my gadgets and toys. A memory surfaced. As a young boy I was interested in watching birds. I had a birthday and I got a significant sum of money. It was just enough to by a telescope I had admired at a shop. I was really happy and excited. I went home, but nobody was there. When my mama returned, I was overjoyed and rushed to show her my new telescope. She smashed it on the floor and it broke into pieces. I was horrified. I did not know what to do. I went in my room and sat quietly in a corner. As I write this, tears come into my eyes. I still weep over it. Why I was terrified: The broken book on the floor triggered this memory, and the feelings of terror surfaced. What I did: When I went home from work, I went straight to bed, pulled the blanket over my head and let the panic and terror rush in. It was a terrible experience, but the fear was released. Sorrow remains, but it is healing sorrow. It is the sorrow of the small child, because he was not loved. Healing does not remove our memories. Healing allows our memories to surface so that they can be healed and the terror can be removed, but the memories remain. We reach peace. I still bear sorrow because of the event, but thinking back of it does not raise anxiety. It raises sorrow and a couple of tears. It feels good and peaceful. The memory has gone to rest. My pain was not appreciated as a child. I was too terrified to discharge it, and I had no tools to handle it. How could a small child handle the terror that threats his very existence? I could only lock it in. It did not go away. It waited for more than twenty years. During that time, it did not fade or diminish. During that night, I cried all the tears the little child could not, I faced his terror and I was healed. In the morning life smiled to me. Terror had disappeared. I was more peaceful than ever before.

This event was something the little boy had no explanation for. It surpassed his comprehension. When he went to buy the telescope, he thought he did nothing wrong. Yet, it was evident that he had done a horrible crime. His world broke down. He had no insight to say, "My mama seems to have some problems. She has much pain. She can not control her anger". He had only two choices: either his mama was crazy, or he was crazy. Had his mama been crazy, the only person who was supposed to love him was crazy. He would have lost his only safe place on earth. He would not survive. He chose the 'safer' explanation that he was crazy. Mama was right. He could not trust his feelings or his senses. He was somehow inherently defective and shameful. He was not able to decide between right and wrong, or between good and bad. He did not dare to be free and enthusiastic. He had to be in control and to pretend to be someone else. He could not belong in the world as himself. He had to isolate his true self behind pretending. He learned to wear masks, and he learned to hide his fears from the person who was supposed to help him let go of all his fears.

Of course, he did all this unconsciously. He did not understand what happened. Actually, he had done nothing wrong. It was not his fault. From now on, it was his fault. It was his fault for more than twenty years. That night I let go of something that did not belong to me. That night I was reassured that I am not shameful, and that I am free to be myself, that I can belong in this world as myself. Many such nights were to follow.

We think of events that caused strong reactions. What happened? How did we react? Why? What were we afraid of? What did we not want to communicate? What would we have wanted to communicate had we been sure of love and acceptance? What would we have wanted to say or do? Why did we not do that? What kind of impression did we want to give? Why? What did we want to protect from being revealed? What would have happened had it been revealed? What then? Is there anything in our past that resembles the situation?

What was our observation? What was our interpretation? Could there be some other interpretations? Why did we choose this interpretation? What feelings followed? Which memories emerged, if any? What expectations did we have?

We listen. We take time to stop. We practice it for some time, and slowly it becomes a daily attitude. We ask questions. If we hear nothing, we let it be so. We will hear when the time is right. We start with small issues. When our trust and acceptance grow, greater issues emerge. They wait until we are ready. They will not appear a moment before we are ready to face them. We learn to release our pain slowly. We learn to deal with small issues first. Within us is a protective system that gives us no more than we can handle. It gives us as soon as we can receive. We appreciate it.

In cosmic consciousness, there is clear awareness of self, and it is extremely enjoyable. There is also a deep sense of belonging. As I talk with someone, I feel as if I belonged to the person I talk with. At times, it feels like my whole consciousness was with the other person - yet I am aware also of myself. We two are together and there is no separation. I belong everywhere I happen to be, and to everyone I meet. I am a part of the whole, and the whole system including me is good and at rest. There is no need to escape from such a system to another time or place. I don't want to escape, but I want to belong and love as myself without any masks. In this peace I can concentrate totally on the other person, and this concentration has opened my intuition to notice their pain, fears and shame in a new way. When I am at rest without having to defend myself, I can distinguish them in other people. I have noticed that I am also a mirror to them: when they notice my peace, they become aware of their own restlessness. Yet there are times when old wounds surface and dictate my behavior for a while, but I am also aware of those moments. They are a part of me, and a part of my healing. There is great rest in being aware of myself. I am what I am, and I slowly learn to know myself and my wounds on a deeper level. I am a person I enjoy, and there is no need to pretend to myself. I don’t always do what I would like to do, and sometimes my feelings take over my behavior. This is the way we learn to know ourselves, but only when we accept everything we see. When we become aware of who we are, we will find ourselves. We may find someone who is scared, hurt and resentful or someone desperately looking for love and acceptance. That’s us, and we love him when we do not deny or try to change anything we see. We just become aware.

