Can We Still Be Friends After The Breakup?

Leave a comment

Wild FlowersKatelynn shared during the introduction to one of my classes that she had been struggling to cope emotionally after a recent breakup. I asked her if she could tell us what brought about the dissolution of the relationship. She told us that significant differences in their needs and values were generating a lot of conflict. Her former partner left on short notice when he was offered a job in California. I asked Katelynn if she was making any effort to keep in touch with him. Katelynn told me that she found it too painful to keep in touch and so she stopped returning his calls.

I had Katelynn close her eyes, begin to breathe softly and deeply and bring her former partner to the forefront of her awareness and then tell us how she was feeling. Katelynn said that she was feeling mildly depressed, isolated and numb. Katelynn later shared that she was missing her former partner and that she was experiencing a profound sense of emptiness combined with feelings of sadness and anger. She said that the whole experience left her wondering what she had done wrong.

Katelynn told me that the pain and pressure that she was experiencing within her body let up as she continued to work with the practice of breathing into the feelings and sensations. After some time she began to experience a greater sense of peace, calmness and ease.

The wound that never fully heals

The loss of a love can be especially devastating. The painful emotions that arise while we’re in the midst of a breakup can leave us feeling overwhelmed. The intensity of the feelings gradually diminish over time, but that doesn’t mean we have thoroughly processed our losses.

The vast majority of us have never learned to work constructively with our feelings. And many of us never fully process these losses. Much of the grief, hurt, sadness and disappointment remains trapped within our bodies. The painful feelings that arise in response to the losses that we experience over the course of our lives form layers of armor as they accumulate within our bodies. In many instances we end up building walls around ourselves. Someone who is well matched for us may come along at some point, but our fears and suspicions create barriers that prevent us from trusting or letting anyone in. The deadening resulting from our leftover emotional baggage also prevents us from being as fully present.

It’s Complicated

Breakups can be especially complicated. We develop a strong attachment for the person that had been a part of our life and there are qualities about them that we truly love. We often experience a painful sense of longing after the breakup for what is no longer. There are also circumstances that get in the way and aspects of us and our partners that that made one of or both of us feel that the relationship was unworkable.

Letting go can be that much more difficult for those of us who haven’t learned to process our feelings. The parts of us that are not processing emotionally cannot let go because they are still living in the past. We do tremendous damage by tearing ourselves apart in the process of separating from our partners.

Deliberately hurtful or just being true to themselves

We all say or do things at times that are hurtful to others. Partners that are especially abusive can leave us with deep emotional wounds. It’s important for us to know abuse when it’s happening and to sever all ties with those who have an inclination to inflict verbal, emotional or physical harm upon us. We also need to distance, if not sever ties with former partners that are toxic. That can be hard to do in some instances, especially if there are children involved.

We sometimes feel hurt when our partner’s feelings and needs do not reciprocate our own. But that doesn’t mean they are intentionally doing anything to hurt us. They may just be being true to themselves by doing whatever it is that they need to be doing at this point in their lives. In some instances they may be misguided, confused and making all kinds of mistakes. And yet we need to be able to let go and allow them to live the lives of their own choosing even if that doesn’t involve us to the extent we want it to.

The only constant is change

Every now and then someone comes into our lives with whom we share a special bond. We may only know these individuals for a short time or they may remain an active part of our lives for many years to come. Our feelings and needs change over time and so do those of our partners. Differences in values, needs and expectations can create incompatibility. Sometimes the people that we have invested in can no longer live up to the promises they have made or meet our expectations. But that change doesn’t necessarily mean that these individuals are no longer an important part of our lives or that we have to completely sever the bond. Doing so can be very damaging to everyone involved.

Change is the only constant. Everyone and everything we know and love is in a continual state of transition. We often experience feelings of hurt, loss, sadness, disappointment and anger when we, our partners and our relationships change. Breathing softly and deeply while fully immersing our awareness in the midst of these feelings helps us to reconcile conflicting feelings and expectations so that we can allow the people in our lives to be who they need to be and our relationships to evolve. Maintaining our connections to the people that have played an important part of our lives as we and they change is an important part of our healing and personal growth.

The feelings that arise when a relationship with someone that we once shared a romantic connection begins to go through a transition can be very uncomfortable. We may feel hurt and angry, but at some level we still love this person. And if they ever experienced feelings of love for us then they probably still do. We’re still relating to this person with whom we share a connection and yet the relationship is not what it used to be. It can be an awkward adjustment when we’re still interacting with the same person and yet we’re no longer physically intimate. We often feel anxious that our former partners will start seeing someone else and it often hurts when they do. It takes some time to adapt to new sets of boundaries, ways of relating to one another and the continuing changes that take place.

Attachment and Loss

Liz was six to eight weeks out of the relationship when she first came to my class. The remainder of this chapter is taken from a series of conversations we’ve had over the past few months.

Liz: At the time came to your class I was in this crazy place where my whole life was changing. Everything that I was most terrified of was happening. I thought I was searching for a partner and going into romantic relationships in a mature way. I was looking for support so I didn’t have to go through life alone. Having to do it all for myself was terrifying because for much of my life I felt that I couldn’t always rely upon or trust my parents.

Don and I met when I reached out to him on Ok Cupid. I noticed on his profile that he had also traveled to India. We chatted a bit, talking about our experiences in India. Don told me that he had just moved to New Hampshire and that he was teaching himself to cross country ski. We agreed to meet to go cross country skiing for our first date. I started spending a lot of time at Don’s condo and after six to eight months he bought a house and I moved in, believing that this was a serious relationship.

I invested so fully and quickly in Don and our relationship once I sensed that he was really interested. We got together four years ago and I never adjusted that image. I was in it for the long haul no matter what. I really stuck with it all the way through despite the fact that a lot of changes were occurring during our final year together. On some level I knew intuitively what was about to happen and that scared the shit out of me.

Don started pulling away from me in September and then we broke up in May. He became more invested in other things, but I didn’t adjust my level of commitment to the relationship or my dependence on him. So when Don broke off the relationship in May, it felt like my entire support system was gone.

I couldn’t extract my grief from the terror I felt over what was going to happen to me. I was angry with Don. I was having so much difficulty concentrating and my energy was really diffuse. I was desperate to have something move at the point when I came to see you.

I finally got all of my stuff out of Don’s place and moved to an apartment. Don was focused on selling his house. Finding new homes for the dogs was really traumatic for both of us. I felt the trauma of it too because one of the dogs was mine, but I had no control in the situation because at the time I didn’t have enough money to take them. There wasn’t much communication between us during that time. I don’t think we spoke for three to four weeks. I was feeling this big empty hole and felt like I was operating as half a person.

Tour de France

I was doing a lot of biking, working with a physical therapist to address some of the structural issues pertaining to my body over the summer and then I started working with you. I had three weeks of vacation time at the end of summer before starting my new job. I wasn’t sure how to fill that time so I was asking all of my friends and trying to come up with ideas. I was thinking of going camping in Maine or taking a road trip to another city, but no one was biting.

Don was leaving in August to go and travel for the next two years. He had been planning to tour Europe by bike for three months and he said to me “Why don’t you just meet me over there. We’ll do the bike trip and you can spend your three weeks touring with me.”

I wasn’t sure if spending my three weeks on a bike tour with my ex-boyfriend was a good idea, but I remember talking with you about it. Everyone else thought that was crazy. And they were asking me “Why would you go on this international bike trip with an ex-boyfriend that had recently broken up with you?” You had said that it would probably help me to work through the loss. I had a feeling that everything was going to be okay and it felt like it was a trip that I wanted to do, so I went ahead and did it.

I did have a contingency plan. I made a concerted effort to plan things so that if it was really horrible and felt awful that I had all the equipment with me to keep doing the bike trip by myself. I would have done the exact same trip on my own, about a day’s worth of biking behind him, because he’s a much faster rider than me.

Lovers to friends

The trip was awkward at first. There was a learning curve on what it was going to be like because we were so freshly broken up. We had all kinds of logistical details to deal with from the time we started the trip. Don was really trying to not be such an asshole in the ways that he traditionally was. We had to get the bikes on the train one evening to get to the ocean. I was trying to find something I could eat on the train that wouldn’t aggravate my food allergies. I got back close to the time the train was leaving and I could see that Don was clearly frustrated and then he snapped at me.

I went right back into my old pattern of feeling awful but not saying anything about it. I was thinking “This sucks and it’s not any fun.” But then he apologized saying “I’m sorry. That whole situation was dumb. I shouldn’t have been mad at you.” I could see that he was clearly making an effort.

Then something else happened within a couple of days. I was feeling weepy, sad and lonely. We were staying in this international hostel. All I wanted was to have my pain be seen and acknowledged and maybe have a hug. We were in this room with bunks and I was curled up on a bed crying. Don washed up and then went downstairs to work on his travel blog. I stopped crying after a while, cleaned myself up and went down to work on the blog with him. While we were sitting there alone in this lounge I let him know that I was having a hard time and that I felt bothered by the fact that he acted like I wasn’t even in the room and then left. I didn’t like it that he was ignoring me and that it was making things worse. I told him that I was feeling alone, unseen and that he didn’t care if I was upset.

Don then acknowledged what I was feeling saying “I’m sorry that I just walked out on you. You must have felt so awful when I just walked around you like you weren’t there and then left. I was just trying to give you some space because I didn’t know what to do. I thought that I was doing what I would have wanted, which would have been to be left alone. But that’s not what you wanted at the time and it actually made you feel worse.”

Don then asked me “Well, if it happens again, what should I do?” I responded by saying “Why don’t you give me a hug?” Don said that he wasn’t sure if that would be okay. I felt comforted by the fact that Don actually listened and then relayed back not only what I said, but insight based on it. He was clearly paying attention and putting two and two together. I felt during that conversation that he really understood me very well. He gave me a hug and I felt seen and acknowledged. For once he totally got it.

There were a number of days when I had bad moments. One day I was crying and biking for a full hour. I probably biked ten miles crying. I had my sunglasses on so people couldn’t tell I was crying. I said to myself “I’m going to keep going.” And so we did.

Processing

On a trip like that you really do have to depend on each other. We had to work as a team. In some ways our dynamic was very similar. We were still the same people, but in other ways it had changed. One of the really nice things that happened is that I was able to separate all the pain I had of being alone and losing the support and being afraid of the future and being angry at him for breaking a promise and not supporting me. There was a separate grief, which was really important for me to get to. The trip gave me the opportunity to gain access to that grief. It made me clearer on the fact that I do love this person and I don’t want to not talk to him. I don’t want him to be gone. I don’t want someone else to be having these conversations with him.

It took me several months for me to realize those were separate sets of feelings. On the one hand I’m feeling “Shit! What am I going to do? How dare you break your promise?” On the other I’m thinking “I really did love you and I wasn’t just using you for your support.”

I’m happy that we were able to spend the time together and that we’re still in touch. Don is off touring Europe now so we communicate via G-chat and talk on the phone occasionally. I don’t know when he will be in the Northeast again.

Moving On

A huge percentage of my free time was devoted to Don and the life we shared together. After living together in Don’s house for a year I moved down to Boston to go to law school and he stayed in New Hampshire. For three years we talked on the phone every night. And then on the weekends I would either travel back up to New Hampshire to see Don or he would come down to Boston to see me.

Before I would go into the weekend thinking to myself “I’ll see Don then we’ll decide what we’re going to do together.” That’s all gone now. What I find really disturbing is the feeling of having to get used to doing everything on my own. It’s like “What am I going to do? I have to go find my own friends and make my own plans.”

I feel like I’m becoming more emotionally independent. I’m getting used to the fact that he’s not there and I’m finding that there are other people I can talk to when something happens. And I can also process things on my own without having to talk to anyone at all. That’s giving me some space to move forward. I feel like I’m doing a relatively good job evaluating my life, what’s real, what kind of things I want to invest in now that I have this new single life. I’m figuring out what I want in my job and I’ve been getting involved in this meditation center. It would have been really hard to do that if I was still feeling as shitty as I was.

Ben: I knew there was some risk involved when I encouraged you to go on the road trip with Don. I didn’t exactly know how the road trip was going to turn out, but I had a strong intuitive sense that you needed to go and spend the time with him in order to do the processing needed to heal from the breakup.

Liz: Many of my friends were telling me to not talk to Don for a year saying that it would make me feel better. I felt the absolute worst during the three weeks that we were not talking at all.

Ben: I see other people that follow suggestions such as those given by your friends and not talk to their former partners for a year, if ever again. It has much to do with their lack of emotional-cognitive sophistication. They end up shutting down portions of their body – mind consciousness.

Completely severing such a bond can be very destructive to everyone involved. Abruptly severing ties is very jarring to our body – mind. Cutting off makes it much harder for us to process the hurt, fear, sense of loss, confusion, anger and other feelings that are a normal response to the changes taking place in our relationship. These emotions are more likely to remain trapped within our bodies. We end up hurting ourselves in ways that negatively impact our ability to form healthy attachments with potential companions that we encounter along the way.

We may need periods of time after a breakup where we agree not to see each other, talk on the phone, text or email to help facilitate the transition. This time apart can help us to adjust to the transition taking place by enabling the various parts of us to reconcile or come to terms with the fact that we are now in a different kind of relationship.

Liz: It’s been a year since my housemate broke up with his girlfriend. Now he’s constantly dating several women at a time, but he isn’t actually connecting with any of them. He’s only using them to hook up and doesn’t take it any further. He doesn’t appear to be at all conscious of what he’s doing.

Ben: Much of the population is so disconnected from their pain. They never really process emotionally and heal the wounds they suffer in a breakup. They end up doing a lot more damage to themselves and others by acting out. They sort of, but not really connect with others. Sadly, many people continue to operate indefinitely at that level of unconsciousness in their romantic involvements.

