What My Yoga Therapist Taught Me About My Food Cravings

What My Yoga Therapist Taught Me About My Food Cravings - HSP Health Blog

Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel helpless and hopeless about something in your life?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “Yes” you have. If you are an HSP reading this you most likely have felt this way in your at some point. Life can feel a little jumpy and bumpy from where we stand, right?

Yoga And The Burden Of Chronic Pain

For myself, my hopeless feeling stemmed from living with chronic pain from an old back injury. I can keep the pain at bay, for the most part, through yoga and exercise. But as an HSP, I am also very sensitive to pain and I know that I feel things very intensely.

Even though I’ve lived with pain for years, the pain seems to shift and change. It’s as if I’m chasing it. Being the overachiever that I am, I wanted to stay ahead of the pain. I wanted to know how to “tackle” it when it got bad.

I decided to seek help from a yoga therapist. I am a yoga teacher myself and appreciate all the practice has done for my body and mind. But I was still feeling defeated, like I needed a new perspective outside of myself.

Yoga, Food Cravings And Routine

My new yoga therapist gave me exercises to do at home. Having a plan in place felt good to me. Natural. As an HSP, I thrive off of routine and love to know what to expect. However, living this way is also what kept me in a rut for so long, stuck in unnecessary pain because I was nervous to change up my routine.

Doing that meant that I wasn’t truly listening to my body and what it was craving. I kept trying to get better by doing the same old same old. I wanted relief but was afraid to change in order to get there.

While I loved routine, I also had to be flexible enough to branch out and try something new in order to really honor the needs of my body.
What I hadn’t connected up until this point was that just as I loved and did so well with a plan of sorts in place for my yoga practice, I also did my best with a plan in place for the food I was eating.

A plan that wasn’t too rigid. A plan that was centered around what my body truly craved.

The thing is, I steered clear of this for a long time after being too rigid with food. If I didn’t have complete control over every part of my eating, I felt overwhelmed. This unhealthy relationship with food is something I’ve worked hard to change—into something kinder, softer, more flexible.

So while lying in my very gentle side twist one night (feels amazing on my lower back), I realized something. I put two and two together, finally. The way I practice yoga is the way I eat.

I had been tackling my yoga practice like I was tackling my food cravings, and doing this wasn’t serving me or my body.

Lovingly listening to my body during yoga began to serve as a beautiful example of how I can also listen to my body’s food cravings. I could prepare my meals ahead of time—with care and attention—all with the intention of giving my body what it craves.

I began to ask myself questions like, “How do I want to feel after eating food?” and “Can I slow down, chew, and be more present during this meal?” and “Will this food hurt my belly me or make me feel nourished?”

And perhaps most importantly… “What food is my body actually craving?”

Learning From Food Cravings

I have a sensitive digestion and know that if I eat X (potentially harmful trigger food) I will most likely feel X (tired, bloated, cranky, etc).

I tend to breeze through eating, even through food choices themselves, without really pausing to get present and real what my body is actually calling for.

My adventures in yoga therapy taught me to feel what my body most wanted in the present moment. My body wants to feel free and at ease. It wants to feel peaceful. It doesn’t want to feel weighed down with pain and discomfort and tension.

My body wants to be listened to. Deeply. On my yoga mat and in my kitchen.

So I did that.

I started to turn off the TV when I was eating so that I could feel when I was full. I put my fork down once in a while during meals to help me pause and inhale oxygen, a crucial component to any dish. I relaxed into the act of eating. I chose foods that I knew would make me feel relaxed and free and ready for whatever is next, instead of sluggish and irritated.

I didn’t need to “tackle” anything—with the pain that sent me off to a yoga therapist in the first place or with my relationship with food. When I created a space for something new, I was amazed at what was possible for me. When I got quiet enough to listen to my body and what it was truly craving—that’s when I discovered what real freedom felt like.

I didn’t have much to do after that. Having a plan in place to rehab my body or eat healthy meals that my body wants are both important. But what allows for that plan to be there is my willingness to listen, love, and support myself.

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Self Sacrifice Can Make You Sick

Self sacrifice is very hard to escape.

