To Fully Experience Bliss is to Intimately Know Pain
I’ve spent years building a life and business around optimism, positive thinking, good vibes and manifesting. So you might be wondering why on earth I am writing about pain, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear and grief. Well my friends, simply put, to know one is to know the other.
We’ve all experienced sadness, loss, pain and suffering to some degree. But what I am taking about is really knowing these emotions; befriending them, welcoming them in with loving arms and sitting with them as you would a dear friend.
Our tendency is to shut out, push away, block or dodge emotions like pain, sadness, fear and grief.
You see the lesser-desired emotions that I’m going to talk about, above, are often referred to as negative emotions. I think there lies the real issue, labeling emotions as good or bad, positive or negative, when really all emotions are the same, they are simply energy in motion; E-motion (also a great flick worth checking out). Yet, it is our natural tendency is to resist the “bad”, lesser desired, and cling to the “good”, more desired- both of which ultimately lead to our suffering.
Liberation and the real sweetness of life lies in fully experiencing it all. For to truly know bliss is to truly know pain.
It can be scary at first to invite in these lesser-desired emotions, as our natural tendency is to resist them and push them away. “No”, we say, “I don’t want to feel this. Go away. You’re not welcome here.” We fear that if we invite them in they will consume us and we’ll never survive.
You fear the pain will be unbearable, that you’ll surely drown in the sorrow, or be paralyzed by the fear forever. And so you continue to resist and hide, stuff away and burry, all while silently shaming yourself for the inevitable appearance of these lesser-desired emotions. Fear and shame fuel the cycle. Love and acceptance dissolve and transmute the energy.
What if I told you that it is not only safe to experience these lesser-desired emotions, but that in allowing yourself to do so, fully, you will open yourself to experiencing the more desired emotions more passionately.
To truly sit with and feel your deepest pain, heartache and sorrow is to fully experience happiness for no reason other than the pure magnificent beauty of watching the sun rise over the ocean, to gaze in absolute awe at the intricate beauty of a flower, to feel unconditional love move through your body as you sit in traffic, to shed tears of gratitude on your morning commute simply because life it just so marvelous and you cannot believe that you get to be a part of it. This my friends, this is the sweetness of knowing and feeling it all.
It is through knowing and experiencing pain, we get to know and experience bliss.
How to Explore Your Emotions
So we begin our journey with trust. We trust that whatever we are feeling will pass. Nothing is permanent and everything is impermanent. We trust that the emotion will not consume us.
Allow this truth to be your anchor. Once you are able to connect with this truth and you are able to trust, you can then explore and fully experience.
When the feeling arises, invite it in. Do this by engaging in an open conversation. Hello, fear, anxiety, sadness, I see you there and I welcome you in. What message do you have for me? What would you like to show me? And then, you listen.
You might find that there is another emotion under that one. For example I was recently experiencing deep sadness and when I opened up a conversation with the sadness I realized that under that sadness was really fear. So then I invited fear in. As I went deeper with the emotion and I was able to understand why it was there, while simultaneously allowing myself to feel it in my physical body, it began to dissolve.
Listen to the messages the emotion has for you.
Feel the place in your body where the emotion resides. Is it in your chest, stomach, throat?
Notice any urges to bolt or flee from the experience.
Are you able to instead lean into it just a little bit more?
Invite the emotion in just a little bit more.
Notice if it intensifies.
Come back to your anchor. Trust. Nothing is permanent. Everything is impermanent.
I have found this to be a continuous practice. Some emotions will come and go quicker than others. Sometimes I am unable to sit with them and invite them in. Sometimes fear takes over, fear that I’ll be consumed by the emotion, and so I return to it later. Sometimes I return many times.
But one thing is for sure, the more I invite them in and fully allow myself to experience them, surrender to their presence instead of resisting it, the more I allow them to move through me and eventually dissolve.
It has recently helped me to experience my grief, fear and pain as a part of my cocooning phase. In my cocoon I am undergoing a transformation, which can be painful, but soon I will emerge, transformed by the experience.
Life is meant to be experienced, all of it.
This is an invitation to fully experience the magnificent beauty of it all; pain, grief, fear, love, joy, and bliss-. Each a beautiful gift.
This is my wish for each of us, to find the courage to fully experience life.
PS courage comes from facing our fears, not living a life without them.