I’m seeing lots of change in you over the past few months. I could feel how you were in a very raw and vulnerable space when you first came to my class and that concerned me. You were contracting or closing in around the hurt of the breakup. The healing sessions that we did enabled you to do the deep emotional processing needed to facilitate the healing of the emotional wounds going back to your relationship with you parents and those pertaining to the breakup of your relationship with Don.

You’ve become more resilient and that’s enabled you to make the transition much more gracefully. The sessions helped you to process much of the grief while putting you in a more receptive space that made it possible for you to learn and grow from the experience you had with Don. There’s considerably more work to do, but you’ve made a lot of progress.

Liz: I think that’s true. And the work that we have done has also affected me in some ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ve made some progress in my relationship with my parents. My anger and expectations towards them had limited my ability to have a better relationship. I was able to let go of some of the expectations I had of my parents and that made it easier for me to accept them for who they truly are.

One aspect of the real pain I felt with Don was not knowing why he left. I kept asking myself “Why? Why? Why?” I felt this huge need to understand the reason behind his decision to leave and understand that it wasn’t my fault.

Going on the road trip gave me the opportunity to reflect on everything that happened between Don and I over the past few years and that gave me a fresh perspective. Don had gone from kindergarten through grad school without a break and then straight into a job. He had been working for five years and always felt lot of pressure from his father. I could see how all the demands and responsibilities were weighing so heavily on him. The house and dogs that other people might have appreciated were very burdensome and he felt like he just couldn’t take it anymore. So he extracted himself from all of that in stages.

I could see the things Don was doing such as taking time off and getting rid of all these things that were burdening him was probably the right decision for him. It sucked for me to lose it all after four years of investing in him and yet he was not enjoying his life. I could see that it was very courageous of him to leave his job and live off savings for two years. Seeing Don so unburdened and joyful and realizing that he hadn’t been happy made me realize that it wasn’t about me. I could see that Don had chosen the wrong lifestyle for himself and he was trying to make a correction that was really in line with his heart.

Ben: I doubt that you would have come to this realization you had if you had not done the healing sessions and gone on the road trip with Don. This whole experience turned out to be a crucial part of your healing after the breakup. By being open and present you have been able to do much of the healing and gain understandings that you probably wouldn’t have come to otherwise.

Liz: I’ve read a number of books by the author Cheryl Stayed. One of the things she says repeatedly in her writing that really got to me is “The fact that someone wants to leave is reason enough to leave.” The reason Don wanted to leave is because he felt like he had to and so he did. I felt some sadness. I wondered why he wanted to leave. I didn’t want him to leave, but he did.

So much has happened since we made that road trip in August. I started listening to a podcast one evening called Dear Sugar. A woman that called in that evening was struggling with a recent breakup. She said there was an amazing chemistry with the man she had been seeing for the past year, but he had now distanced himself from her saying that he was discovering that he really liked men and needed time apart to discover if he was bi or gay. He said that he really did care about her and that his ending of the relationship wasn’t about her. Relationship expert Dan Savage who happened to be on the show that evening said “People don’t breakup with someone they truly want to be with. They give you some excuse to try to make you feel better so that you don’t hurt as much. But that excuse becomes the sword that you fall on. You end up getting more deeply hurt because you’re hoping that they will come back. You end up thinking “He’s going to discover that he really does love me.”

Listening to that podcast made me reflect on my own situation. The big reason Don gave me for breaking up is that he was going on this trip, that it would be really long distance and that it didn’t make any sense to continue the relationship. He then said that it wasn’t about me, but about the circumstances. The part of me that was holding on to the hope of Don returning was thinking “Maybe when this trip is over Don will return and we’ll get back together. He really does care about me. It’s not about me. It’s about the trip.” But that’s just not true. If Don really wanted to be together, he wouldn’t have broken up with me and would have maintained the relationship while he was traveling.

Don and I had a conversation over the phone not too long afterwards. I was trying to get him to admit things that he had done that made it easier for me to believe that our relationship was permanent and that he was serious about it even though he had already backed out. I admit that I had a part in not wanting that to be true, but I think he did things to lead me to believe that he was in it for the long haul.

I was really clear that I wanted to be married someday, but there were times when I felt insecure and I would ask Don if he was really committed to the relationship. He would respond by telling me “Well look at my actions. What are my actions telling you?” Don’s actions were telling me that he was a settle down sort of person. He had a job that he took very seriously, bought a house, a car and had two dogs. We also saw each other every weekend. And so I kind of took him at his word. But he never really intended it to last. In his view he feels that he was very clear that marriage was never on the table.

Don also said on many occasions that he didn’t believe in marriage as an institution. He felt that people go through so many changes and that it didn’t make sense to make a promise to stay together, to continue to care about one another and make the relationship work. He said that to him it only made sense for people that had been together for a really long time and then got married for practical reasons like taxes or health insurance.

In my mind I was thinking that Don and I would stay together for a long while and when it made sense we would get married. Don felt like he was saying that marriage was not on the table, so don’t look for it. I took what Don said as meaning that it was definitely a possibility while he felt like he was saying that it was not.

Don didn’t make it clear to me that he was not in it for the long haul even though he knew that at some level. In some ways, that deprived me from of the opportunity to leave earlier. Had I done so, I wouldn’t have had to experience that huge loss all at once. We were having this conversation and he wasn’t owning his part of what happened between us. He took no responsibility saying “I have nothing to apologize for. I did a really good job.” I realized that I was never going to get what I wanted out of him on this. I really let go of a lot in that conversation.

Ben: The person doing the breaking up doesn’t always know what they want. They feel uncomfortable and they’re afraid to be honest by coming right out and saying “I really don’t want to be in the relationship with you anymore.”

Liz: Don and I have talked a lot less since that conversation. I had been holding onto the hope that Don would get tired of traveling and that we would get back together. Holding onto that hope was holding me back. That conversation enabled me to let go of the hope. We’d been catching up once every ten days or so. The conversations felt more generic and the connection had faded a bit having lost some of its intimacy, but that wasn’t as terrifying as it had been before. Things have been moving in a very different direction since that conversation. I’ve been focusing more on my new job and getting more serious about my meditation practice.

Ben: Whether or not we can remain friends depends on our own needs and considerations as well as those of our former partner and the unique chemistry between each pairing of individuals. We may find it difficult to open to or trust a former partner because of the damage that’s been done. We sometimes outgrow former partners or we realize that we didn’t have much in common to begin with. Sometimes it is best to just let go and move on.

Just because the romantic relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean that there isn’t a potential for a meaningful friendship. Couples that were horrible as romantic partners sometimes make the best of friends. The romance can sometimes die out, and yet there’s still a deep love for one another. Some couples need to maintain a cordial if not friendly relationships for the sake of any children involved. And there are those who manage to work out their differences and get back together. It’s up to each of us to tune into our feelings, needs and intuition to determine the extent to which we open ourselves and allow our former partners to be a part of our lives.

Liz: Don visited Boston a week ago and we had lunch. It went fine. We caught up a little about my job and his travels. I felt myself holding myself back from him this time – in my mind I kept wondering “What are looking to get out of this?” I would listen to him talking about how he doesn’t miss the burden of having dogs or owning a home and feel my disappointment that we were just very clearly not on the same page. I didn’t talk to him about that feeling, though, because it’s not that kind of relationship anymore. At this point, in answer to the question of whether I think I can be friends with my ex, I would say this: we can be cordial, I’m curious to know what’s happening with this person who holds an important place in my life story so we’ll stay in touch, but we can’t be close and intimate friends now. My trust in him has been broken, I’m too disappointed, and I need to open up that intimate connection space so it will be available for someone else someday.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

A special thank you to Kathleen Lolley for granting me permission to use her painting “Wild Flowers.” Be sure to check out her work at http://www.lolleyland.com and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LolleyArt

Why Emotional Intelligence is So Crucial to the Success of Our Love Lives

Leave a comment

enamoured II
Rachel has dated lots of men over the past fifteen years and at one point she was engaged to be married, but the relationships never seem to work out. None of the men that she has become involved with have been an appropriate match. Some have also had serious emotional problems. Rachel’s attempts to make sense of her interactions with these different men has left her with a lot of confusion and frustration.

Most of the people that show up in my classes are having difficulty in their relationships. Some struggle with patterns of abandonment and unrequited love. Many are in the midst of a painful breakup or divorce. Others are stuck in horrible relationships with partners that hurt and abuse them. But many of these individuals can’t seem to let go of their partners and move on even though their relationships are causing them so much distress. The emotional pain that they haven’t been able to process keeps them locked into a holding pattern that prevents them from letting go of partners and relationships that are not working.

Our technologically advanced society places a high value on intellectual development. We may be intellectually sophisticated and yet we are often stunted in our emotional development. Being stunted emotionally seriously impedes our interpersonal development. That’s why so many of us lack empathy, compassion and the ability to understand ourselves and others. Our emotional — interpersonal deficits greatly limit the extent to which we can form any kind of healthy attachment.

We’ve learned to shut down and disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies from the time we come into this world and that greatly impairs our ability to gain access to and process our feelings. It is through the parts of our body – mind consciousness that experiences feelings and emotions that we form attachments.

We need to be able to process our feelings so that we can know when someone is a good match for us or not. We need to be able to process our feelings so that we can address the issues that arise and bring the conflicts that are a normal part of being in a relationship with another human being to resolution. We need to be able to process emotionally so that we can let go of our attachments to partners that are not healthy. We need to be able to do the deep level emotional processing in order to learn and grow from our interactions with others and form healthy attachments.

Spinning ourselves around in circles

Many people come to my classes expecting to hear a lecture or thinking that they’re going to talk their way out of their suffering. And then they wonder why I have them sitting there with their eyes closed doing meditative practices. We do spend some time discussing the issues and concerns of everyone in attendance. But the primary emphasis is to get people out of their heads and into their bodies by doing the practices that will facilitate healing. I’ve learned through my own experience and that of the many people I’ve worked with. Attempting to think or talk our way out of our heartaches spins us around in circles and that downward spiral keeps reinforcing our suffering.

There is an intellectual component to healing and yet many of us over do it and end up getting stuck in repetitive loops of thought. We can never think or talk their way out of these kinds of dysfunctional relationship patterns. Our attempts to make sense of what’s happening by over-analyzing what’s not working in our relationships keeps generating more fear, anxiety and other painful emotions. The accumulation of these emotions reinforces our dysfunctional patterns.

We can work with a life coach or spend years of our lives and thousands of dollars on psychotherapy. We may come out of our coaching sessions or therapy with “how to strategies” or an intellectual understanding of our suffering and yet the patterns that have caused so much pain and stress in our romantic involvements keep repeating themselves.

I am not in any way saying don’t work with the psychotherapist. Psychotherapy can be a very important part of our individual healing process. I went to psychotherapy for three years and I would sit there talking about what wasn’t working in my life. I gained a much needed intellectual understanding, but it did little to help me do the deep level emotional processing necessary to heal the wounded parts of myself. The same kinds of dysfunctional patterns kept playing out in my relationships. I had to incorporate other practices and resources to facilitate the healing of the deep emotional wounds.

Lack of understanding

Two men and eight women showed up in one of my recent classes. One of the two men spent much of the class processing the grief and emptiness over the death of his wife. The first woman that spoke shared that she had never been able to get back to herself since she broke up with an abusive boyfriend two years ago. She was feeling a deep sadness, along with a sense of being unsafe and unsupported as a result of having lost her boyfriend. A young Malaysian woman revealed that she has been suffering from depression. This woman’s soon to be ex-husband couldn’t deal with her moodiness and lack of engagement. The husband ended up having an affair. This woman’s emotional distress was greatly exacerbated when she discovered that her husband had been unfaithful. She said that her emotional state is constantly fluctuating and that she’s always looking for an escape. A Korean woman told us how angry she was to find her boyfriend texting another woman even thought he was open about the matter and assured her that the other woman was only a platonic friend. She admitted that the feelings of jealousy were making her crazy and that she would sometimes cry, become violent and start hitting her boyfriend.

One of the younger women that attended that night told us that she was scared to let go of the boyfriend she had broken up with nearly a year ago even though he was seeing other women. She was still obsessed with her former love and overwhelmed by feelings of anguish, hurt, jealousy, regret and self-pity. I spent some time looking into her aura afterwards. I could see that she was extremely ungrounded and strung out on her former partner like an addict craving her drug of choice.

None of these individuals knew how to work constructively with their emotions before attending my class. All of them indicated that they felt better after I had them go through the practices. It remains to be seen whether any of them will follow up to do the much needed work that would facilitate the healing of their own woundedness.

People often show up in my classes a time or two and then disappear. It saddens me because I see and feel the fear, pain and confusion held within their bodies. And I can tell by looking at, listening to them and feeling what’s going on within their bodies and minds that they do not possess the understandings or resources that would enable them to fully heal the deep emotional wounds on their own. Many of the same patterns will continue to play out in their relationships. They will most likely attract the same kinds of partners and reenact the dramas of past relationships all over again. And some will just give up on romantic relationships all together.

Cultural deficit

Most people in our present-day Western culture cannot grasp the kinds of ongoing practice that people in the various ancient spiritual traditions have done for thousands of years to develop their bodies and minds. So many of us lack the discipline and drive that would compel us to do the practices with any kind of regularity. Many of us are also overwhelmed by the demands placed upon us. We’re also finding it difficult to keep our minds focused because our brains have been rewired by our excessive use of technology. We say we don’t have time to devote to intensive practice. But we might be surprised how much time would become available when we cut down on the amount of time we spend surfing the net, playing games and watching television.

As a society, we tend to be very outwardly focused and that’s why we possess such a limited awareness of our own internal state of being. Many of us do not understand our own emotions. We’ve never learned to work constructively with our feelings and have absolutely no conception of the amount of deep emotional processing that is needed to truly facilitate the healing of the wounded parts of ourselves. And many of us are so fearful of going to those wounded places within. This whole range of our body — mind consciousness remains stunted in its development. Our resistance to experiencing the full range of our feelings perpetuates the dysfunctional patterns in our relationships that continue to cause us so much suffering.

