The thing about pain, is that it snaps you into the present. Think about if you’ve ever broken a bone, had a headache, even when you’re sick and physically suffering, there’s no wandering in your mind -there’s no ability to think about what’s not happening in the moment. There’s no energy for that. You’re impaired. You’re impaired to do anything but sit with the pain. You’re impaired.
Well lucky you.
This is why emotional pain is not just about thought. It has nothing to do with thought if you want it to be productive. You can attach thoughts to the pain. You can. You can think about why, you can tumble it over and over in your mind, but ultimately, to honor it and to move through it you must exist in it. You must exist in it. That’s why it’s a blessing. That’s why real pain, real heartbreak, is different than being listless or depressed, per se – when there’s an emotional detachment there, because the emotional detachment is there as a wall. The wall is fighting something natural that’s trying to flow you and be released, burn through you, literally.
A buddhist monk once explained to me, when I was going through a terrible breakup – and I asked why, why am I going through such pain? And she said that we all must burn through are karma, and you should be grateful, GRATEFUL when you are in pain (not to be mistaken with not enjoying and relishing joy) – but you should be grateful when you have pain because when you are in pain you are burning through karma at a rate faster than you would ever otherwise do. And we all have karma to burn through.
So what I believe is personally the best way to alchemize pain, is to feel it – lay there, sit there, instead of thinking your way through it, feel it. Crying is the BEST thing you can do to relieve it. But we all know what it’s like to be choked up. So feel that pain. Where is it in your body? There are different types of course. For me, I feel anxiety and dread in my stomach largely, and it tingles and feels like little prodding fingertips. Grief is in the heart and the throat, around the collarbone, it radiates from tehre. It’s physical. And when you can really sit in that physical pain, that’s when it find’s its expression. It’s karma. It’s a process. Just sit with it.
Say to yourself: I am completely present with this experience. I completely open the channels of my heart to this present experience.
The other thing is we house fears of insecurity in our lower chakras, and so when we lose something that we consider source for us, a source of love, we may be desperately hanging on for dear life because we feel so insecure. Basic need for shelter, that’s what that security is like. Like a child to its mother for protection. When you live from your lower chakras you can be living from a place of fear and apparently (and I agree with this experientially), when you move that experience to the heart chakra, miracles can happen. Moving to the heart means coming to terms with the love you have to offer. And I kind of hate the word love in this spiritual context but it’s true, it just makes sense – love is all there is, there is no other way to approach life. And that’s why when you feel pain, you must love it. You must take it in your arms and cradle it and let it live. Don’t constrict it. Let it live. And it transmutes eventually. And it comes and goes and comes and goes away a little longer, and comes again and goes away even longer, and eventually I don’t think it’s replaced by joy – I don’t think the inverse of pain is utter ecstasy, I think it’s just calm. It’s not being rustled, it’s not closing off your heart, it’s staying open and grounded. And again, the issue with all this is that these words are all so overused – chakra, grounded, love, blabla – that’s why you have to do it experientially. Reading a book, reading what I’m writing here is great, and I do believe that words can open you, like a key into a lock, I think they can be miraculous; but I’m emphasizing again the physical aspect of experience. Your body is where you exist on this earth plane, so you want to get into it, and that’s the awesomeness of pain – it sticks you in your body.
So stay there. Stay for a while. It won’t kill you. And that’s the only way that phrase makes sense, that it won’t kill you, it will make you stronger. But it does need to be felt. So even just say to yourself, I approach this pain with love and presence. I sit with this pain in love and presence. I exist with this pain in love and presence. This pain flows through me, I love it, and I am present for it. Your head will get it, eventually.