We begin to listen to ourselves. We are clumsy and unskillful at first. It is only natural. We did not do it before, but we learn. We are on a trip into ourselves. We will meet pain, but it is the pain that is already within us. We will experience pain, but only as much as necessary to release it. We are on the healing path. We do not try to change ourselves. We accept ourselves. We love ourselves just as we are: addicts driven by the pain of their wounded inner child. Yet, we are beginning to find a way out of our pain.

We cannot force change. We can learn to know ourselves in acceptance by becoming more aware of ourselves. We learn to observe ourselves, not only when doing conscious exercises, but also during our normal daily activities. It is as if we stood beside ourselves and made notes, observing ourselves on the outside. This is a skill that can be learned, and it can be learned relatively quickly, within a few months, but only if we accept what we see. We see ourselves, a person who is worth of all the love and acceptance we have, and we let him rest. We let be himself, and speak for himself, at last.

Our Cycles

Our addiction enabled us to survive, but it set us on a painful course of life. The consequence, a compulsive mind, is driven by hidden pain. It does not heal by itself. In fact, it slowly accumulates new pain. For a long time, it was our only tool for living with pain that once was too great for us to deal with. We cannot find rest unless we find functional and healthy ways to let go of pain. We can not heal our compulsive mind as long as we are unaware of the forces that keep it running. We can not control it but it controls us. We accept it as necessary for our survival. We may have tried to change ourselves many times, only to realize that we were not able to find rest. It is natural. We can not. We appreciate our compulsive and restless mind. It is a storehouse of pain that we had to keep inside, and it was able to store it, but with high cost. Our obsessive mind will heal and our addictions will decay slowly, as we learn to love and respect ourselves and everything in us. Only then can we learn to love other people and everything in them.

Some treatment centers and training programs aim at finishing addictions at once. In case of chemical addictions, it is probably necessary. However, it may require a long time before we learn to love ourselves and handle our pain in healthy ways, often several years. In an intensive short-term healing program, we will be given much love. We will be assured that we are good. We may release some of our pain. But if we do not learn to handle our pain in new ways, after the program we will resort to our old method. We will not heal unless we learn to know our pain and learn to let go of it without punishing ourselves. We heal slowly. Period. We can not heal ourselves, but we will heal by ourselves when we learn to love ourselves and stop punishing ourselves.

We can learn much about ourselves when we appreciate our painful mind and its cycles. Our cycles are ever-varying and ever-changing. There are times when our pain is in deep rest. We can stay calm for a long time. Then something happens and our pain surfaces, triggering our quest for relief. During these times, a moment of forgetfulness is the only thing we can think of. Sometimes we despise ourselves and shame ourselves, assuring ourselves that we will never do the same again. We indulge in self-pity. There are times when we are desperate, times when we are enraged and times we feel ourselves peaceful. We can learn much about ourselves by accepting every detail of our life. There is nothing inherently wrong with us. There is no reason to hurry. We rest. We will understand ourselves and we will be healed. We will not be healed in an instant. We forget such thoughts. There is no need to hurry. We cannot hurry. We cannot force healing. We can only let ourselves heal through acceptance.

Being Real

We bear much shame. We may or may not be aware of it. We do not use real terms when we think of our addictions and obsessions. Either we tend to belittle them or we wallow in self-pity. Our compulsive mind is beautiful. It enabled us to survive and enjoy at least some aspects of life. It is a fact, and we accept it in humble thankfulness. We think of it as an essential part of our life. This requires courage and honesty. We may not have them yet, but we will find them.

We can think about our moments of relief. Our shame and our minds may try to prevent us from appreciating them. Yet some of those moments were really great. Some of them were poor, and some were moderate. We take some time to memorize them. We try to remember a couple of great moments. We give ourselves permission to relive the joy. They were good moments, and we allow ourselves to accept it. Some of them were adventures of their own. We enjoyed. I had some good moments. I still smile when I remember them. They were great. Yet, I don't want them back. I merely remember them with joy - and with sadness.

We recognize that the moments have gone, but we are happy that we have survived and experienced great moments in our life. We let them remain in our memory. We are real towards ourselves. Some people would like to shame us, but we know we had great times. We can be honest to ourselves. We may feel so much shame that we can not be honest. We will learn. As we heal, we learn to think about ourselves and our addictions in real terms. In terms of sorrow and sadness, and in terms of isolation, pain and loneliness. As facts that are not the whole of ourselves. We begin to let our inner child to speak. We begin to heal. We begin to let go of our shame and feelings of defectiveness.