Healing can only occur when we do the deep level processing and make use of the resources needed to facilitate the healing of our emotional wounds. Only then can we develop the emotional intelligence that will enable us to create the kinds of healthy and loving attachments that we truly need and desire.

Looking into the mirror

We’re immersed in a culture that operates at the very surface most levels of awareness. Many of us excel in our professional lives, at various creative endeavors and other areas that we’re passionate about. And yet we often feel hurt, lost and deeply confused when it comes to interpersonal matters.

Our relationships serve as a mirror of the conflicted issues and unprocessed emotions that we’re holding within our bodies and minds. Dysfunctional relational patterns such as the inability to commit to or be faithful to another person, unrequited love, abandonment and becoming involved with unstable and abusive partners are all reflections of how deeply wounded we are and the fact that we have failed to develop emotionally. The vast majority of us fail to recognize and make use the opportunities to heal our woundedness that are being presented to us within the context of our relationships.

Much of the population cannot easily access their feelings. Those of us who find it difficult to access to what we’re feeling will have greater difficulty working through conflicting thoughts and feelings. Therefore we cannot understand our own needs, desires and other driving forces working beneath the surface.

We all have a conscious and subconscious mind. The part of us that is conscious is primarily aware of our current set of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations and the environmental input filtering through our sensory channels at any given moment. Our subconscious mind contains all of the hurts, losses, confusion, disappointments, conflicting needs and desires and issues that we have failed to bring to resolution.

Shutting down or avoiding the feelings and issues that we rather not face only widens the gap between our conscious and subconscious minds. Those of us who have shut down emotionally and that have disconnected from the wounded parts of us do not really know ourselves. We cannot possibly understand or be intimate with another person because we are not able to understand or be truly intimate with ourselves. We cannot really see the other person for who they truly are because we are so blinded by our projection. We act out our anger, fear, hurt, insecurity and confusion by saying and doing things that are hurtful to our partner. And for that reason our relationships turn into a series of big messy dramas that involve little learning or growth.

Relationship as a journey of healing and personal growth

Relationships just don’t work very well when we’re deeply wounded …at least not for very long. I used to get so caught up in my own projections that I couldn’t see the women I had developed an attachment to for who they truly were. I would try to get these women’s attention and to get them to reciprocate what I was feeling. In some instances I would unwittingly push to the point to where it made them feel uncomfortable. A few of these women cut me off completely. I was then hit with the reality that my feelings and desire for connection would never be reciprocated. I would then find myself engulfed in this all-consuming pain. And the torturous pattern just kept replaying itself.

I suffered a great deal of abuse during my childhood and adolescence. Much of the drama playing out in my romantic relationships was a reenactment of past trauma. These painful dramas were a reflection of my own woundedness. Nothing changed for the better until I did the work necessary to facilitate the healing of the deep emotional wounds. Facilitating these changes required a tremendous effort. Despite the fact that I’m in a much better space, I continue to see the journey of healing and growth that I began as a lifelong process of transforming my body and mind.

Many years of intensive training in the Chinese Internal Martial Arts of Xin Yi Quan, Baguazhang and Chi Gong with Sifu Li Tai Liang has shown me a side of ancient Chinese culture that is very wise and deeply connected to the forces of creation. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from all of my training is the value of intensive daily practice.

I do hours of intensive practice to develop my body and mind from the time I get out of bed in the morning. I begin with Chi Gong and other forms of Internal Martial Arts practices. And then I’ll do about an hour of a special meditative practice that I’ve developed over the years that helps me to digest what’s going on in my life and any subsequent feelings that arise. Working consistently with these practices helps me to develop a stronger connection with the authentic core residing deep within and the higher power.

I begin the meditative practice by acknowledging whatever is happening within the context of my relationships. From there I’ll direct my attention to what I’m feeling in response to what’s happening and to the parts of my body where the feelings are situated. I then begin to breathe softly and deeply while centering my awareness in the middle of the feelings and sensations that arise.

Processing what I’m feelings in this way enables me to take whatever is happening in my life and use it as fuel for growth. Processing these feelings gives me an intuitive understanding of myself, the person with whom I’m relating and the nature of our interaction. It helps me to communicate more easily and effectively. I’m finding it much easier to bring issues to a place of resolution.

Much of the trauma of my childhood and adolescence was so deeply ingrained within my body and mind. I would have never fully healed these wounds on my own. Deep tissue body work helped to bring the emotions stored in my body up to the surface so that I could process them. I worked with a number of exceptionally powerful healers whenever the opportunity presented itself. I also went on many vision quests, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. The healing sessions and vision quests enabled me to build a whole new foundation.

The overall quality of my relationships improved as I began to take the steps to facilitate the healing of the parts of me that were so deeply wounded. The romantic projections began to lose their intensity and dissolve. I then found that I was no longer attracted to unavailable, disingenuous and abusive women or those with whom I did not resonate.

The many years of intensive practice has made me very empathic. I began to feel the presence of the women that I found myself attracted to and the way they reacted or responded to me. I also became more acutely aware of my own feeling and energetic responses to the women with whom I interacted.

There have been many instances since that time where I would approach or engage a woman in conversation when I felt a strong physical attraction. But then I would realize that there was nothing more than physical attraction. I got to a place where I could politely disengage if I felt a lack of resonance or sensed that the woman I was speaking with wasn’t in a good place. At other times I would realize that there was a lot of common ground with the woman that I had been spending time with, but I also had a clear sense that the connection was one of platonic friendship.

I have friends of both genders and yet in many ways I find it easier to relate to women. I most enjoy spending time with sensitive, open-minded, creative, caring and intelligent women that I can learn from. For me, one of the most difficult aspects of living in New York City is the fear and suspicion that many women hold towards men. Sadly, there are significant numbers of badly behaving men in the city that give women legitimate reasons to be concerned for their safety and wellbeing.

There have been instances in which I’ve engaged with women and it was quite obvious that we both enjoyed the interaction and shared many common interests. The potential was there for friendship and possibly something more and yet their fear and mistrust made it difficult for them to be receptive. I have sometimes felt sad about the missed connections, but I’ve found it easier to let go. Some of these same women were more receptive to me when I ran into them at a later date. I’m also noticing that more women are drawn to me and that they feel safer in my presence as I continue to heal and grow.

Relationships are very much a learn as we go process. We will invariably make mistakes along the way. I have at times felt ashamed over the lack of awareness, sensitivity and understanding that I demonstrated the past. Working with the practice I’m describing in this chapter enables me to be more cognizant of the feedback I’m receiving. I’m better able to learn from mistakes and to correct course when necessary and relate in healthier ways.

Having the ability to access and process what I’m feeling adds greater depth and dimension to the interaction while making it possible for me to relate from a place of greater authenticity. Breathing into the feelings and sensations that arise in response to what’s happening in my interactions makes it possible for me to be that much more fully present. I can then use whatever happens within the context of my relationships as fuel for growth. I’ve become more intuitive and empathic and that enables me to be more in tune with the needs and considerations of my partner and other people with whom I engage. And that has resulted in a huge increase in the overall quality of my interactions. I’m also seeing these same kinds of changes taking place within those who have the opportunity to work with me.

Cultivating emotional Intelligence

The practices I’m teaching in my classes of becoming fully present to any feelings or bodily sensations that arise in response to what’s happening in one’s personal interactions cultivate emotional intelligence. Breathing into the feelings and sensations as they arise awakens the innate healing intelligence residing within the body and mind. This healing intelligence facilitates a process of “digestion.” Whatever happens within the context of one’s relationship can then be used as fuel for growth.

I sometimes feel as though my hands are tied when I’m sitting in front of the class room. I see and feel the extent to which people are wounded as I’m looking into their bodies and minds. In many instances the wounding is so extensive that it cannot possibly be healed by practice alone. These individuals need serious intervention to facilitate the healing that would not otherwise be possible. It’s very unfortunate that the majority of those in attendance have absolutely no understanding of the healing practices of the Native Americans and other ancient traditional cultures. And therefore they have absolutely no sense of what’s truly possible.

Native American’s didn’t have access to the kinds of modern medical interventions that people in today’s world depend upon. They lived out in the wild and learned to rely upon the forces of nature. It was a fairly common practice among many of tribes for people to go out to fast alone in the mountains without food or water for four days and nights. Many of these individuals received various gifts and healing capabilities. The traditional native doctors would allow other forces or beings to work through them to facilitate healing within the body and mind that would not have otherwise been possible.

Some of the more gifted traditional Native American doctors went on the vision quest many times over the course of their lives. At some point towards the end of their lives they would transmit portions of their power to a younger apprentice. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a number of years training with one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Since that time I have furthered my development by going on many of the vision quests.

The presence working through me during the individual sessions facilitates the healing of the deep emotional wounds associated with patterns of abandonment and unrequited love. The emotions become more manageable as the grief and other painful feelings associated with a breakup, divorce or death of a loved one are diffused and then digested. Changes taking place within the biochemical makeup and neurostructure of the brain and the building of the infrastructure consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura create greater mental — emotional stability and a sense of well-being. Those who have the opportunity to work with me become more firmly rooted in their bodies. Their connection to the authentic core residing deep within and the higher power grows much stronger. The profound awakening that takes place within the body and mind provides tremendous insight and understanding into the patterns that have played out in one’s relationships. The changes resulting from these sessions also make it possible to attract healthier companions and create more fulfilling relationships.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Collective Unconsciousness

Leave a comment

Munch-Evening
Collective conscious or collective conscience is a term introduced by French sociologist Emile Durkheim that refers to the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. There are many overlapping fields of collective conscious. Every family has its own collective conscious. So do cities, states and nations, ethnic, cultural, religious and political groups. There is also a collective conscious of humanity as a whole.

People within every facet of society operate within a certain range of consciousness or lack thereof. Not only do people operate from the various forms of collective conscious. They also operate from states of individual and collective states of unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness is a state that occurs when the ability to maintain awareness of the self and the environment is lost. Unconsciousness is evident in the lack of awareness or understanding in various groups of people. Our state of unconsciousness is also evidenced in the addictions, violence and other abuses perpetrated against people and animals, the destruction of the planet, wars and other forms of dysfunction that play out individually and collectively.

We are all conscious or aware to varying degrees and yet there is so much more to our feelings, physical bodies and minds, the world around us and other people that we are not aware of. So much of our lack of awareness stems from the fact that parts of our consciousness have either failed to develop. Or we have shut down, deadened or disconnected from them.

The loss of innocence

We come into this world with an innocence and purity about us. But many of us are deeply hurt as a result of the hurtful words and actions of those entrusted to care for us, siblings, teachers and classmates and others with whom we interact. We cope the best we can and yet we internalize so much of the suffering we experience because we lack the understanding and resources needed to facilitate the healing of the deep emotional wounds.

We try to fit in to the best of our ability because of our needs for love, approval and acceptance, but we tend to lose touch with ourselves in the process of being what we think other people want us to be. Despite all of that, our bodies and minds are incredibly resilient throughout our childhood, adolescence and into early adulthood. The life force flowing from our core compels us to learn, grow and adapt to other people, our surroundings and the challenges of our daily lives. But it’s only a matter of time before the deep emotional wounds and vulnerabilities begin to surface.

The abuses suffered during my childhood and adolescence began to play out in my romantic relationships during my mid-twenties. I found myself attracting and being attracted to women that were either uninterested, unavailable or that reenacted the traumas of my past. These women were a reflection of how deeply wounded I was at that time.

I suffered terribly as a result of these patterns of abandonment and unrequited love. The all-consuming pain that arose was debilitating and I felt as though I were flailing in the dark in my initial attempts to heal the deep emotional wounds. I knew that I could not continue to live like that and I was willing to do whatever it took to get to a better place.

I had an instinctive sense that I needed to breathe softly and deeply while diving into the middle of the overwhelming pain and feelings of abandonment. The pain was so intense at times and I feared that I would go right on over the edge. But doorways began to open as I learned to move through the middle of the pain. The pervasive darkness gradually abated. I could feel these powerful emanations of warmth flowing from within as my authentic core self began to emerge and my connection to the higher power began to grow stronger.

The practice I’m describing is quite powerful, but that alone was not enough to heal the deep emotional wounds. I started receiving deep tissue body work and working with a number of powerful healers whenever the opportunity presented itself. I started going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food and water.

I felt much lighter and my range of motion began to expand as the debilitating emotional wounds healed. I gradually began to attract healthier friends and companions, but I didn’t stop there. I naturally assumed that I would make further progress in my personal development as long as I continued to work with the practices and resources that had facilitated my healing.

My assumption was correct. I could feel parts of me emerging that I never even knew existed. I developed greater resilience along with many new skills and capabilities and my range of motion continued to expanded. The many years of intensive spiritual practice that I have gone through to heal my own woundedness and develop my body and mind has also greatly heightened my sensory capacity.

While speaking with people or spending time in their presence, I began to get an acute sense of their intellectual and emotional range and then I could feel where it stopped. I could feel how people disconnected from their thoughts, feelings and physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. I could feel the pain, fear, confusion, anger and other emotions that people were holding within their bodies and minds. I felt the parts of their consciousness that had shut down or failed to develop. And I could see how that prevented people from functioning in many areas of their lives and realizing their true potential.

People I spoke with often told me that they didn’t want to possess the heightened level of sensitivity that would enable them to see or feel what’s going on within others. And that they rather not know or be aware to this extent. The problem with being so desensitized is that it amounts to going through life with the blinders on. It prevents us from seeing what we’re getting ourselves into and the consequences of our actions. We end up doing a lot of unnecessary damage to ourselves and others.

Behind the façade

One of the things I enjoy most about my work is getting to work with all kinds of amazingly creative, intelligent, gifted and highly functional people with a clear sense of purpose and direction that excel at what they’re doing. I’m working with artists, writers, musicians, attorneys, architects, engineers, educators and people in the financial industry, healing arts and medical profession. I work with many successful entrepreneurs that have built their own businesses. I have also worked with ministers, priests and swamis. Many of these individuals are making valuable contributions to society. Some are truly compassionate, caring and have tremendous amounts of love to give.

