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.

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