We heal slowly. Our restlessness dies as the pain leaves - not at once. It stays with us until we let go of our pain. There may be times when we cannot cope with pain of life and we need a quick relief. I have experienced it. I accept it without shaming myself. I allow myself to escape the pain I cannot cope with. For us, the moments of relief are like sunglasses that filter pain. With time, the need to wear them has practically ceased. I have new, healthy instruments to deal with pain. They produce real freedom and joy. They accumulate self-worth and peace - unlike addiction. Yet, I do not blame myself if I resort to addictive behavior. I merely recognize it and then let go of it. Anyway, I learn to know myself through it, but only when I accept it and listen to my internal messages. Afterwards I handle my pain in another way. I am on my way to healing. You will find your way.

Our inner child is always real and honest. We can find him when we are real and honest. Our inner child will hear us. We are his only hope and he knows it. We may decide to abandon him and to live in dishonesty, but he will chase us until we hear him. He is yearning for our love and acceptance. He wants us to know him - in truth and acceptance. He is the one within us waiting to be released in all his creativity, freedom and joy.

We may become tired or lose our faith in healing. Our inner child does not. He believes in us even when we can not believe in ourselves. We may try it. We may try to quit healing but we will hear his voice. Then we come back. Maybe we needed the lesson. We are on our way to healing.

Time to Listen

We take time to learn to listen to ourselves and our addictive cycles in acceptance and curiosity. We want to learn to know ourselves as we are, without trying to change anything. We want to be real in terms of our own life. We start with our cycles.

Below is a list of questions dealing with our cycles. The questions are here partly to show that the defectiveness and shame we feel are not ours only. They are general manifestations of a wounded inner child. Obsessive behavior is a common product of hidden pain, and the cycles of addiction follow the same universal structure. Our shame is not an incomparable secret that only we have. Now, we think about our previous cycles.

  1. For how long did I feel myself peaceful? Did I feel myself good, normal or poor?
  2. When did anxiety begin to rise? Did it rise after a specific event? Which event?
  3. When did I begin to long for the relief? What did I begin to look for? How soon?
  4. How did I feel after deciding to do something? How eagerly did I begin to look forward to its realization?
  5. When did I realize my plan? Was it normal, good, excellent or poor? What was good? What was poor? Did it happen as I planned?
  6. How did I feel afterwards? Did I have to lie or to pretend to someone?

We think in real terms. We think in terms of pain and relief, in terms of good plans and poor plans - in terms of our addiction. We may feel ourselves unsure at first. It is normal. Maybe we see or feel something we have not seen for a long time. Fear, panic, feelings of stupidity or despair may arise. If it happens, we assure ourselves that we are on our way to healing. We are learning to face our pain and the ways we have avoided it. We are learning to know our truth. Our true self lives only in truth. We cannot find our real self in dishonesty. Now we begin to be honest to ourselves about issues nobody else knows about. This is honesty. If we feel ourselves miserable, we know that we are not doing well, and we need healing. We are learning to know ourselves, our cycles and our need for relief. We are learning to hear our internal messages. They are messages of pain, and they are painful.

Our longing for doing something else manifests the fact that we desire to escape the pain of the present moment. In the present moment, we have no peace, and we do not belong in it. The present is painful, and we wish to find something in which we could immerse ourselves in such a way that we could forget our pain for a while. This is how we survived.

In cosmic consciousness, one is at peace in the present moment, and there is no need to escape it. There is only a satisfied state of existence in whatever we are doing, and a mystical experience of belonging in it and in the whole universe. Whatever we do, we are happy with it, and our person is so immersed in it that we do not long for something else. We are happy with ourselves and with our place in the universe. Such existence is fullest Joy. Pain or sorrow can be present, but they are experienced as separate issues that merely exist within us and do not disturb our peace. We recognize them within ourselves, and that's all. We can feel fear, and we accept the fear. It wants to tell us that something is important to us, and we are about to lose it. The fear is not loaded with anxiety from past or future issues. Our feelings remain in the present. Sorrow is a part of life, and eventually we will lose everything we love. This kind of sorrow is peaceful surrender in front of love, and in front of our temporary life that is our dwelling in this universe for a moment.

We listen to our cycles for some time. We reflect on our life and on our cycles. We rest. We relax. We do not try to change ourselves. We let our life run as we are used to. We let us be real to ourselves. We reflect on these questions every now and then. We become our own observers in daily tasks. We try to recognize the feelings, memories, expectations and fears that surface when we reflect on them. Every time we do that, we can be sure that we are on our way to healing. It takes time. We give ourselves permission to heal slowly. There is no other way. Life will lead us to the lessons we need to learn, and it is a gentle teacher. Yet, we will find pain, but it is the pain that is already within us. Life will pull it out gently, but not without pain.

 

With Love,
Healing Eagle

Out of Pain

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