A large portion of society gets up and goes to work in the morning and then comes home after the long day to watch television, surf the net, shop and eat. Many are successful by society’s standards, but their work leaves them unfulfilled and they lack any real sense of purpose or direction. They have their friends and interests, but in many instances there doesn’t appear to be much learning or growth. They seem to be more interested in getting comfortable.

Some people appear to do little more than take up space and use up more of the planet’s resources. And there are those who are doing lots of damage to themselves, others around them and the world in which we live. Fortunately, this is a phase that many people grow out of.

Our culture is so much about surface appearances that it lacks much of the range and depth found among some of the indigenous communities and people of other ancient cultures. And we lack the power, presence and connectedness to the forces of creation found among individuals in the various ancient spiritual traditions that have attained mastery through many years of intensive practice. Even the most highly functional people in our modern day culture that appear to have their act together are only using a very small portion of their true potential.

Much of the populace maintains surface appearances by saying and doing the right things. Most manage to function in their jobs because failure to do so could potentially jeopardize their survival. Behind the polished facade, there’s often a tremendous mental and emotional immaturity and a woundedness. A large percentage of the population suffers as a result of the traumas and chronic stresses that they have experienced over the course of their lives. Many people have been emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused during their childhood. Many have been sexually assaulted as adults. Many have suffered the physical and psychological traumas resulting from surgery and automobile accidents. Everyone suffers as a result of having gone through painful breakups, divorces and the death of friends and loved ones. Many struggle with patterns of abandonment and unrequited love or have attracted unfaithful and/or emotionally and physically abusive partners. This suffering is made worse by the fact that people are not fully equipped to process these traumas.

A large percentage of the population is on antidepressants, anti-anxiety and/or psychotropic medications and a wide range of other pharmaceuticals. Many medicate with alcohol and other recreational drugs. The medications we depend upon may help to dull the pain. Our drugs of choice may help us to escape monetarily, and yet the the substances we take to escape from or dull the pain also deaden our consciousness.

People’s deep emotional wounds are often compounded by their unwillingness to fully experience their true feelings and address relevant issues head on. Many do not even consciously register the emotions held within their own bodies. They cannot clearly perceive the issues that need to be dealt with because their consciousness is so muddled by the accumulated mental – emotional baggage held within and the fact that their bodies are in such a poor state of health. In many instances the hardware that actually facilitates consciousness begins to breakdown or degenerate and that further impedes people’s ability to process their emotions, bring issues to a place of resolution and heal their bodies and minds.

I’m interacting with people that are anxious, depressed, struggling with addictions, suffering from traumatic stress and a wide range of physiological health issues every day. I see and feel how wounded people are. I also recognize their untapped potential. I try to convey what I’m sensing and the fact that I possess gifts of healing that can address many of these issues. One of the unfortunate consequences of going through life suppressing one’s feelings and avoiding the issues is that many people are so out of touch that they do not realize how bad of shape they’re in or feel the need to do anything about it.

Some people are aware to varying degrees and yet they’re not willing to address the issues. Others do recognize the problems, and yet they have no understanding of the fact that those of us who have undergone such intensive training and that have received the transmissions of power possess gifts that will facilitate the healing of many of these issues. And many are just not willing to try something that they’re not familiar with. Sadly, many people who could heal, realize so much more of their true potential and live much healthier and more meaningful lives continue to suffer unnecessarily.

Disconnectedness

There are so many aspects of the world we live in from the increasing demands of our everyday lives, the technology we depend upon, the drugs we use to get high, the pharmaceuticals we take to block the pain and alleviate other symptoms and the foods we eat that are taking us further and further away from ourselves. That’s why it takes a such a concerted effort for us to remain present nowadays.

Many of us are becoming so outwardly focused that we cannot even perceive what’s taking place within our own bodies and minds. That makes it so much more difficult for us to understand the connection between the dramas playing out in our daily lives and our internal state of being. It’s this disconnect that many of us are experiencing from our feelings and physical bodies that leaves us so far removed from the underlying source of our problems and the resources that would provide the much needed solutions.

Many of us are either unwilling or unable to be present with our feelings, physical bodies and the realities of our daily lives, therefore we move through the world in a state of disconnectedness. Our relationships with our friends, romantic partners, children, parents and other family members all suffer as a result. So much of what we fail to deal with gets passed down to future generations. Our children end up internalizing much of our dysfunction.

Numb to what we’re holding in our bodies

New York City’s subways have inadvertently become a roving park bench for the city’s homeless population. Many of the homeless have not bathed for months. And some have not bathed for years. Their stench can be so overpowering that it empties an entire fifty foot long subway car. There are many instances over the course of a week when passengers are standing on the subway platform waiting to board a train once it comes to a stop. The passengers step into the subway car once the doors open and then end up taking a few steps backward to escape the overpowering stench. The homeless that have not bathed for extended periods of time have absolutely no idea of how bad they smell because they’ve gotten used it.

We hold all kinds of feelings of grief, loss, anger, fear, hurt and other distressing emotions in our bodies. We grow numb to these stresses over time. In many instances the presence of the stressful emotions, physical toxins and other imbalances held within our bodies no longer register within our conscious waking awareness because we’ve grown so accustomed to living with them. That’s why so many of us are so lacking in self-awareness.

The Great Escape

Our constant state of media saturation doesn’t give us the opportunity to ever really be present with ourselves. We’re ingesting far more sensory input than our body and mind could ever process and that leaves us with less of the available resources needed to process our feelings and bring our issues to a place of resolution.

There’s nothing wrong with taking in a movie or concert we’ve been waiting to see, watching a favorite television show or using social media, playing games on our computers and enjoying an occasional drink. The problem is that escaping has become a way of life for many of us. We’re always trying to fill the void and create diversions that prevent us from being fully present. We’ve developed this insatiable need to be entertained and so we’re constantly seeking stimulation and self-medicating. We’re escaping into novels, television shows, the internet, concerts, video games, shopping, religion and our drugs of choice. And in the process of doing so, we’re escaping from our feelings, our physical bodies and the realities of our everyday lives.

Spiritual bypass

Our religions provide a means through which we can get in touch with a force far greater than ourselves. In many ways they are also reductionistic attempts to interpret a force of creation that is far beyond the comprehension of our limited human minds. Many of our religions are based upon abstract notions of one supreme deity or multiple gods, their commandments consisting of the rules and regulations that determine how we should live our lives, concepts of sin and a savior that redeems us from our supposed sins. These abstractions are in many ways just another form of distraction to prevent us from being fully present. That’s one of the primary reasons that it appeals to so many people.

Religion often serves as a compensation for those of us that lack the emotional – cognitive – psychological sophistication needed to facilitate the deep level processing or healing of our shame, guilt, fear and other aspects of our woundedness. Religion and spirituality becomes another means of escape whenever we use it to avoid, deny or suppress our feelings, our physical bodies and the world in which we live. And in the process of doing so we inadvertently disconnect from our authentic core self and the higher power. We want to believe that God and Jesus have forgiven us and yet that doesn’t change the fact the fact that many of us continue to hold so much of the anger, shame and other emotions that we want to deny the existence of within our bodies.

Moving on and putting the past behind us

So many things about our lives do not work out the way that we want them to. We often attempt to move on by putting those things that have caused us pain in the past behind us without ever addressing the issue. The problem with this approach is that we end up leaving the wounded parts of ourselves behind. The loss of these parts of ourselves greatly diminishes our presence and power.

Our bodies and minds invariably go unconscious when we’re not attending to the issues or concerns that are relevant to us. We end up losing touch with parts of ourselves and becoming blinded to much of what’s going on around us when we fail to show up fully present. Our inner state of being becomes incredibly toxic from all the emotions that we’re not allowing ourselves to feel and our power to effect constructive change in our lives diminishes.

One of the most important practices we can engage in is to make a concerted effort on a daily basis to show up fully present as an active participant in our lives. That means experiencing the full range of our feelings while addressing the issues that arise to the best of our ability. We may not enjoy some of the realities that present themselves, but we need to fully embrace life. By making a concerted effort to remain fully present we will develop more of the power and resources needed to create more of the life we truly desire.

Resistance

People often say they want to heal when their emotions are out of control, their bodies are falling apart and their lives full of toxic drama. They start reaching out for help when their level of discomfort becomes intolerable. They’re often very enthusiastic when they first begin the healing process. But I’ve watched so many people show up for class a time or two or do one or a few sessions and then disappear as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. And many lack the discipline, motivation and understanding needed to do what is required to facilitate true healing. The unfortunate consequence is that many of these individuals end up going back out into the world with the same health issues and emotional wounds. In many instances, they fall deeper into their sickness and dysfunction over time.

Many of us are hugely resistant to being fully present to our feelings, physical bodies and the realities of our daily lives. Resistance will often grow as we continue to work our way down through the layers. We initially shut down the fearful, hurt and stressed out parts of ourselves because we didn’t possess the resources or understanding that would have enabled us to cope with what was happen. We keep reinforcing our resistance whenever we deny, avoid or shut down to what we’re experiencing and the subsequent feelings that arise.

The fear, hurt, confusion, trauma and other stresses that we hold within deaden our body – mind consciousness, preventing us from ever fully realizing our true potential. It can feel very uncomfortable as these feelings and issues begin to make their way to the surface. But we need to bring whatever is we’re holding within the body to the surface so that it can be gradually transformed, digested and integrated.

Muddled Perception

The traumas such as those resulting from emotional, physical or sexual abuse, combat and other forms of extreme stress elicit very powerful and sometimes overwhelming feelings. The powerful emotional states resulting from these traumas alter the neurostructure and biochemical makeup of our brains. These structural and biochemical changes taking place in our brains vastly alter the way that we perceive and experience ourselves, other people and the world in which we live. The vast majority of us never fully process or heal from these traumas. In many instances we continue to suffer the effects of these traumas for the remainder of our lives.

We learn from an early age to disconnect from our feelings, but in doing so we’re shutting down the body and mind’s innate healing intelligence. We need to thoroughly digest our life experiences along with any feelings that arise in response to them. Emotions and the stresses of daily life that we fail to digest accumulate within the our bodies. The residue of this undigested emotional content becomes very heavy and toxic as it stagnates within the body. These accumulated stresses accelerate the aging process by causing the body to break down at a more rapid pace.

Most of us are not doing much to process the things that have hurt, traumatized or stressed us out. We tend to accumulate more and more emotional baggage and other stresses over time. A large percentage of us have become so deadened or lacking in consciousness from the diaphragm down. In many instances our abdominal region becomes a toxic waste dump. The residue of all of these emotions and other stresses that we fail to digest has a very numbing or deadening effect upon our consciousness as it creates tension and cesspools of stagnant energy within the body. This toxicity causes us to feel heavy and lethargic as it drains our life force. The toxic emotional residue also creates a muddle of confusion that diminishes our clarity, consciousness and understanding.

Our level of consciousness, or lack thereof, is also reflected in our relationships. The many layers of conflicted feeling held in the body can easily distort our perceptions of other people, preventing us from seeing them for who they truly are. And so we get caught up in all kinds of projections and toxic relational dramas. We’re often drawn to and become involved with partners that hurt and abuse us or that are not well matched for us. And then we become strung out emotionally because of our inability to process our emotions and that makes it hard for us to leg go and move on when things are not working in our relationships.

Avoidance coping

Avoidance has for many become the primary means of coping. Our tendency to avoid that which we find uncomfortable has become so habitual that it’s like a knee jerk reaction. Consequently, many of us never develop the resources that would enable us to process our emotions and bring our issues to a place of resolution. Our limited processing capacity greatly reduces our capacity to learn, heal and grow. The feelings, issues and realities that we avoid muddle our consciousness and that diminishes our awareness of ourselves and our impact upon others and the world in which we live.

Many years of intensive practice and experience working with people has taught me to go right to the underlying source of the issues. People tell me that they want to heal and yet the conditioning among many people to avoid one’s feelings, issues and the realities of their everyday lives is so incredibly strong. Those who are not willing to do the work necessary to facilitate their healing or that are too afraid to face what’s going on within tend to bail out. It can sometimes be incredibly uncomfortable to go to these vulnerable places within ourselves and yet in many instances it is the only way that we can heal the deep emotional wounds. Only those of us who are truly committed to doing what it takes to heal can make this journey.

Everyone has their shortcomings and yet the majority of people are basically good hearted. Most want to get to a place in life where they feel comfortable. Everyone is negatively impacted and in some instances incapacitated by their wounds. Much of the population is what I refer to as self-avoidant, meaning that they are avoiding being fully present with or turning away from themselves. And as a result, they lack much of the basic drive or motivation that is necessary to compel them to heal and grow. What they really want is to have their suffering taken away so that they can continue on in their lives without out having to address the issues or experience their true feelings. Only a small percentage of the population possesses the kind of growth orientation that compels them to take whatever steps are that are necessary to facilitate healing.

Food and drugs

So much of the highly processed packaged content made to resemble food that is found in our supermarkets contains very little nutritional value. Much of this garbage is highly toxic for the human body and yet we continue to shovel it into our mouths. These food substitutes have a deadening effect upon our body — mind consciousness.

We’re devouring billions of pounds of candy, cake, ice cream and other foods loaded with processed white sugar a year. Our attention span and ability to learn deteriorate in proportion to the amount of refined sugar we consume. Many of us are also jacked up on caffeine to compensate the fact that we are not getting adequate rest. Caffeine and refined sugar have a numbing effect that impairs our ability to process our emotions.

The vast majority of livestock and produce raised for mass consumption is produced solely for profit. Many of our crops are now genetically modified. Serious health risks associated with genetically modified foods include infertility, immune deficiencies, damage to the internal organs and acceleration of the aging process. Commercially produced beef, chicken, pork and farm raised fish are loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. The chickens, cows and pigs that we consume are subjected to horrific abuses, trauma and terror. The traumas suffered by these animals are held within the flesh. We’re ingesting this suffering every time we consume the flesh of other living beings.

Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and generate more than 7,000 chemicals when they burn according to the American Lung Association. Many of these chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them are carcinogens. Smoking causes extensive damage to the lungs, the cardiovascular system, brain and other parts of our bodies. Smoking has a numbing effect that impedes our ability to process our emotions. The combination of unprocessed emotion and toxicity resulting from the pollutants being inhaled into our lungs contributes to the stagnant quality in the physical and subtle bodies of people that smoke. Statistics on the number of smokers per capita vary considerably by country. Despite all of the warnings and risks associated with smoking, somewhere between five to thirty-five percent of the population continues to light up.

Alcohol and other drugs are so attractive to many because they provide us with a momentary escape. We’re escaping from the hellish internal state of being that we create when we suppress, resist or avoid our feelings, our physical bodies and the realities of our everyday lives. We find ourselves caught up in an addictive cycle when the pain we hold within compels us to ingest excessive amounts of alcohol and other intoxicating substances. Our bodies may also develop a dependence upon these substances. The substances we ingest to get high may initially relax our bodies and inhibitions. They may even induce a momentary expansion of our consciousness and yet with excessive use they diminish our connection to the authentic core residing deep within and the higher power. These substances deaden our consciousness by impairing our ability to process our feelings and by causing damage to the subtle bodies along with the brain and other internal organs.

The pharmaceuticals that many of us depend upon to address various physiological and psychiatric issues may be necessary, but they also have many harmful side effects. Psychiatrist Julie Holland stated in an article published in the New York Times, “Medicating Women’s Feelings” that one out of every four women in the United States in on some form of psychiatric medication. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and psychotropic medications turn down the volume on, and in some instances, completely deaden our feelings. The use of these medications may be the best known option, but there is a danger in that they interrupt the innate healing intelligence residing within our bodies and minds while deadening our consciousness.

Pharmaceuticals, alcohol and other drugs that we use to numb ourselves reinforces the disconnect between our bodies and minds. The resulting desensitization further impedes our ability to process our feelings. The residue of this unprocessed stress, pain and other emotional content is transformed into a toxic substance. Our bodies and minds have a very difficult time processing this toxic residue. The use of these substances may also result in damage to the hardware that facilitates consciousness. The combination of these factors contribute to the stunting of our emotional, intellectual and spiritual development.

The foods and substances we put into our bodies are largely a reflection of our level of consciousness. People that work with me individually often cut down on or completely stop smoking, drinking and using other recreational drugs. Many have been able to discontinue the use of medications that they had been dependent upon. People that work with me generally begin to make better food choices, consuming more nutrient rich foods that actually nourish their bodies and minds.

Dead zones and toxic waste dumps

Our life experiences and any subsequent emotional response we have to them need to go through a process in which they are digested. This digestive process transforms our life experiences and feeling responses into fuel for growth. The vast majority of us have never learned how to work constructively with our feelings. The emotions and stresses of everyday life that we fail to process remain trapped within our bodies indefinitely. We feel the tension in our neck and shoulders when the undigested emotions and other stresses cause them to tighten up. Stressful emotions stored in the chest and lungs can make it difficult for us to breathe. Stressful emotions can also precipitate panic attacks by overloading our neuro-circuitry. They can do lots of other damage throughout our body and mind. And in doing so they greatly accelerate the aging process.

Much of the stressful emotion that we fail to process accumulates within the abdomen. The majority of adults are holding a backlog of residual emotion and other stresses within this part of the body. The stresses held within the abdomen bog down the internal organs and thereby hinder their ability to function. Accumulated stresses account for much of the gas, bloating, poor digestion and constipation. These stresses are also one of the primary causes of digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease, colitis and irritable bowel.

Some of us eat to suppress our emotions and in the process of doing so we become numb to our feelings. But then we keep on eating and as a result we end up putting on considerably more weight. The additional layers of accumulated fat act as a buffering that prevents us from feeling. Using food to stuff our feelings shuts down the body – mind’s innate healing intelligence. And that leaves us further removed from the source of our power. Our inability to access our feelings reinforces the stuckness that keeps us locked into our dysfunctional holding patterns.

The emotions that we suppress operate primarily outside of our conscious waking awareness. These emotions sometimes intrude upon our conscious awareness when we’re under stress and during times of crisis. We widen the gulf between our intellectual mind, our feelings and physical bodies as we continue to deny, avoid or suppress our feelings.

Undigested emotions and other stresses held within the body indefinitely become toxic. The heavy dense energies of the emotions and stresses that we internalize create hardened areas of armoring, pools of stagnant emotional energy and deadness. These denser energies make it far more difficult for the life force to circulate within certain parts of our bodies. Areas within the abdomen and other parts of our bodies sometimes become toxic waste dumps or dead zones. We generally experiences very little consciousness or awareness within these parts of our bodies.

The practices I teach enable people to heal and become more fully present within the various parts of their bodies. Some people will initially feel nauseous when I have them bring their awareness to their abdomen. People are more likely to feel nauseous when the accumulation of emotion and other stresses held within the abdomen and other parts of the body becomes toxic and begins to putrefy.

A big part of the healing process involves dissolving the many layers of body-mind armor and cleaning up the toxicity and bringing clean vital life force into the parts of the body mind that have become so toxic and deadened. People that have spent so much of their lives disconnected from their feelings and physical bodies possess so little self-awareness and understanding. Many discontinue the healing process when the body begins to cleanse itself of toxicity and the emotional backlog stored within the body begins to make it’s way to the surface. That’s very unfortunate, because whatever toxicity people fail to clean up will remain trapped within the body indefinitely. The backlog of toxic emotion and other stresses held within the body maintain the dysfunctional holding patterns that are preventing people’s lives from working. It also causes their physical and subtle bodies to break down at a faster pace, thereby accelerating the aging process.

I do the best I can to help the people that show up in my classes and those I work with individually to understand the patterns playing out in their lives and the healing process taking place. But it can at times be especially difficult to convey this understanding, because the conditioning to avoid, suppress or disconnect from one’s feelings and physical bodies is so incredibly strong. Many are fearful of, resistant to, blinded and dumbed down by the huge amount of unprocessed emotion residue and other stresses held within their bodies.

The effort that it takes to get through to people can sometimes be exhausting, because many are slow to understand. And people nowadays are less likely to hold onto any understandings because the endless media barrage saturating their minds is making it so much more difficult for them to keep their attention focused long enough for healing to occur. Some people never gain awareness or get in touch with the forces that motivate or drive them. Sadly, they’re just not teachable.

Now that Technology has taken over the still place within

We now live in a world where we are overly dependent upon our cell phones, computers and other devices. Continuing advances in technology are making our phones, computers and the internet all the more enticing to the point that many of us have become addicted. We feel compelled to reach for the phone, to check email and text innumerable times a day. And then we’re spending hours surfing the net. The technology that was initially designed to serve us has in many ways taken over our lives.

Our bodies and minds cannot possibly process the vast amount of information flying through our sensory channels. The information overload that many of us are experiencing as a result of our use of smartphones and the internet and the corresponding changes taking place in our neuro-circuitry are making it more and more difficult for us to keep our minds focused for any considerable length of time. Our minds are getting pulled off course so easily by all kinds of irrelevant distractions and that’s preventing us from maintaining the level of focused attention needed to address relevant issues.

The sensory overload that we’re experiencing is also contributing to our growing desensitization. And that’s making us less aware of our feelings and physical bodies and the world in which we live. The never ending stream of sensory input in the form of videos, news stories, instant messages, texts, tweets, Facebook updates, celebrity gossip and games flooding our bodies and minds now occupies so much of the internal space that we need to go to in order to heal. The overburdening of our brain-body-mind means that we have less of the much needed resources required to do the deep level processing that facilitates healing and personal growth.

Many of us are in serious need of a digital detox to clear the backlog of sensory clutter that is congesting our body, mind and spirit. That can be hard to do now that nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around the use of technology. We have to maintain an awareness of our internal state of being in order to heal and grow. And we need to be returning to this space on a on a daily basis to continue the healing process. For many of us, that can only happen when we make a concerted effort to create the internal space needed to do the deep level processing and make consistent use of the various practices and resources that facilitate healing.

Chakras and layers of the aura

The subtle bodies that are comprised of the chakras and layers of the aura are a very intricate form of bio-electrical circuitry. They are a critical part of the infrastructure that maintains the structure and that facilitates the functions of the body’s organs and systems. The patterns or configurations that manifest within the subtle bodies are a reflection of all the processes taking place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually within the body and mind of an individual.

The subtle bodies often fail to fully develop in those who were neglected as children or that suffered extensive childhood trauma. People’s subtle bodies often become damaged or disfigured as a result of prolonged illnesses, traumatic experiences and other forms of chronic and extreme stress. The stagnant emotional residue that accumulates within the body when we suppress our feelings can also cause extensive damage within the subtle bodies.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety, psychotropic, analgesic and other medications may be the best option to address the psychological and physiological health issues of many individuals, and yet their use often causes damage within the subtle bodies while interrupting the body and mind’s innate healing intelligence. Excessive use of alcohol and other recreational drugs also causes tremendous damage to the brain, other internal organs and the subtle bodies.

The lack of development in the subtle bodies can also signify an individual’s limited range of motion. It can also be an indication that a person is not making good use of the resources that would enable them to fulfill their true potential.

Damage within the subtle bodies can greatly impede the functions of the brain and other internal organs and systems. It also distorts our perceptions, thereby interfering with our ability to think clearly, to process our emotions and to bring issues to a place of resolution. Damage to or a lack of development within the subtle bodies can also greatly limit the realization of our own unique gifts and potentials and the fulfillment of our life’s purpose.

But isn’t it just their karma?

The greatest challenge I face in my work is getting people to stay present long enough to move through their internal resistance and heal the deeply wounded parts of themselves. It can feel very uncomfortable when the fear, pain and other emotions held within the body are making their way to the surface. For many, it is the only way to resolve the core issues, heal the deep emotional wounds and continue to move forward on the path of personal growth.

Much of the population operates at the surface most levels of awareness. They may be holding all kinds of toxic emotion within and in some instances their bodies are falling apart. Their lives may also be an absolute mess and yet they are often hugely resistant to doing the deep internal work necessary to facilitate true healing. Their resistance to healing and growth reminds me of some of the homeless in New York City who haven’t bathed in ages that become very defensive, fearful and angry if someone were to attempt to clean them up and get them to put on a fresh set of clothing. They’re either fearful of change, too attached to the comfort of that which is familiar or deriving some form of secondary gain.

So much of what is being offered to us in our modern day society in terms of spirituality lacks any real power or substance and is very escape oriented. Much of what is referred to as shamanism has very little resemblance to the spiritual or healing practices of indigenous peoples. The vast majority of those who call themselves shamans have never spent time among any indigenous groups of people. Many are now referring to themselves as master healers after three weekend workshops. Most of these shamans and healers are like children playing doctor as they possess no real power. Most people nowadays have never experienced the kinds of healing gifts and powers possessed by indigenous peoples, therefore they do not know the difference.

Most people in our modern day society lack the discipline and commitment found among the indigenous peoples and those in other cultures that have for many centuries followed the ancient spiritual traditions. What makes it even worse is that people nowadays can be so damn flaky. They’re more likely to be intimidated or frightened by the powers possessed by those who have attained mastery in the indigenous spiritual traditions and many make a run for it as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface.

I sometimes hear people say that each individual comes into this world at a certain level of development. And that some people supposedly have not matured on a soul level, so it’s all they can do to take small steps in their evolution. And that’s why they cannot progress beyond a certain point in their development. But is it really just their karma? Or are we living in a society that conditions us in such a way that it prevents us from developing spiritually and realizing our true potential?

Our media saturated culture teaches us to be good little consumers of products. The unfortunate consequence is that we can easily lose touch with our authentic core along with our unique sense of purpose when we’re working at jobs that deaden us mentally, emotionally and spiritually while chasing the dollar so that we can acquire more material possessions. Other cultures may not have enjoyed the high standard of material wealth and yet they placed a great deal of emphasis on tradition, religion, social hierarchies, politics and other abstract values. The danger of instilling values that are so diametrically opposed to our basic human nature is that it tends to produce people that lack empathy, compassion, self-awareness and connection to one’s inner source.

I’m fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to spend considerable amounts of time in India and Sri Lanka and to live among Native American tribes in Oklahoma and New Mexico. I’m also fortunate that to be able to do many years of intensive training with a traditional Native American doctor and a Master from China. It can be much more difficult for people that haven’t traveled and spent time among other cultures to break out of their ethnocentricity.

Ancient traditional cultures such as those found in China, India and among Native Americans certainly had their drawbacks and yet they provided a framework that encouraged people to develop spiritually. It was fairly common in the various parts of Asia for those who were truly committed to developing their bodies and minds and deepening their connection to the higher power to do many years of intensive yoga, martial arts and meditative practices such as Chi Gong and Pranayama.

Native Americans were much more connected to the Earth and the forces of nature. Nearly everyone in the tribe participated in rituals such as the vision quest, sun dance and other kinds of intensive spiritual practices. They often did so many times over the course of their lives. There were many individuals among the various tribes that possessed all kinds of unique powers, gifts of healing and in some instances paranormal abilities.

Native Americans and the people I worked with in India and Sri Lanka tended to be very respectful and appreciative. A large percentage of those I have worked with possess an innate sensitivity that enables them to be very aware of the presence working through me and the changes that were taking place within their bodies and minds. Much of their receptivity has to do with their constitutional makeup. It also has a lot to do with the fact that there has always been a segment of the population in these cultures that spent their life time doing intensive daily practices to become the living embodiment of a force far greater than themselves, to experience a profound awakening and to become more fully present.

