I remember when I was in the trying stage of my spiritual journey. Trying to get rid of my pain. Trying to get more pleasure. Trying to be some ideal Tantrica or Yogi. Trying different relationships, different methods, different strategies. This trying was fraught with suffering, drama, disappointment, attachment, resistance, pressure and expectation.
Then the real spiritual journey began. When I stopped trying and decided to be fully present and fully alive with my direct experience. When I began to surrender to whatever was showing up in my inner and outer world. When I began to truly listen to my body, my emotions and my heart with humility rather than impulse.
It is for this reason that in all my sessions, workshops, retreats I teach people to start asking the right question.
So many people are asking the wrong question, whether they know it or not and that question is inevitably: “How can I get rid of my pain and discomfort?” or, “How can I control my life to avoid pain and discomfort?”
The right question is, “How can I deeply open to what is here in my experience with tenderness instead of resistance?”
In this week’s blog we explore why the authentic spiritual path is not an absence of pain but rather a full embrace of it. So that when we are scared, we can shake. When we are sad, we can cry. When we are angry, we can growl – without making anyone our saviour or enemy. We learn to just be with what is without resistance then deepen intimacy through vulnerability rather than creating separation through the minds narrative.
This is deep, brave work.
PAIN, SPIRITUALITY & RELATIONSHIPS
A lot of people pursue spirituality as the answer to their pain. “If I become awakened then I won’t have to feel pain anymore.” That’s simply not true. Awakening does not mean that you are no longer human and as long as you are human, you will feel pain. It is part of the deal of being in a human body and experiencing separation, essentially from God.
When we LIVE Tantra, we do not divide human and spiritual; and we do not think that life or relationships should be free of pain. We realise that pain and pleasure will always be in the flow of life and that we must fully embrace the mess as well as the bliss of the human condition.
We realise that any outer conflict is a reflection of our inner conflict and resistance. Why? Because they are our closest reflection. Our partners show us everything that is missing inside of us as well as everything that is unconscious within us. Of course our relationships are going to bring up pain! And yet our primary motivation (whether we are aware of it or not) for a lot of relationships is to save us from our pain and lead us to the yellow brick road of happily ever after.
But as we found out in Wizard of Oz, the yellow brick road is a hero’s journey – filled with not only joy but also challenge. As we come to know ourselves and break free from the confines of our known safety, so too must the heart and mind break open.
We have this idea that someone special, a soulmate, the “one”, the perfect partner, the wizard at the end of the road will have the answers to take us “home”.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the human pull to intimacy and relationship, but unless it’s fully exposed and integrated, and unless you have a willingness to get honest and see it for what it is, it remains an unconscious shadow that consistently creates suffering. You are the only one who can take you home – home to the realisation that whether you are feeling pain or pleasure you can be in your ease. You can release the stories and the narratives and simply be with your direct experience, free from the resistance to pain that creates suffering.
Resistance manifests in archetypal expressions such as the Victim, the Know it All and the Wounded Child. If you would like to look deeper into these shadows, please look at our online course: Ignite Your Power.
The seeking of fulfilment through another is very similar to the seeking of freedom from pain through spirituality. Seeking freedom from pain through spirituality has the same hope that it will take all your pain away. The same dream that you will be finally complete, finally whole, finally always happy. The same delusion that somehow your life will be perfect, and you will have everything you want. The ego is looking for something outside itself in order to be satiated, elevated, or made complete, at least temporarily. This creates these unrealistic expectations that we shouldn’t feel pain in our relationships because they are there to fulfil us and free us from our pain. Likewise, we shouldn’t feel pain if we are ‘spiritual’ because of the idea that spirituality is there to fulfil us and free us from our pain.
Inevitably however, whether you are ‘spiritual’ or not, whether you are in relationship or not, you are going to feel pain. And if you expect spirituality or a relationship to save you from this pain, you are going to be disappointed and think that there is something wrong with your relationship or something wrong with your spirituality.
THE DREAM BECOMES THE DRAMA
When our expectations of the perfect life are not met, we create drama out of our resistance to pain and keep searching for a perfection that doesn’t exist. The dream of relationship becomes the drama of relationship and the dream of spiritual awakening becomes the drama of spiritual awakening.
Very often, what you call love is the feeling of the other giving you what you want in order to make you feel good. When inevitably, the other doesn’t give you what you want, when they don’t respond to you the way you were expecting, when things don’t go according to plan or they do not live up to your ideal vision of them, you create separation in some way through withdrawing (flight) and/or arguing (fight).
Internally, you abandon yourself and/or create an internal war from your resistance which manifests a tight knot in your belly.
What if instead you turned tenderly toward your pain and surrendered to it? What if you could move and breath and release that knot through your full acceptance of whatever arises in your human experience?
HOW DO I OPEN TO MY PAIN INSTEAD OF RESISTING IT?
You open to our pain when you:
- No longer run from it (flight) or project it (fight)
- Turn your attention inside rather than outside (pause, come into stillness and breathe)
- Accept it and stay present to it (be here, now rather than in the narrative of the past or future)
- Express and Release it (allow it to move through your body with breath, sound and movement)
You may also need some bodywork by a skilled practitioner which is a wonderful and often necessary support for releasing deeply held trauma and tension locked in the body and mind.
You can book sessions with me or our team of skilled ELIYAH practitioners, in person in Perth or online, via our website HERE.
Individual or couple sessions are a great way to identify and work through debilitating patterns in your life and relationships. In these sessions you will learn how to:
– Value, protect and care for Self
– Cultivate healthy masculine and feminine
– Empower inner and outer relating
– Overcome addictions, anxiety, depression & stress
– Get through difficult times such as relationship break down
You will also experience Energy-based Body Work which includes:
– Flushing trauma from your nervous system so that you can be in your ease
– De-armouring the heart and the sex centre so that you can expand into more love, pleasure and self-compassion
– Awakening your consciousness and sexuality
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You can also check out our upcoming Living Tantra retreat in Bali in March 2020.
During this retreat you will look at and learn how to release all the way you try to avoid pain – through your relationship, your spiritual practice, your addictions, your hidden motives, your control – and all the ways that you attach to pleasure – through expectations, chasing a certain goal, being fixed on things looking a certain way. When we spend our lives avoiding pain and attaching to pleasure we cannot be in the present moment. When we live Tantra, we can not only just be in the present moment, but we can be fully alive and fully aware in this moment, resisting nothing and embracing all the human experience.
Designed to move you closer to the most authentic Self you can be, this retreat helps you integrate Tantra into all aspects of the human experience, with each day dedicated to working with one of the 7 chakras. There will be lots of deep embodiment practices so that change can happen at a cellular level. There will be a very safe container to hold you in this transformation.