For years I found myself attracted to unavailable and abusive women who reenacted the traumas of my childhood and adolescence. The emotions that surfaced were excruciatingly painful and I didn’t know how to help myself. I often felt like I was flailing in the dark. I began to work with a psychotherapist who helped me gain an intellectual understanding of the abuse I had gone through and how it was affecting me, but it did nothing to alleviate the painful emotions that left me feeling so incapacitated.

I felt as if I had fallen into the abyss. The feelings that surfaced were excruciatingly painful and were sometimes accompanied by graphic suicidal images. The painful feelings often lasted for hours and sometimes went on for days. There were many nights when I couldn’t sleep and I sometimes wondered if I was going over the edge.

I had an instinctive sense that I needed to let down all resistance by fully experiencing the painful feelings that were surfacing. I did that by breathing softly and deeply while fully immersing myself in the middle of any feelings or sensations that I experienced within my body. After some time I could feel something breaking open. Powerful emanations of warmth started to flow from within. I began to trust that a greater intelligence was working within to facilitate my healing as this comforting presence flowed throughout my body.

A woman I had been seeing abruptly dropped out of the picture during this time. One evening, I felt I had to get out of the house and found myself breathing into the painful feelings of loss as I walked through the streets of our neighborhood. All the emotions and energies held within began to circulate throughout my physical and subtle bodies which helped to diffuse the painful feelings and make the whole process of digestion more manageable. I would often go out to do this walking meditation for two to three hours at a time.

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