It is so conditioned into us that whether you are an HSP or non-HSP doesn’t matter. You are subject to the expectation.

Self sacrifice carried to an extreme will make you sick, emotionally and physically.

Why is self-sacrifice such a problem?

Self Sacrifice Solves A Lot Of Problems

Self sacrifice solves so may problems:

  • if there are scarce resources, self sacrifice ensures that there is “enough”
  • if someone is abusive, expecting self sacrifice from victims “erases” a problem and injustice
  • if life is unfair, it is because self sacrifice is your “lot” in life
  • if the system does not work, self sacrifice enables us to avoid dealing with the problem
  • expectations of self sacrifice ensure that social inequities remain in place by allocating support only to some
  • expectations of self sacrifice maintain unequal relationships and relationships that are one way streets. They maintain power imbalances and the status quo.

How Self Sacrifice Affects An Individual

Self sacrifice feels devastating to the individual who experiences it. It is more than feeling like you are less than others. It is a way of appropriating the life force of one individual for the benefit of others.

For highly sensitive people for whom emotional vampires are a danger, a life of self sacrifice can be even more cruel since you are being both emotionally and usually physically exploited without any hope for reciprocity and care.

People stuck in self denying situations often feel angry depleted and robbed of their lives.

They are right!

Self Sacrifice Destroys Relationships

Self sacrifice is culturally conditioned. That means it is expeted and is often the basis of social and familial approval.

When such an arrangement is socially supported, change becomes more difficult, because the social support for change is not there. Generally some people benefit from the arrangement and therefore will not want to end it.

A sacrificing arrangement takes away the power from the person who is sacrificing, because it is in the nature of the relationships to deny the validity of any claims from the individual who is being used. That is why many people who have been in self sacrificing situations will feel rage and powerlessness at the same time: wo uncomfortable emotions and even more hurtful together.

An unequal self sacrificing relationship is set by expectation and social custom, therefore, it is not always possible to negotiate a beter arrangement, and if improvements are possible they are often hard won and hard maintained.

Without appearing too gloomy, it is important to be honest about the deep difficulties faced by those individuals and groups whose lives have been damaged by individual, group and systemic exploitation. When you grasp and feel the intractability of racism and sexism, you can have some compassion for those recovering from those forms of discrimination.

Self sacrifice may be physically and emotionally devartating to the victim, but it is also spiritually damaging, even more so for the perpetrator than the victim, although both are harmed, nonetheless.

Changing Your Life

Changing your life to one of healthy living and wellbeing is very challenging. It is important to treat oneself with respect during the difficult process of change.

People who seek more equal and more respectful relationships are often considered troublemakers, and misanthropes by those who gain from the inequity.

We see this resistance to change all over as our world gradually evolves to one where individuals share the world more fully. As desirable as equality is, it takes time to make a transition to an equality based life and can take a long time depending on the support that you have and receive.

As individuals recovering from racism can attest, the road to full acceptance can be a long one.

There are steps you can take to make the process easier:

  1. assess your skills and resources
  2. develop skills so that you can survive in the world
  3. determine shat your basic necessities are and get them met s that you need as little as possible during the process of creating a self respecting life for yourself.
  4. find support among people who share your desire and vision for a better way of life
  5. expect the process of change to take time
  6. honor yourself for making the journey

Developing a self respecting life is a hero’s journey. Those who undertake it deserve compassion and respect.

The Secret Gift Of Being Present

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The Secret Gift Of Being Present - HSP Health Blog

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Being present offers a secret gift.

Being present is something we are increasingly exhorted to be – something that identifies us as a good person.

It’s a shame because being present has the capacity to offer us so much more.

What Does It Mean To Be Present?

Being present is the source of all potential goodness in our lives:

  • being present means that we are not living in our heads. Our heads have a way of taking over and running our lives with ideas about life rather than life itself.
  • being present means that this moment is enough.
  • being present means that we are fully awake to everything in our lives.
  • being present means accepting our humanity with all of its faults and imperfections and also the same in others.
  • being present means also accepting our limitations.

Another way to say it is that when we are present we are grounded.