The exceptional few

The majority of the population in our modern day society is not growth oriented. They may be successful, possess a lot of intellectual knowledge, be good natured and even kind hearted. And yet the motivation to heal and grow beyond a certain point is very limited or non-existent.

I do encounter a small number of truly exceptional people along the way that are deeply committed to their healing and personal growth. People who are truly growth oriented are not content to get to a comfortable place and just hang out. They feel a profound desire to do and be more coupled with a willingness to take whatever they experience in life and use it to facilitate their healing and continued development. People that are truly growth oriented are continually learning. Their willingness to adapt and openness to change allows them to remain relevant and that gives them a more youthful quality.

Our responsibility to heal

We all have been wounded somewhere along the way. Addressing these wounded parts of ourselves can be very uncomfortable at times. Those of us who demonstrate the courage to heal will discover that the discomforts are short lived. These momentary discomforts are greatly offset by the rewards that come as a result of our commitment to do whatever it takes to heal and grow.

We all have a responsibility to take constructive action to heal our woundedness to the best of our ability. The negativity generated when we fail to take the steps necessary to facilitate the healing of these wounds feeds into the destructive force created by our global collective shadow. This collective shadow manifests in the form of addictions, poverty, the abuses of animals and other people, oppressive leaders and governments that brutalize their people and that favor the needs of corporations over their own citizens, wars, the destruction of the planet and other forms of dysfunction. We offset the destructive force of our own individual and the collective shadow as we increase our awareness, become ever more present and heal those parts of us that are wounded.

Most people have never learned to work constructively with their feelings. Undigested emotional residue and other stresses accumulate within the body where they remain indefinitely. Our resistance to being present, lack of understanding and lack of resources needed to effect healing are a big part of what maintains our state of unconsciousness.

Feelings can be messy, confusing, inconvenient, uncomfortable and even painful at times, but they are an essential component of the innate healing intelligence that resides within our bodies and minds. Our feelings facilitate growth and transformation as we learn to work constructively with them. Our feelings can then serve as a doorway into the subconscious mind. They provide us with a valuable source of feedback that gives us a greater understanding of ourselves, our needs as well as the needs and considerations of others.

Our life experiences along with any subsequent emotions that arise need to go through a process in which they are digested. The practices I teach facilitate a crucial aspect of this digestive process. We begin by acknowledging what’s happening in our lives and the feelings that arise in response to the issues impacting us. We then notice where these feelings are situated within our bodies. We breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing our awareness in the middle of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. We then follow the feelings and sensations as they go through their progression.

Most of the readily available therapeutic modalities are very limited in their effectiveness when it comes to healing the deep emotional wounds that many of us carry. That is clearly evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of those who have gone through extensive trauma continue to suffer indefinitely. Many of us are going to have to go beyond that which is familiar if we are to ever heal in this life time.

Indigenous people have for centuries allowed other forces or beings to work through them to facilitate healing that would not have otherwise been possible. There were many powerful indigenous healers in times past. Only a small number of individuals carry on these traditions. I would encourage people to work with these individuals whenever the opportunity presents itself. I possess these same healing gifts as a result of having trained with a traditional doctor from the Kiowa Indian tribe and going on so many vision quests.

I do this work because I truly do care and I want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. A big part of that involves helping to alleviate people’s suffering by facilitating the healing of the deep emotional wounds. Emphasis is then placed upon building a strong foundation along with the resources needed to fulfill each individuals true potential and realize their life’s purpose.

The presence working through me during the individual sessions cultivates body – mind consciousness. Damage is repaired within the physical and subtle bodies. More and more layers of emotional body armor dissolve with each session. Stagnant emotions and other stresses held within the body are transformed into vital essence that can then be integrated as a functional part of the self. This essence will then serve as fuel for growth. The resulting transformation facilitates the emergence of one’s true self while deepening one’s connection to the higher power. The changes resulting from these sessions bring about a greater sense of aliveness, clarity, sense of purpose and renewal of one’s passions.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Sex for Money: How Much Is My Soul Really Worth?

Leave a comment

sex for money
Young adults have been hit especially hard by the economic downturn. College tuition has more than doubled in the past twenty years and continues to soar even higher despite the fact that jobs are harder to come by and starting salaries have decreased. Increasing numbers of students are struggling to get by and many will have racked up tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt by the time they complete their degrees. In addition, large numbers of these students will be forced to move back home with their parents at some point after graduation out of economic necessity.

In a recent article published in the Huffington Post, the author mentioned the numerous websites that have sprung up in recent years promising to help young women struggling with the enormous financial burden of college to find wealthy benefactors, commonly referred to as “sugar daddies,” to help with the expenses of dorm, tuition and books or pay off student loans.

A young woman interviewed for the article described her experience of hooking up with a man she met through one of these websites saying she had to brace herself to endure the afternoon of having sex. Taylor said she just wanted to get the act over as soon as possible. The man she hooked up with gave her three hundred and fifty dollars at the time he dropped her off at the train station. Her initial thought was, “Not bad for an afternoon of work,” but she agonized over the fact that she just had sex for money and said she felt dirty afterwards. It’s very important for us to pay attention to these kinds of feelings because they are signals letting us know we are doing something harmful to ourselves.

I feel a great deal of concern when I hear about young women like Taylor. Most do not realize the consequences of their actions and are just doing the best they can to survive. It is so easy to stray off on some kind of destructive path and even more so during the stage of our lives where we are making our way out into the world. Sadly, many never find their way back.

I’ve come across many individuals over the years in their late teens and early twenties who were struggling to find their way. In many instances they were not able to afford my services. I would go ahead and work with them anyway, because I felt a sense of responsibility to do whatever I could to reconnect them to their soul or the spirit that resides within and help them develop the resources they needed to get them on track with their own life’s purpose.

I met a young woman years ago while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico who was involved in some form of religious cult. Leyla didn’t seem to possess the resources to make it on her own after she fell out of the cult and ended up auditioning to work as a stripper in one of the clubs. I was saddened to learn about Leyla’s decision to work in a strip club and ended up spending a few hours talking with her over the phone about the consequences of her actions.

“The presence in those strip clubs feels absolutely horrible. Dancing nude in front of a bar full of men with all kinds of serious issues makes you vulnerable by opening you up to a great deal of emotional, energetic and psychic toxicity. Many of these same men are going to be fantasizing about you later that night when they go home and jerk off.”

“Working as a stripper is only a step above prostitution. You’re having to make physical contact with a lot of men that you would never in your life want to interact with. An exchange of energy takes place any time you’re making physical contact with the men you entertain in the clubs. The men whose laps you gyrate on as you do lap dances are going to become sexually aroused and to some degree you will too. That’s going to make you even more likely to absorb the negative energies and emotions held within their bodies. Are you sure you want to be subsisting on a steady diet of that?”

I left Albuquerque soon after that conversation. I received a call from Leyla a few months later. Leyla told me I helped her to see the consequences of her actions and she realized after dancing a few nights in the club that the price wasn’t worth paying.

Exposing our bodies in an environment like a strip club or having sex with someone with whom we have no desire to be with is a very unpleasant experience that evokes all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. Our normal response is to shut down parts of our consciousness by pushing the uncomfortable feelings outside of our conscious awareness. That causes us to become very numb or desensitized. Blocking feelings and experiences out of our awareness doesn’t mean they will go away. Our bodies continue to hold onto the horrible feelings, emotions and energies we internalize from working in such a toxic environment.

Women who engage in prostitution and other forms of sex workers have to shut down parts of themselves in order to do their job and that accounts for their tendency to become very armored. I can always see and feel the parts of the self that have shut down and disconnected. I can also feel the toxic energies and emotions from all the people they’ve had sex with that they are holding within their bodies.

The act of engaging in sex with a complete stranger that we have no desire to be with is an intimate bodily invasion. These feelings are greatly magnified when we find the other person unattractive or disgusting. Many dissociate by switching off or separating from the experience taking place within their bodies and that further exacerbates the harm done. The parts of ourselves that we disconnect from are left holding the trauma and that can prevent us from being fully present or developing the resources we need to be fully functional.

Large numbers of women involved in prostitution exhibit signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder that are similar to people who have experienced rape or incest. They commonly suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability. Many also report feelings of being emotionally numb, are tortured by recurrent nightmares and flashbacks and live in a state of emotional and physical hypervigilance. They frequently suffer from physical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and are also highly prone to eating disorders.

Women involved in the sex trades often cope by self-medicating with tobacco, alcohol and other substances to numb themselves to the energies and emotions associated with what they’re doing. The use of substances deadens their consciousness so they don’t have to feel what’s happening, but that leaves them even further desensitized and disconnected from their authentic core self.

I’ve known and have worked with a number of prostitutes and strippers over the years. I’m always curious to understand more about them, the choices they’ve made along the way and the struggles they have gone through. A few of the women I have worked with told me that they find their work enjoyable at times and that they even look forward to seeing some of the men who come to them on a regular basis.

Some men and women become highly sexualized as a result of sexual trauma that occurred during the early stages in their lives. In many instances they’ve learned to get attention or validation through their sexuality. A large percentage of women involved in stripping and prostitution were sexually abused as children. Working in the sex trade is a continuation of their early life experience of being sexually exploited.

A friend of mine went into prostitution after her husband left her with three young children because she didn’t see any other way that she could support herself. Most of the women I’ve encountered who are involved in the sex trade are not doing what they do by choice. Many have not been able to complete their education or develop the skill sets and other resources that would enable them to succeed in our society. They’re often doing the best they can to survive.

Most people tend to become very heavy and stagnant as they age. Older men who solicit prostitutes or seek money for sex arrangements with young college girls struggling to get by are usually not in good health. Many drink, smoke and consume unhealthy foods. Most are holding a great deal of anger, resentment, grief, loss and other toxic emotional baggage pertaining to loveless marriages, bitter divorces, custody battles and other dramas that have played out in their lives within their bodies. Women who prostitute themselves to these men are opening themselves up to this toxicity. They take on or absorb the energies and emotions of any person with whom they become physically intimate. They also take on some of their karma, sickness and the toxic dramas in their lives. Much of this toxicity remains trapped within the body indefinitely.

Dangerous Game

Stripping or prostituting one’s self may appear for some to be a quick and easy way to make money, but it is also a very dangerous game to be playing. Making large amounts of money so quickly can be very tempting, but we need to ask ourselves, “Exactly how much is my soul really worth?”

I have known women who had the ability to go into sex work for a period of time, do what they felt they needed to do and then get out. Many have gone into prostitution with the intention of saving the money they needed to create a better life, but were never able to hold onto what they made. The danger for many is they grow so accustomed to the kind of lifestyle afforded by prostitution and often find themselves sinking ever deeper into a hole they cannot escape from.

Women who prostitute themselves are forced to rely upon their physical beauty to make it in the world, but it’s only a matter of time before age and gravity take their toll and the looks fall apart. The process of shutting down or disconnecting that takes place among women involved in the sex trade has a crippling effect. Those who fail to develop skills and resources to stand on their own operate at a deficit which leaves them little, if anything, to fall back on.

I stopped over in Thailand on numerous occasions while waiting for my connecting flights to India and Sri Lanka. I realized very quickly that Thailand was one of the world’s primary sex tourism destinations. Large numbers of Thai and other Southeast Asian women are involved in prostitution to varying degrees. Women and girls who have been sold into sexual slavery are often forced to work in houses of prostitution. It is also fairly common for young attractive Thai women to hang out in bars looking for wealthy, by their standards, foreigner boyfriends who travel to Thailand on vacation. As soon as one boyfriend leaves they go out to the bars and find a new guy. These women often call or write letters to their “boyfriends” after they return home to ask for more money.

Women in developing nations such as India, Pakistan and the various African republics are often forced into prostitution after being widowed or abandoned by a husband because of their inability to conceive. Thousands of young women and girls in Nepal have been drugged, kidnapped and sold into prostitution across the border in India. Many are eventually murdered and a large percentage of these girls and young women contract HIV and eventually die. In many instances their families never see or hear from them again. India’s law enforcement and government is largely complicit by failing to shut down the houses of prostitution and prosecute the perpetrators of these horrific crimes.

Men who have struggled financially at some point in their lives know what it’s like to be passed over by women who evaluate a man’s worth based upon his financial status. There will always be women who look for men who can buy expensive dinners, clothing and jewelry, take them on the vacation of their dreams and pay off their debt. Such women never learn to stand firmly on their own two feet. Another young woman interviewed in the Huffington Post article said, “I’m choosing one or two men I actually like spending time with and have decided to develop a friendship with them. While sex is involved, the focus of our interaction is on providing friendship. It’s not only about getting paid.”

It is so easy to come up with all kinds of rationalizations to justify our actions. But we need to be fully honest by asking ourselves, “Is this someone with whom I truly desire to be intimate?”

There is so much shame and stigma attached to prostitution. Women who become engage in prostitution are often forced to lead double lives. Most cannot tell their friends or families what they are doing and that leaves them with a feeling that they always have something to hide. Having to hide parts of one’s self makes it very difficult to be fully present.

Opening ourselves sexually to another individual is an experience that reaches very deep into our psyche. Sexuality is a very important part of our process of personal and spiritual growth. Selling our bodies to someone we don’t want to be intimate with corrupts or contaminates the very deep and personal parts of ourselves through which we develop intimate bonds.

It can be very difficult for a woman to break out of prostitution and go to a regular job that only pays a fraction of the huge sums of money she is used to making as a sex worker. Many never develop the resources they need to make it in the world. That accounts for the fact that so many of them end up on welfare or disability and find themselves living in public housing or out in the streets.

Women who engage in prostitution are placing themselves at great risk. In many instances they are forced to engage in unprotected sex. Many have experienced unwanted pregnancies and miscarriages. They are far more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, the human papilloma virus and HIV/AIDS. They often test positive on pap smears and have a much higher incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease. Greater exposure to sexually transmitted diseases also increases their likelihood of developing cervical cancer.

