"The cure for pain is in the pain." -Rumi
At first glance this may seem harsh. Most of us were taught at a young age that 'good' feelings were socially acceptable and 'bad' feelings needed to be avoided. There is often shame around 'bad' feelings.
Simply put, the cure for pain is not to think more about it or push it away, the cure for pain is tofeel it in the body; to experience it and allow the mind body system to safely process it.
This past weekend, integrative medicine physician, David Forbes, MD, led our IHH cohorts on the topic of Love, Safety and the Reanimation of the Body.
He stated that many of us learn how to disown our inner experiences and pretend to be "fine" as a way to avoid harsh judgment, social isolation or abandonment. Oftentimes, when bad feelings arise, not only is there the pain of bad feelings but an inner narrative about how wrong it is to feel this way. By abandoning our lived experience, energy can become frozen in the body, causing illness and blocking the body's natural healing abilities.
Men and women are taught to "deal" with bad feelings differently but in equally unhelpful ways. Unprocessed anger can result in explosive outbursts and violence at one extreme and depression, anxiety and self-isolation at the other.
Socially acceptable ways to deal with scary feelings often involve alcohol, sex, shopping, eating, social media or other numbing activities. Even spirituality can be used to bypass our feelings by studying the latest guru or mindfulness techniques.
While any of these activities are harmless in and of themselves, if we are unaware that we use them for dissociation, we don't learn to honor our inner experiences and allow feelings to be thoroughly processed.
Dr. Forbes invites us to cultivate safe, loving communities and practices that allow us to stay in the body, feel and let them discharge. When the narratives and judgments about these feelings are dropped,unconditional love emerges allowing their healing and repair.
Cultivating unconditional love for 'bad' feelings is the cure for pain. We just have to unlearn all the mind patterns that block it.
"Vengeance is a lazy form of grief." Nicole Kidman