Why Bother?

So why bother? it is a mentally organized world with lots of different ideas about life that seem to have the upper hand making decisions about our lives for us, isn’t it?

Being present can means seeing, hearing and feeling the judgments and negativity of the world and that can be painful especially for highly sensitive people.

Who wants to drown in all of the injustice and meanness? I know I don’t. There is a part of us that wants to remove ourselves out of self preservation to a place with less conflict, meanness and pain. I expect that we all have that desire.

Being Present Isn’t A Time

Being present is often treated as a form of time but it is really more a type of space. The past and future really do not exist. They are fictions of our minds. They occupy mental space but they do not occupy real space. They can sideline us from the needs and demands of the present.

All of life is energy and space. What the past and future do is lay claim to our energy and divert it from the present. Usually this occurs because our memories become attached to the pain of negative judgments and we want to heal them. We are seeking away out of our pain. We are also losing the opportunity to live our lives when we allow the past and future to take over our attention.

What Being Present Offers Us

The past and the future are containers for fear and pain. They could even be considered distractions.

The present on the other hand is more of a door. It opens us to space and possibility.

The present is where all creativity lies. It is also the home of all generosity which it is one of the reasons it is so valuable:

  • in the present we can decide to give ourselves a break
  • in the present we can take better care of ourselves
  • in the present we can be kind
  • in the present we can create something
  • in the present we can let go of the part
  • in the present we can be mindful about our words and develop of skill at speaking and writing
  • in the present we can chose a new direction
  • in the present we can love
  • in the present we can offer a helping hand.

The present is where all positive actions take place. It is where we start over each moment in the creation of our lives. Each moment has to be met with our best intention which is how we extend to ourselves the same generosity that we extend toward others.

That is what makes the present the best place on earth.

Unfreeze Those Feelings!

The HSPs 7 Paths To Reducing Sensitivity - HSP Health Blog

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To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are.

Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go.

Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient.

Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings.

What Happens To Our Feelings?

Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators.

And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,  

“It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress…

He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom.

Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.”

Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick.

Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake

When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them.

When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, accept them feel them and listen to them. It is called metabolism.

Metabolism comes from the greek word ” metabole” for change or transformation. At any given time as we interact with our world we are in the process of metabolism – of perceptions, thought, feelings, emotions as well as material substances such as food and water.  All forms of life engage in metabolism, from plants to humans.

When we are unable to metabolize a food it will clog our bodies. When we are unable to metabolize or process emotions, they will clog our system as well. Ideally we process all food and experiences each day so that we are in a state of flowing with life. If only it were that simple!

It is often not  possible to process all information and feelings when they occur. Some feelings can be part of a larger process.  The grieving process is a good example of that.  However, the most difficult situations are those where an acceptable arrangement is not possible – situations that are abusive, demeaning, and dehumanizing –  because the pain of these situations often does long term damage to the energy of the body, and takes a long time to heal.

Learning To Accept And Release Feelings

It can be useful to think of feelings as information.  When the feelings are the result of a past experience transferred onto the present, it is a sign that there is unfinished business in the past that must be dealt with. Another way of looking at it is that energy has become blocked in the body, it has not been metabolized. Under these circumstances it is our job to accept the feelings so that they can be released.

There are releasing practices available including meditation,and the energy healing practices of eft (emotional freedom technique) and reiki that help with processing emotions. Writing in a journaling has been widely used and can be effective.  Therapy groups have been helpful to many.  The more severe the experiences causing blocked energy the greater the need for therapeutic solutions.  The body has its wisdom and in some severely abusive situations it will “store” emotions to be processed at a later date if that is what is needed to survive.

Highly sensitive people and severely abused people need to be aware that they can accept and take charge of their healing process by finding therapeutic practices and groups that will let them forgive and let go of the past. Engaging in such practices helps minimize the potential for long term destructive addiction and therefore is valuable for all people.

For More Information:

Stress, Addiction And Weight



Your Breathing Matters

breathing 2 – Out © by pumpkinmook

Do breathing techniques matter?

Isn’t it simply a matter of breathing in and out somehow?