Women involved in prostitution experience extremely high levels of violence and often find themselves in grave danger. Many report being robbed, beaten or sexually assaulted and some have also been killed.

Some of the wealthy “sugar daddies” seeking money for sex arrangements with young women saddled with enormous amounts of debt like to see themselves as providing a service that will ultimately help them to create a better life for themselves. In reality, these men are inflicting tremendous harm by exploiting the vulnerabilities of young women who are struggling to survive.

Young women are more likely to fall into stripping or prostitution during times of economic hardship when they see no other means of covering their expenses. These young women would be much less likely to find themselves in a position where they feel that they have to sell their bodies in order to pay off their education debt if our government would stop feeding vast amounts of money into senseless wars that can never be won and corporate subsidies and the wealthy were made to pay their fair share of the taxes.

Having compassion for ourselves and others

I feel a great deal of concern for and compassion for people and the struggles they go through in order to survive. It’s important to keep in mind that we have all done things in our lives that we are not especially proud of. We all prostitute ourselves or compromise our integrity in one way or another at various points in our life. It’s important for us to come to come from a place of acceptance and compassion for ourselves. We also need to demonstrate understanding and compassion for others by reaching out to help others along the way whenever we can make a difference.

©Copyright 2011 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission.

Abdominal Pain and Bloating

Leave a comment

Digestion 2
Nearly all of us experience abdominal pain at some point in our life. In most instances it is not caused by a serious medical problem. Abdominal pain can originate from any of the internal organs such as the stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gall bladder, spleen or kidneys.

The severity of the pain doesn’t necessarily reflect seriousness of the condition causing the discomfort. Severe abdominal pain can result from gas or cramping and is usually not an indication of serious health issues, unless it last longer than twenty-four hours and is accompanied by a fever. Mild pain or an absence of pain or sensation may be present with life-threatening conditions such as cancer or the early stages of appendicitis.

Abdominal pain may vary from being generalized throughout the midsection or focused in specific areas. Localized pain is more likely to indicate that there is a problem in one of the internal organs such as the appendix, gallbladder or stomach.

There are many possible causes for abdominal pain and bloating such as diverticulitis, food allergies, food poisoning, stomach flu and indigestion. Pain in the upper portion of the abdomen may be an indication of a heart attack. Pain or burning sensation in the upper abdomen that is either relieved or gets worse when we eat may result from gastritis or an irritation of the stomach resulting from an ulcer. A stomach that is very tender to the touch accompanied by bloody diarrhea or stools that are black and tarry or vomiting blood may be an indication of appendicitis, infectious diarrhea, bleeding from the bowels or bowel blockage. Pain in the upper portion of the abdomen that worsens when we eat fatty foods may indicate an infection of the gallbladder. Pain in the lower abdomen accompanied by blood or mucus in the stools could be a sign of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease which is an inflammatory disease of the large intestines. Going without a bowel movement for a few days or longer or having to strain while using the bathroom is usually an indication of constipation. Abdominal pain may also indicate the presence of parasites or obstruction within the intestines resulting from a tumor or polyp. Chronic dull pain associated with the loss of body weight and the presence of blood in the stool, black tarry stools, vomiting or jaundice may indicate the presence of cancer or hepatitis. Pain experienced in response to an injury sustained after an accident or blow to the stomach may be an indication of internal bleeding, rupture of the spleen or damage to other internal organs.

Mild discomfort or a feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen that is accompanied by burning sensations when urinating may be an indication of cystitis which is an infection of the urinary tract. Sharp sudden pain that starts in the back near the ribs and moves down towards the groin may indicate the presence of kidney stones or kidney or bladder infection.

A number of disease processes that occur in other parts of the body have their origins within the gastrointestinal tract. Diseases associated with the gastrointestinal tract disorders include depression, migraine headaches, asthma, sinusitis and fibromyalgia.

Consistent pain in the lower abdomen accompanied with vaginal discharge may be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease which is an infection around the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. Lower abdominal or pelvic pain in pregnant women accompanied by abdominal bleeding may be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

It’s important that we not ignore symptoms of disease, but to see a physician to determine the cause and administer proper treatment if necessary. We need to seek medical attention if we are unable to pass stools, if we are vomiting blood or passing blood in our stools, experience burning sensations while urinating or if we have a fever over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Electrolyte imbalances caused by chronic diarrhea can have especially severe consequences particularly in young children and the elderly and may result in dehydration, brain damage, kidney failure, heart attack or stroke. A physician should be consulted if diarrhea persists for longer than twenty-four hours. Diagnostic measures such as blood tests, ultrasound of the abdomen and gastroscopy and colonoscopy can help to determine the source of the problem.

Gas and bloating

Gas and bloating are signs that food is not being properly digested. Stress or anxiety, gastrointestinal infection, parasitic infestation, bowel obstruction and diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Celiac disease can also contribute to bloating. Abdominal bloating may also result from consuming gas producing foods such as beans and broccoli.

People who experience lactose intolerance may experience bloating as a result of their inability to digest dairy products. Others may experience an allergic reaction to gluten which is a component found in wheat. It’s fairly common for people with a history of trauma to have food sensitivities that cause them to react adversely to a number of foods. That can severely limit the range of foods they are able to consume.

Cramping and bloating is often accompanied by abdominal pain. Cramping often occurs because of muscle spasms in the internal organs that occur in response to allergic reactions to certain foods. Cramping in the region directly behind the navel is related to the small intestines. Cramping near the sides, top and bottom of the lower abdomen is associated with the colon or large intestines.

Dietary Choices

Poor dietary choices are often the source of abdominal pain and bloating. Consumption of highly processed foods, artificial sweeteners and carbonated drinks contribute to bloating. Greasy, fried, fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Foods with high amounts of cholesterol are conducive to the formation of bile stones. Consumption of fatty foods can lead to the formation of fat cells throughout the body. Fatty foods also cause bloating by slowing down the body’s ability to empty the stomach.

Diets high in fiber consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds help to support healthy digestion. Peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley and yogurts containing intestine-friendly bacterial cultures can enhance our digestive process thereby reducing bloating.

We need to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. We can decrease bloating by taking time to taste and chew our food thoroughly. We also need to be drinking plenty of fluids and getting at least thirty minutes of physical activity a day.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes are essential to the body’s ability digest, absorb and utilize nutrients in foods. The body’s capacity to produce digestive enzymes decreases as we age. The body has a difficult time digesting foods when it lacks proper enzymes. Foods are more likely to ferment within the digestive tract when there are insufficient digestive enzymes and bile acids to break them down. Difficulty absorbing the nutrients of foods and the resulting toxicity of unprocessed foods that accumulate within the digestive tract can result in a variety of chronic disorders. Taking digestive enzyme supplements can help to alleviate the symptoms of gas and bloating and improve digestion.

Diet and supplements are critically important to maintaining healthy digestion. Some people take the notion too far, assuming they can solve all of their digestive issues by eating the right foods and taking supplements. Our digestive tract will never fully heal until we learn to digest the difficult or painful emotions and heal the traumas that place so much stress upon our physical bodies.

Stress related

A large percentage of issues affecting the digestive tract are stress related. Our life experiences and any subsequent feeling that arise in response to what’s taking place need to be digested. The feelings we fail to digest turn into a heavy congestive residue that is stored within the body’s internal organs and tissues. The stagnant residue of our undigested emotions and other stresses impair the functions of the internal organs.

Physical toxins begin to accumulate within the body when the cells, tissues and organs become loaded down the additional stress of our unprocessed emotional baggage. The combination of age and the accumulation of physical toxin may cause our metabolism to slow down. Many of us start gaining additional weight. Our bodies become very dense from the accumulation of emotional and physical toxin. We may then begin to feel heavy, bloated, stuck and stagnant.

Stagnant emotional residue that accumulates within the body has a deadening effect upon our consciousness. The congealed residue of the feelings and other stresses held within the body impair our ability to process our emotions and work through issues.

Laura internalized much of her mother’s anger during the years she was growing up. She was sexually abused during her childhood and adolescence and held a great deal of emotional pain pertaining to former abusive partners. She works in the financial industry and is also holding a great deal of stress related to her work and the long daily commute.

Laura was very slim as a young woman, but the stresses have been accumulating within her body for many years now. Her metabolism has slowed down and she has gained a considerable amount of weight in recent years. Her naval chakra had broken down completely and was no longer functional. I could also feel a hardened mass within her abdomen.

Laura told me that for much of her life she would decide she wanted to do something and then she just got up and did it. But the accumulation of stress in Laura’s abdomen had shut down her instinctual drive. She has dreamed of going back to school to become a homeopathic physician, but her fears of not succeeding have been holding her back for some time now.

Disrupting the flow

Uma gave birth to her son by Cesarean section. The incision made during the surgery severed the meridians in her lower abdomen and that was causing the life force in this part of her body to pool up and become very stagnant. It also caused considerable damage to the naval chakra.

Uma’s body wasn’t healing on its own. The invasive physical trauma resulting from the surgery left her very dissociated and that was making it difficult for her to function. Uma was overwhelmed by the demands of caring for a young child. The stress upon her body was also compounded by working excessively long hours and getting far too little sleep.

Self-Medicating Our Feelings Away

Varsha has been experiencing a great deal of anxiety about her financial situation. She has been drinking and eating lots of refined sugar and other junk foods over the past few months to cover up the stressful feelings. Varsha started putting on additional weight and her mid-section was becoming very dense.

People who are not dealing with their emotions are more likely to consume refined sugar and other unhealthy foods to diminish the intensity of their anxiety and other stressful feelings. They may also smoke, drink or use other substances to deaden the feelings. The process of desensitization that takes place as we numb our feelings diminishes our capacity to process or work through our emotions and issues. The consciousness within the abdominal region becomes deadened and that leaves us very disconnected.

Treatment for Digestive Distress

People in our western culture have for many years primarily relied upon conventional Allopathic treatment modalities to address symptoms of digestive distress and abdominal pain. Medications are commonly used to alleviate symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, acid reflux or the pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as ulcerative colitis. People suffering from ulcerative colitis may require surgery if their symptoms do not respond to the medications or if they experience complications such as bleeding or perforation of the intestine.

More people are now turning to holistic treatment modalities such as acupuncture and massage. Herbal remedies such as ajwain seeds, fennel, mugwort, horehound and chamomile help to relieve symptoms of gas and facilitate digestion. Bad bacteria are another common source of digestive issues. The use of probiotics promotes a balance of healthy bacteria within the digestive tract that boosts the immune system and supports good digestion.

Conventional Allopathic and holistic treatment modalities may help to provide momentary relief from the symptoms of digestive distress, but they do not repair the damage within the physical or subtle bodies. Fasting, colonics, acupuncture, acupressure and massage can free up the stagnant energies and other stresses held within the body, but in many instances people do not have the capability to process the feelings and memories that are being brought to the surface.

The stresses of daily life can overwhelm our bodies and minds. I can feel the stress accumulating within my own body in response to the difficulties that I face from day to day. I have to make time to digest these stresses by breathing into the feelings and sensations I experience within my abdomen and various other parts of my body.

I spend a lot of time doing intensive practice, but there still times when the stresses of daily life take their toll on me and I can feel parts of my consciousness contracting. I’m fully cognizant of the fact that I cannot completely heal on my own. Deep tissue body work has helped me to free up the stagnant emotional energies stored in my body. Healing sessions and vision quests help me to digest the emotions that surface, repair damage within my physical and subtle bodies and restore my system. I always experience a greater sense of aliveness throughout my body afterwards.

Our bodies tend to be very resilient during our younger years. But the stresses that we fail to digest tend to congeal within our bodies and minds. The combination of physical and emotional toxins that settle within our abdomen can cause us to feel very heavy and dense and contribute to symptoms of gas and bloating. The subtle bodies, consisting of the aura and chakras support the structural and functional integrity of the organs and systems of the physical body. In many instances the naval chakra breaks down and stops functioning.

Breathing with our attention focused within the feelings and sensations present within the abdomen will help us to become more fully rooted in our bodies. People who are in good shape are more likely to experience sensations of warmth, comfort and aliveness within their digestive tract.

Many people initially tell me that they feel very disconnected from their lower abdominal region. The intestines and other internal organs feel very cold, inert, deadened, inflamed, dark, scary and foreign. Breathing into the sensations within the abdomen helps people to heal and reconnect with this part of their bodies.

The process of reconnecting with our body can feel very uncomfortable at times. Breathing into the physical sensations we experience within the abdomen can bring all kinds of feelings and memories to the surface. The physical toxins that get stirred up in the process may cause us to feel nauseous or experience diarrhea, but the discomfort will subside as we continue to work with the practice.

Breathing into the feelings and sensations within the abdomen awakens the innate healing intelligence that resides within our bodies and minds. It will help us to process the heavy stagnant emotional residue stored within the abdomen. Our bodies will begin to gradually cleanse themselves of the emotional and physical toxins that have been building up within. Our bodies will feel lighter, internal organs become more highly functional and digestion will improve.

Our deeper instinctual consciousness resides within the abdomen. The Enteric nervous system (ENS) which has been described as a second brain consists of over a hundred million neurons and is embedded in the lining of our gastrointestinal system. The ENS produces over thirty neurotransmitters, most of which are identical to those found in the central nervous system such as acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin. Neurotransmitters are responsible for the signaling that determines our thought processes, emotions, planning and other types of behavior and the functions of our organs and systems.

Breathing into the feelings and sensations within the abdomen awakens the deeper instinctual consciousness inherent within this part of our bodies. This instinctual consciousness gives us a clear sense of the direction we need to be going in our lives.

The abdominal region is the foundation of our consciousness. Becoming fully present is one of the most important aspects of our personal and spiritual development. We become much more firmly rooted within our bodies as we breathe with our awareness focused within the lower abdomen. We also begin to feel much more connected to the Earth.

