Awakening to The Truth Can be Painful
© Elia Pellegrini
It was a warm summer day. I was a young girl sitting in a sandpit with my best friend Jessica. There was sand, water and a few toys, and the feeling was that we had everything we could ever ask for.
Jessica and I are mature women now and we share a sister-like bond that has lasted all these years. I have decades of memories of togetherness to look back on. We shared so much joy, and sadness, too.
As friends, we had relied on each other for the comfort and support that only supremely honest conversations can provide. Time and again we had entrusted each other with our vulnerable hearts.
I realise, with a pang of sadness, that something has changed.
I don’t always want to see the Truth
With a lot of pain, I have to admit to myself that my relationship with Jessica had reached a low point already some time ago. The truth is that I did not want to admit this to myself. I racked my brain to try to understand what had gone wrong between us, but I couldn’t recall what it might have been.
I kept thinking.
Jessica’s marriage had broken down some years earlier, followed by a prolonged divorce settlement process. Quite naturally, I stayed in touch with Jessica’s husband who I also considered to be a friend. One evening at a dinner, I recalled, he introduced his new partner to me. We had a pleasant exchange. Fully aware of my number one alliance, I felt that I was being neutral and yet welcoming, and, in my book, had done nothing wrong.
But as I began to imagine myself in Jessica’s shoes, I had to admit that, perhaps, I had hurt her feelings. And now, it seems that in response, my feelings are hurt. I sensed an accusation, even if it had not been expressed, and I was disappointed. She felt I had let her down and I felt that she had let me down by accusing myself. Perhaps this is why the sandpit came alive again.
But what is all this trying to tell me?
Most days and most of the time, our minds chatter. One minute we are happy, and the next we can feel irritated, upset, anxious or fearful. Thoughts arrive, and we are forever subject to their force, living our days and nights as slaves to our thoughts. At about 60,000 thoughts per day, no wonder most of us feel that we are ‘in our heads’ most of the time. We find ourselves exhausted from over-thinking.
Thoughts are responsible for our decisions and actions, and yet we seldom wonder what thoughts really are. A thought is a response to a memory, which is but another thought. Thinking is based on memory, which is the past. We seem to almost continuously bring the past into the present. Each time a thought arises other memories are tickled, too, and invade the moment.
As long as we remain unaware of this unconscious activity of the brain, we are never truly present. Only by becoming aware of thoughts happening and choosing not to react to them can we break out of this cycle. Opening ourselves to our inner landscape by observing our thoughts, we cultivate an intimacy with our thoughts that allows us to know ourselves more deeply.
We are busy in relationships with others,
but what about creating a relationship with our own thoughts?
Our conditioning dates back to our infancy, childhood, adolescence and so on. It has everything to do with the love we received, or did not receive, with the country and environment we grew up in, and many other factors. Conditioning happens in a process that is interwoven with a thinking mind and is not an active or conscious process. We adopt and accumulate beliefs and keep adapting them over time.
Our daily routine can be seen as a response to our conditioning. Routine gives comfort and security, and it provides structure to our daily life, if we are so conditioned. We get out of bed in a certain way, followed by a morning routine, and so the day goes on. The same applies to our reactions to situations; we tend to be on emotional autopilot. Conditioning keeps us in the past and thus makes us feel safe and secure, even if in reality we are suffering.
Based on what we believe we know, conditioning helps us remain fully identified with the persona we have tended to over the years. We like to define our personality and prefer holding on to our image of ourselves to the alternative, which we perceive as a kind of nothingness. Unable to question if this is really who we are, we take the illusion of conditioned mind to be the truth.
But at some point we may understand that this keeps us stuck in suffering. Can we break free from it? I believe so, yes. But only by looking at ourselves honestly. By learning to observe and bear witness to the self image that my mind has built, rather than always automatically reacting, I free myself to play a different tune.
Sometimes the Best is to Let Go
I realise that I don’t know how to repair my friendship with Jessica but that to keep thinking of it only makes me suffer. It dawns on me that yes, the sandpit and all that followed were cherished, but perhaps all of that is no longer ‘me’ – if it ever was.