It’s actually a little more complicated than that.

Breathing can have an extremely beneficial effect on us or create damage in our organs and tissues as well as create disease.

Breathing is major.

How Breathing Makes A Difference

Breathing matters because it affects how much oxygen is in the body.

Too little oxygen in the body can create all sorts of complications. Holistic Online cites a 1947 German study which showed that when the body was deprived of oxygen, healthy cells became cancerous. Oxygen insufficiency can cause of many illnesses in particular heart disease, circulatory problems and stroke.

Many people do not realize that oxygen plays several roles in our bodies.

Betty Hart discusses the changes that take place in the body when oxygen is inadequate in her excellent article. She demonstrates the powerful and comprehensive role that oxygen plays in the healthy functioning of our bodies:

  • oxygen plays a rejuvenating and regenerative function in our cells.
  • oxygen is also needed to help remove wastes in the body. With inadequate oxygen, toxins can build up in the body; we are, in effect, smothering our cells with toxins.
  • inadequate oxygen is often considered a cause or a leading factor in metabolic disorders. Diabetes, obesity and hypertension are considered metabolically based conditions.

Oxygen And Stress

Stress affects oxygen in the body.

Under stress, the body will

  • mobilize oxygen and whatever else it needs to the cells,
  • call up emergency supplies (nutritional stores) to support handling the physical emergency
  • shut down digestive processes because they are not critical when the human system is under threat
  • breathe in a shallow manner which reduces the amount of oxygen coming into the body.

So we are using more and taking less in, which results in oxygen depletion. We are also interrupting many bodily functions including digestion. So stress is disruptive to the body on many levels. If the stress is constant, an individual can easily become sick.

Oxygen, Breathing and HSPs

So how does this relate to highly sensitive people?

Since HSP’s are very susceptible to stress, and because their sensitivities can result in chronic stress, they are vulnerable to oxygen depletion and its effects. As a result HSPs can not only suffer from cell depletion since they are not receiving the regenerative effects of oxygen but also a build up of toxins in the body because oxygen is not available to remove toxins.

Highly sensitive people have a higher need than average to develop strategies to minimize toxicity, and maximize health giving oxygen and nutrients in their bodies.  Strategies that reduce stress, deep breathing techniques that increase oxygen in the body and good health habits can turn around a potentially deadly situation of chronic stress for HSPs.

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How To Beat Triumphalism And Heal Emotional Wounds

Emotional wounds are very difficult to heal.

They are even harder for highly sensitive people to recover from.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

What Happens To Emotional Wounds?

What is an emotional wound?

An emotional wound is damage to our spirit and therefore our life force. It is an attack on our heart and soul.

When we have an emotional wound it becomes part of our body and psychic system and stays there until healed.

For highly sensitive people the healing process is longer than for others. We get hurt more often, we see the hurt in the world around us and can be overwhelmed by the damage being done. We can feel wounded and helpless.

Our bodies can become littered with unhealed emotional wounds which can make it very difficult for us to function.

As it is, we are already challenged by our sensitivity and stress levels so if we are harmed with emotional wounds, our health and well-being can be in serious trouble.

Do You Reinjure Yourself?

Emotional healing can be more difficult because we reinjure ourselves. Reinjury can happen with our intending it.

The biggest cause of our reinjury and our greatest potential for healing comes from understanding the systemic nature of reinjury.

I appreciate the need for acountability and responsibility, however, we cannot heal unless we know what we are up against so that we can take constructive action.

What we are up against is an approach to life called triumphalism.

What Is Triumphalism?

According to Wikipedia

Triumphalism is the attitude or belief that a particular doctrine, religion, culture, or social system is superior to and should triumph over all others. Triumphalism is not an articulated doctrine but rather a term that is used to characterize certain attitudes or belief systems by parties…

Triumphalism, then, is a group attitude shared by the individuals involved. Because of its social nature, it can be the basis of the group’s identity. Nationalistic, patriotic, religious and other groups often subscribe to triumphalism.

Triumphalist groups act to conquer others. Conquest is one of their primary missions.