Breathing with our awareness focused within the lower abdomen is one of the most powerful self-healing practices we can do. This practice becomes considerably more powerful as we do it more often and for longer periods of time. I recommend that people breathe with their awareness focused within the feelings and sensations present within the intestines for thirty to ninety minutes at a time. This practice should be done daily by those who suffer from digestive issues.

The damage within the intestines and other digestive organs may be so great that it requires additional assistance to facilitate healing. I’ve worked with many people who suffer from a wide range of digestive issues such as gas, bloating, impacted bowel and abdominal pain. The presence working through me during the individual healing sessions cleanses the body of toxicity. Damage is repaired within the physical and subtle bodies and the old stagnant emotional residue is purified so it can be digested. In many instances the stomach flattens out and people experience a greater sense of aliveness within their abdomen and other parts of their bodies.

Digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis usually respond very well to the individual healing sessions. The presence working through me rebuilds the naval chakra and repairs damage within the digestive tract. People usually begin to notice improvement within a few sessions. I worked with an elderly man who suffered from ulcerative colitis that complained of abdominal pain and bloody stools. The symptoms of pain, inflammation and bleeding completely subsided after five to six sessions. He went back to his enterologist who confirmed that he had made a dramatic recovery.

A large percentage of the population suffers from abdominal pain, bloating and other digestive issues. The good news is that you can heal with the right combination of foods, supplements and healing practices. These conditions are usually very responsive to the practices I teach and the form of healing power I work with. Feel free to call me at (913) 927-4281 when you’re ready to take the steps that will facilitate your healing.

©Copyright 2011 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission.

Resistance to Being Fully Present

Leave a comment

Presence2
People initially approach me with an enthusiasm saying that they want to heal. That enthusiasm often disappears as soon as the underlying feelings and issues that are the source of many of their problems start making their way to the surface. This loss of enthusiasm stems largely from people’s resistance to being present with their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. This same resistance is what prevents people from gaining awareness, learning from their experiences, growing and healing.

I have watched so many people take a few steps to heal only to have their resistance to being present derail the healing process. Ella has been working as a nutritionist for many years and yet she has always struggled to support herself. The relationship with her partner is very tumultuous at times. Ella and her partner fight like cats and dogs. Her fears of dying have grown along with the range of age related health issues that have emerged in recent years. Ella has been too fearful to go in for a physical exam, despite any concerns she might have for her health and wellbeing.

I would have Ella close her eyes, bring the issues and concerns to the forefront of her awareness, notice what she was feeling within her body and then tell me where the feelings were situated. I then had Ella breathe into the feelings and sensations that arose. People that I work with often tell me how this practice helps them to diffuse and then digest the highly charged emotions that are the source of many of their difficulties. Ella was incredibly resistant to the process and would sometimes say “I hate this!”

Ella had resisted being present for so long that her internal state of being has become a living hell. I told her that she couldn’t possibly experience all of these feelings or go through so much discomfort if she weren’t holding so much toxic drama and emotion within her body. What she hates is being present in her own body, with the feelings contained therein and the realities of her everyday life. Needless to say, Ella’s drama continues.

Most people do not react as Ella did. They may even enjoy the healing process and acknowledge the benefits that they have derived from the individual sessions. Some even rave about the difference the healing sessions have made in their lives, and yet many cannot sustain this level of presence.

Mia was sexually abused as a child and was later abused by the psychiatrist she sought out for treatment. She had so medicated herself into oblivion that one of her friends had to call and schedule the initial appointments. Before long Mia was able to call and schedule her own sessions. With each of the individual session she was developing greater lucidity. Mia began to address the issues pertaining to her finances, her mother’s failing health and it was quite obvious that she was beginning to function better in all areas of her life. I had hopes for Mia after seeing her starting to return to herself, but she would do a few sessions and then disappear for periods time. She would show up months later and then disappear again. I haven’t heard from Mia in quite some time now. The last time I spoke with her, it was evident that she was allowing herself to sink back into her pharmaceutically induced haze.

People like Mia are holding a lifetime of pain, trauma, fear and confusion within their bodies. Matters are further compounded because they lack many of the basic faculties needed to facilitate the healing of these traumas. Traumatic experiences and their corresponding emotional responses alter the biochemical makeup and neurostructure of the brain. The subtle bodies consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura are often damaged and in many instances they fail to fully develop. The combination of these factors can leave survivors of trauma overwhelmed and incapacitated.

The presence working through me during the individual sessions facilitates healing by helping people like Mia to diffuse and then digest the traumas and subsequent layers of emotion. Changes in the structural and biochemical makeup of the brain and the building of the chakras and layers of the aura resulting from the healing sessions make it easier for these individuals to contain and then process their feelings and experiences. Feelings and memories need to be brought to the surface so that healing can take place. The first impulse of many survivors of trauma is to run. The challenge is getting people that who have suffered as a result of traumatic events to remain present to themselves by sticking with the process long enough to build a strong and healthy foundation.

Resistance is inevitable because we learn from such an early age to disconnect from our bodies, our feelings and issues and the realities of our lives that we don’t want to deal with. Our habitual tendency to avoid or resist causes these patterns to become even more deeply ingrained. It is critically important for us to understand that our feelings and the issues we need to be addressing will never just go away. Whatever we fail to process will remain trapped within our bodies and minds. And that will cause our bodies and minds to break down.

We smoke and drink and self-medicate with other recreational drugs. We take pharmaceuticals to numb the pain. We eat way more than our body needs to sustain itself. And we spend hours of the day on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites and we find innumerable other distractions to take us away from what it is that we don’t want to feel.

The feelings we disconnect from may no longer register within our conscious awareness after some time. Our resistance to being present is what prevents us from becoming fully conscious. To the extent that we’re not being conscious we’re walking around in a state of unconsciousness. The disconnect becomes so great that it leaves us blind and numb to whole bandwidths of our consciousness. The resulting desensitization prevents us from seeing and feeling the implications of our actions upon ourselves, other people and the world in which we live. And that accounts for so much of our craziness individually and collectively as a human species.

We may eat right and exercise. We may even pray, meditate, chant mantras, do Tai Chi, Yoga, Pranayama, go to our preferred house of worship and bow at the guru’s feet and yet we still deny and disconnect from our feelings, avoid the issues and refuse to go to those wounded places within. Prayer, most forms of meditation, yoga and tai chi all benefit us in many ways and yet they’re not going to heal the deep emotional wounds. And no great god from the sky is going to come down and take it all away. We have to become fully present to our issues, the realities of our lives and the subsequent feelings that arise from them.

I was very resistant to the painful feelings that arose in response to the abuses suffered during my childhood and adolescence and the subsequent patterns of abandonment, unrequited love and abusive relationships that began to play out in my adult life. My resistance to what I was feeling reinforced the relational dynamics that were causing me to suffer so terribly. This same resistance is what prevented me from healing. It took me a long time to realize that I could never escape from the pain. I could only go through the middle of it. I taught myself to be fully present to the realities of what wasn’t working in my relationships and all the subsequent feelings attached to them. Breathing into all the feelings and physical sensations began to awaken the innate healing power residing within my body and mind. The pain was transformed. And in the process of doing so it became fuel for growth.

There were many instances where I would start to access my feelings, but my internal resistance would cause me to pop out of them. I had to train myself to remain fully present to my feelings by continually bringing myself back to them whenever my defense mechanisms caused me to jump track. I would breathe into the numbness during those times I couldn’t access my feelings or the stuckness I felt when parts of my life weren’t working.

I have been making a very conscientious effort to become more cognizant of the many areas of life where I am resistant. I do that by teaching myself to pay more attention to the times when I react to people and situations. At other times catch myself complaining about what’s not working, becoming frustrated or angry or trying to control the outcome of a situation.

It is appropriate for us to react when we’re faced with a legitimate threat to our wellbeing. Most situations do not warrant such a strong response. I find that I can respond more appropriately to people, situations and the issues that are of concern to me when I breathe into the feelings that were causing me to react. And then there are other times when I need to let go of any attempt to control or influence and just allow people and circumstances to be as they are.

All kinds of feelings and issues make their way to the surface in response the various practices and interventions that I do. It can feel very uncomfortable at the time these feelings and issues are surfacing, but I always feel a greater sense of aliveness and find that I’m more capable of doing whatever it is that I need to be doing as I work through the feelings and issues. I want as much of this aliveness, presence and power as I can get.

There are times when I felt incredibly resistant while on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. The resistance becomes so strong as the powerful forces working on me began to move through my body. I sometimes felt as though I wanted to jump out of my skin. I would become so angry and frustrated as the resistance intensified that I wanted the whole experience to be over with. I finally realized after some time that it was during these times when I felt the most overwhelmed and the most resistant that I was making the greatest breakthroughs. I learned to stop fighting the process by becoming as present as I possibly could in the midst of my discomfort. The breakthroughs I experienced became that much more profound as I learned to become more fully present in this way.

Healing requires courage, commitment and consistency. Healing and personal growth ceases to happen when we stop feeling and addressing our issues and embracing life. The feelings, issues and realities of our daily lives that need to be dealt with can be unpleasant at times, but the only true way forward is to remain fully present to the best of our ability. Facing our issues, dealing directly with life as it unfolds, feeling what we truly feel and making use of the interventions that enable us to facilitate the aspects of our healing process that we cannot fully do on our own make it possible for us to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Breaking the Cycle of Abusive Relationships

Leave a comment

Abusive Relationships
Many of us suffer terribly as a result of being neglected, abandoned or abused by those entrusted to care for us during our childhood. Being abused as a child is bad enough. It would be so nice if we could just move on in our lives and leave the past behind. Sadly, these patterns of abuse often carry over into our adult relationships. We invariably end up attracting partners that say and do things that reinforce our childhood wounds.

Elements of our childhood innocence can stay with us throughout our adolescence and into adulthood. It’s our naiveté that sometimes makes us vulnerable to people that have the potential to inflict tremendous harm upon us. We open our hearts to these individuals and then they end up saying and doing things that evoke all kinds of painful feelings.

We all have legitimate needs to love and be loved. But the hurtful things our partners say and do keep us on a continual emotional rollercoaster. We try to make it right by talking the issues out, but then our partner keeps saying and doing things that causes us more pain and that deepens the cycle of traumatic bonding that leaves us feeling strung out emotionally.

We resist the horribly painful emotions by going up into our heads. Our thoughts become obsessive as we spin around in endless cycles of analysis in our attempt to make sense of what we’re going through. We come up with all kinds of distorted rationalizations to justify our partner’s behavior. And then we talk about our partners and how hurt and crazy they’re making us with anyone that we can get to listen. We’re trying to find relief from the pain, but we end up sucking the life out of those who have to listen.

Our continual analysis of everything our partners says and does is an attempt to maintain our sanity by gaining some sense of control of our relationships, ourselves and the feelings we’re experiencing. Spinning around in our thoughts is an incredibly dangerous practice in that it reinforces the disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. Our obsessive thoughts also generate more and more painful emotion. These highly charged emotions end up getting trapped within our bodies. It’s this powerful emotional force that fuels the addiction that makes it so difficult for us to let go of an abusive partner.

The buildup of painful emotions within our body in combination with our tendency to dissociate erodes the faculties within our bodies and minds that would enable to process the hurt. We keep resisting all those horribly painful and crazy making feelings. And by shutting down emotionally we end up digging ourselves in deeper.

The pain we keep resisting continually reinforces our addiction to unavailable, narcissistic and otherwise abusive partners. We need to fully experience any feelings that arise in response to what our partners are doing. It is critically important for us to interrupt the pattern of obsessive thought. The first step of breaking out of the cycle of obsessive thought involves asking ourselves. “What are the deepest feelings behind all of these thoughts?” We need to notice what we’re feeling and where the feelings are situated within our body. We then need to breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing ourselves in the midst of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. Our mind will invariably wander back into the obsessive thoughts. We need to keep interrupting the thoughts by returning to the underlying feelings. This process can be very difficult in the beginning and yet it becomes easier with practice.

The need for intervention

Breaking out of the cycle of abusive relationships requires a tremendous effort. Practices such as the one I described above are a critically important part of the process. Patterns of abusive relationships often become so deeply entrenched that we cannot heal completely on our own. We need specific interventions to facilitate the part of the healing process that we cannot do for ourselves.

Deep tissue bodywork helps brings the emotions stored within our bodies up to the surface so that they can be processed. Nourishing physical contact combined with the processing of our feelings helps us to develop a stronger connection with our physical bodies while freeing us from the cycle of addiction to abusive partners.

The trauma that we have experienced in abusive relationships gets hard wired into the body and mind. Working with a number exceptionally gifted healers and going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food and water helped me to diffuse and then digest the traumas of my past and build the new foundation that has enabled me to attract healthier companions. Taking the steps to heal my own woundedness has enabled me to facilitate healing within others that are faced with the same issues.

People that are getting into relationships with abusive partners are holding huge amounts of painful emotion in their bodies. The pain that gets internalized often cause them to dissociate from their feelings and physical bodies. It also creates a lot of tension within the body. I can feel much of this tension deep within the internal organs. All of this toxic emotion and tension resulting from the chronic stress of being with an abusive partner is very damaging to the brain and the body’s other internal organs. It also does tremendous damage to the subtle bodies consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura.

People that work with me individually experience a gradual process of transformation that frees them from patterns of abusive partners and relationships. The presence working through me during the individual healing sessions does this by dissolving the many layers of many layers of tension and body armor. The addictive attachment to abusive partners lessens with each session as the painful emotions and other stresses are diffused and digested. Digesting the backlog of painful emotions enables them to become more fully present in their bodies. Healing the deep emotional wounds enables these individuals to develop a healthier relationship with themselves. Their intuitive senses grow stronger and that gives them a better sense of other people. Self-love and appreciation grows as they continue to progress in their healing. They naturally find themselves attracted to and attracting healthier partners as a result of the healing taking place within their bodies and minds.

Cover Image “Battered Woman on the Ever of Liberation” by Isabel Rooney http://isabel-rooney.sytes.net/index.html

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Older Entries