The next thought that arises is that our friendship bond can never be broken. No matter what. I realise that it is better not to hold on to a continued friendship on the material plane purely for the sake of holding on to memories, as it seems to consist mainly of pain. With this, I allow myself to grieve.
After some tears and a whole lot of acceptance I sit in silence for a long while. Coming out of my contemplation, I realise that my friendship with Jessica has given me a lot of comfort and has helped me to feel secure. She had always made me feel heard, understood, nurtured, and loved for who I was, but now the question was, could I continue to do the same for this messy, frightened, and rejected Claudia?
Perhaps Jessica is also having similar feelings of rejection and anger, but I realise that I need to make peace with my own complexities. This situation is surely not here for me to completely figure out. How do we automatically go about repairing something lost? Rather, the anguish seems to be present to reveal a hidden path to awakening: to know that we are all worthy of unconditional love, no matter what. And here lies the treasure at least for me. I must give myself permission to love myself for who I am in every moment and situation without judgement.
Truth might be revealed for a Reason
As we open ourselves to deeper awareness, some relationships are bound to leave us, even some of our most treasured ones. It could be that we are meant to clear space for entirely new people and situations outside of our known circle of friends and sphere of interest. By allowing ourselves to explore new hobbies, or areas of study, or moving homes, and letting go of what we thought we could never be without, we may be surprised by what enters our lives instead.
We may not feel ready, or hesitate as we force ourselves to venture out of our safe territory, but why focus on feelings of rejection or fear if an ending is surely a new beginning?
“In short, the greatest gift of relationship proves to be that as the result of encountering each other, we are obliged to grow larger than we had planned.”
~ James Hollis
In letting go of parts of what I took to be me, a ‘New Me’ is born; one that takes comfort in knowing that all the past emotional drama, the pain and suffering, were what lead me to inner peace. There is a sense of relief and gratitude.
We are entering an unfamiliar phase in the evolution of consciousness. It is all entirely new and no blueprint exists. Nobody has been here before; not you, not me, nor anyone else. At this time, it is more important than ever to vigilantly observe our emotions and thoughts. For what they are and not for what we wish them to be. Not to hide away from anything, or get lost in daydreams. Not to get swept away along with what are only passing sensations, and not to be held hostage by our old programming. No more holding on and no more suppressing; we allow ourselves to evolve along with the tide to shine in our own Light.
~ Claudia Roth
To Be-List when Life Overwhelms
- Know that we all have a power within to ground ourselves. Connect with Mother Earth by walking barefoot or sit still under a tree and imagine your roots entering deep into the earth. Know that you are able to weather any storm. This can cleanse you of fears.
- Engage your brain differently. Learn a new skill.
- Feeling exhausted? Start a self-care routine. The simple (but often difficult) act of thinking about yourself and asking yourself, ‘what do I need to feel good?’ is sometimes all it takes to shift the energies. Self-care is no longer a luxury. Instead, think of it as your own inner superpower. Self care starts with being aware of your own needs. No time for self care may stem from a deep seated belief that you are not worthy. Start with disentangling this and challenge any such beliefs. You can change and open yourself up to the treasure within – your True Self.
- Silence. Silence. Even a few minutes a day have the power to change how you feel about the world at any given moment and for the rest of the day.
- Don’t fall into the trap of avoiding feelings of discomfort or pain, it’s a false promise. Instead, feel what you feel. This will allow you to transcend the emotions. It’s as if they are accepted and integrated instead of pushed away and waiting to attack again.
- Prepare a cup of tea, pick up a book, and retreat to your favourite armchair or nook in the garden or park. Leave your phone behind; be there for you.
Allowing presence for me, and for you…
P.s.: I invite you to join me on a special retreat “In the Silence of Your Heart” in the heart of Tuscany. Request more info HERE.
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About the author
While Claudia was on a business trip to India and 3 questions later by a total stranger, she found herself questioning life. She eventually left a high-profile career. Being nobody was painful. Claudia fell into darkness and yet emotional pain awakened her to the calling of her soul.
She now helps people on their journey of inner transformation and awakening. Her work is influenced by studying ancient wisdom, shamanism and Ynana Yoga, the path of self-enquiry.
She is a Quantum Energy Coach, a Gong master, an author of a Self Love journal and the creator of a unique Soul Journaling process. She runs Sharing Circles for women.