If you examine modern cultural discourse, much of it has to do with conquest. Even those sectors of society that we think of as helping us like health care us conquest as their model:

  • conquering the common cold,
  • conquering various diseases
  • conquering old age

are all ways of speaking and talking about health. It’s all about an adversary that we are trying to subdue.

Triumphalist thinking about health care is evident in the media. Look at the television show House. Every show is a triumph against another health adversary – almost killing the patient.

How Triumphalism Hurts Us

Triumphalism is systemic therefore we encounter it every day in one form or another:

  • in other people
  • in social settings
  • at work
  • even in our families if that is how they think.

Unfortunately we are not having a public discourse on triumphalism, so it can be very difficult to get a handle on. When we discuss problems they tend to be thought of as individual problems.

By hyper individualizing problems in a triumphalist system, we put the burden of survival on the individual and expect them to support a triumphalist system that can only hurt them. We essentially have stacked the deck against the individual without being really honest about it.

In a triumphalist system, your value is dependent on your contribution to sustaining that system. If you do not subscribe to triumphalist thinking then you perceived value automatically goes down. That can be very frightening in a world with few safety nets.

Triumphalism shows up in our daily interactions with others. It is the source of snobbery and one upsmanship because triumphalism pits one against the other. If you are not into competitive social engagement and most HSPs are not, then you may feel very out of sync with your world. Because you are!

How To Heal Those Emotional Wounds

Healing emotional wounds take time but here are some tips to heal from triumphalism and take your life back:

  1. take stock of your life and how many wounds may have come from triumphalist thinking and behavior that caused you to feel devalued or worse
  2. take stock of how much triumphalist thinking is a part of your life:
    • work
    • family
    • friends
    • activities
  3. recognize that you may need to make some changes to reduce the incidence of triumphalist events and people in your life.
  4. list where you have more collaborative relationships and see if you can develop more.
  5. if your work environment supports you, terrific! If not look at how you can use you current skills in a more creative or collaborative environment and consider starting a process of job change.
  6. see if those who have harmed you are in the triumphalist camp and whether you can let go of the negative experience. If you see that behavior as unacceptable to you and one that you are phasing out of your life, your constructive action can help make it easier to forgive and let go.
  7. develop strong self care routines. Nothing defeats triumphalism like great self care. Take great care of yourself is actually a revolutionary act.

You Can Heal

By treating triumphalism as an impersonal and mistaken approach to living, you can take back your life, honor your past without succumbing to self pity and elevate your needs for healing and quality of life.

Depersonalizing the hurtful behavior helps you pull your energy in so that you are not available for further destructive interactions. You will be freeing yourself for more positive relationships and pursuits. You will also be freeing yourself to develop your creative potential.

HSPs have suffered for a long time from the dark side of triumphalism.

We deserve better and should give ourselves the better lives we deserve.

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Protect Your Life Force: Awareness For HSPs

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Our life force is our energy.

As a highly sensitive person, I am very energy sensitive as I am sure you are.

Being energy sensitive means noticing the claims and demands on our energy from others.

Protecting our life force and being good stewards of our life gift is our job.

However being an HSP makes this a particularly challenging job.

There are many ways to deal with interpersonal claims for our time and energy.

One way is to be aware of ways in which someone can try to lay claim to our life force.

Ways Of Laying Claim To The Life Force Of Another

There are many ways to lay claim to the energies of another person. Some you will have experienced and others you may use yourself.

This list is not exhaustive but it will help you notice when it is happening:

  1. expectations. This is one we all do at some point or another, perhaps even all the time. We form expectations and they then run our relationships.
  2. fear. One of the easiest ways to lay claim to another’s life force is by creating fear, or putting your fear on them.
  3. guilt. One of the big energy thieves of modern life, with guilt we put the burden of our life on someone else.
  4. promises. When we make promises and do not keep them, we are stealing someone else’s life force, by pretending a level of relationship that we are not willing to maintain.
  5. demands. When we make demands, we are being entitled to the time, energy and labor of another.
  6. values. Values are a very useful tool in managing our lives and committments. However, when we impose our values on others we are demanding that they live on our terms. Even if we have great values, it is important to honor the dignity of another person.
  7. emergencies and dramas. We have all met drama queens and know how time consuming and draining they can be. They demand that they be put ahead of others and attended to because of their emergencies. If the dramas and emergencies are ongoing, they can serious drain others of time, energy and resources.
  8. mindsets. A mindset may be a handy way of making life decisions, however, when used in relationships, they deny the individuals the ability to be in the moment and relate on the basis of what is. Mindsets can be a preconceived way of relating that stifles others and therefore drains them when they were expecting a more dynamic interpersonal arrangement. Mindsets include ideologies of all kinds and the demand for conformity.
  9. identity. Identity can serve many purposes. It can be constructed in order to promote special claims. One example from the United States’ identity: we created the concept of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny to support an expansionist agenda.
  10. victim role. The victim is an identity that deserves its own special category. We all experience being a victim. It is only problematic when it becomes our identity. When it becomes our way of playing weak and using other people to do our work for us.
  11. generalizations. Generalizations can be dangerous. When we generalize about people we create discrimination which is systematized energy theft of other people.
  12. all forms of physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse are a demand that someone be who we want them to be and serve our interests.
  13. projection. One of the most hurtful things we can do is to project ourselves onto others and not allow them their reality and perceptions.
  14. copping out. When we cop out, we put our work on someone else.
  15. emotional dumping. Although we all have bad days and need someone to listen to us, expecting someone else to take care of our feelings all of the time is unfair and a way to take their life force.

I am sure you can think of other ways that people lay claim to the energies and life force of another person.

How To Protect Yourself From People Who Want Your Life Force

Self protection for highly sensitive people is a big subject.

Although there are many things we can do to help ourselves including healthy living practices, meditation, and energy healing, we will need to address the energy draining experiences from other people.

In order to protect ourselves there are a number of strategies that are helpful:

  • see if you can make a list of difficult people situations for yourself and cut out as many as possible. One of the greatest and most damaging myths is that strong people “take” abuse and that it is OK with them.
  • if you want to learn to handle an interpersonal situation better, take one at a time and work on it. Notice where the interaction goes poorly.
  • notice when others define you to you, themselves and others. Reframing our identity to ourselves and publicly to others can help. “No. I am not a wimp. I refuse to waste my time on needless fights that waste everyone’s time and energy.”
  • since we are sensitive, aggressive people will try to provoke us. Decide that you will ignore them. Most people cannot ignore aggression but it is a useful skill to learn not to react.
  • although this may not be a very HSP tactic, it can be helpful to make someone look foolish. Say you are at work, and there is someone who is bugging you in some way. You can ignore their negativity, and find something positive to say (“Nice tie you are wearing…) and let go off the situation. You will be perceived as someone who tried to cheer someone else up. It is a good strategy for handling public baiting.
  • let your HSPness work for you. HSPs are interesting. Use it to help others and develop a reputation as an interesting and valuable person. As you do, it will be harder for energy stealers to take advantage since they will not find the social support for doing so.
  • be willing to say no to requests and expectations of those who are hostile to you, whether at work or elsewhere.

These are just a few strategies.

Some people who drain your energy will respond to changes you make in what you do including requests for space and considerations. Other will not.

You do not have to take care of relationships and situations that are harmful to you.

No matter what others are doing, you can honor yourself.

 

 

 

Say Good-Bye To The Pain Body

 

Say Good-bye To The Pain Body - HSP Health

Santa María de la Cabeza (Aparición en escombro), Detail © by Daquella manera

Does pain seem to have a life of its own?

Do you ever wonder why that is?

What Is The Pain Body?

Everything that lives wants to continue living. The pain body is a part of us and like everything else wants to go on living. So says Eckhart Tolle in this article courtesy of Detoxify Now.

The pain body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, “become you,” and live through you. It needs to get its “food” through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence, and even illness.

The pain body is an energy field that is a part of your energy.  We all have all of the energies as part of us and access to them.  When we deny energies we get in trouble because we are cutting ourselves off from a part of us.  On the other hand, if we identify with our energies too much we also get into trouble, because we then protect the energy. So whatever we reject or protect creates problems for us.

How The Pain Body Gets Created

Sometimes the pain body comes into our lives even if we do not want it to because of our living conditions and situations.  Often we are introduced to the pain body as children through our families, religions, and communities through violence, discrimination and other life problems.

Pain needs to be processed and released; it should not be a constant in our lives.

Although we may experience pain, it becomes an more serious problem when we come to believe that pain is something we deserve, or the only real condition of life. Many people are taught that pain is what life is all about. To think otherwise can be considered an act of betrayal by your social group. Under these circumstances, pain is personal and inevitable. Pain then becomes part of our identity as individuals and as a group. It dominates our worldview and how we relate to the world.

Once it becomes our way of life it can be difficult extracting ourselves from the pain body. Because pain is inevitable in life, it can be easy to personalize it when the opposite might be more appropriate.

We are most vulnerable when we are young to indoctrination into mindsets and role and rule social systems that are harmful and painful.  We can be conditioned to become servants to struggle and various forms of violence rather than individuals who are co-creators of the world along with everyone else.  And so we become victims and victimizers. We join the pain body and turn our lives over to it.

What To Do About The Pain Body?

According to Eckhart Tolle:

The pain body, which is the dark shadow cast by the ego, is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness. It is afraid of being found out. Its survival depends on your unconscious identification with it, as well as on your unconscious fear of facing the the pain that lives in you. But if you don’t face it, if you don’t bring the light of your consciousness into the pain, you will be forced to relive it again and again. The pain body may seem to you like a dangerous monster that you cannot bear to look at, but I assure you that it is an insubstantial phantom that cannot prevail against the power of your presence.

So the pain body doesn’t want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it presence.

It is a huge act of courage to look the pain body in the eye and say no to it. You may not necessarily get support for doing so. So it may seem like a revolutionary act and it is.

But the light in you needs to face and let go of the pain body.

Once you do that the pain body cannot keep you as victim any longer. You have moved into your light which is also your health and your natural abundant creativity – a life affirming creativity based on love and joy.

This is your natural home. Once you are there you will feel lighter because you are no longer carrying your piece of the pain body.

The world is currently in the process of waking up from the pain body. I say join the party. Have a ceremony, a funeral for your pain body. Send it on its way. And celebrate a new life. You deserve it. We all deserve it.

Subtle Energies – The Path To Health

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subtle energies - Creative Commons License photo credit: jenni from the block

Subtle energies are what you notice when you are in stillness.

Subtle energies are precious information.

Subtle energies have truth in them, but they don’t scream and yell their message. They are there to be discerned.

Subtle energies are where highly sensitive people live.

A Lost Skill

Subtle energies require good listening skills. Somewhere in the progress of the human race, we seem to have stopped listening.

Our early ancestors may not have had our material sophistication but they knew how to listen to the energies around them. A tracker for a tribe, any hunter, and shaman or medicine man knew about subtle energy and what the various energies meant. Their knowledge was a matter of life and death.

Subtle energies are fluid and moving. They are not tied to anything. They just are.

Subtle energies are present everywhere and in everything. They include everything. They include time, space, materiality, qualities – hard, soft etc., attitude, and direction.

Subtle energies are our path to the flow state. They are also our window to the connection of mind and body that many of us have lost.

Subtle Energies At Work

One of the best examples of a great use of subtle energies is Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system.

Ayurveda categorizes everything by subtle energies.  Each of the three human body types of doshas is a group of subtle energies.  All three exist in each of us in different combinations.

When Ayurveda suggests food for a dosha, it is recommending the best subtle energy choices that will support health in a particular individual. Each of the seasons and stages of life represent different subtle energies as well. This is the reason that Ayurveda has become a great resource for people seeking a way to manage their health themselves.

Understanding subtle energies can help us respond intelligently and in a life affirming way to what is in front of us, in our culture and in our daily lives.  Ayurveda and the energy healing fields are pointing us increasingly towards effective methods of health and healing by helping us relearn and master subtle energy skills lost by our cultural disconnection from nature.