In the post How I Got Rid of Pain Using the Law of Attraction, I chronicled how I was able to release physical pain (in this case, a stomach ache) by focusing on a neutral symbol. Basically, I made the point that we have the power to change our physical experience by focusing in a way that deactivates or disallows whatever is causing our suffering. I talk about this in pretty much every one of my posts, of course – the way we focus allows us to not only feel better, but manifest the reality we want (or not). And most people who read this type of material believe or at least want to believe this to be true to some extent. But it becomes a lot more difficult to get our heads around the idea that we truly are this powerful in the moment, when we’re being slapped in the face by a physical condition of some kind. And even if one does believe that completely ignoring our pain causes it to diminish or even go away entirely, is it really possible to completely ignore our physical suffering? Is it really possible for a normal person to tune out their current, painful reality?
Well, yes and no. While it’s possible to completely tune out our pain or physical discomfort to the point where we no longer feel it, it’s really, really hard to do when the pain or discomfort is bad enough. Luckily, it’s not necessary to just ignore it. There’s another way to get relief. It’s not the easiest thing in the world and takes a little bit of training, but it’s totally doable.
My learning experience – Night One
Often, when I ask a question, the answer comes to me in the form of an experience that allows me to fully understand the answer, not just get it intellectually. So, a few months ago (this is really recent stuff!), when I was exploring suffering, the cause of it, and the real question: how to release it, I had a powerful experience that led to the insight I’m about to share with you.
I was lying in bed one night, meditating. I tend to meditate at night, just before going to sleep. I decided not to guide my meditation, but simply to open myself up and allow whatever information I needed to know most to come through. I consider the knowledge and clarity I receive during meditation to be manifestations – and when I simply leave it up to the Universe, I always get the answer I most need at that time.
So, there I was, all relaxed and floaty, when a powerful wave of anxiety swept through my body. Adrenalin was pumping through my veins, my breathing became faster, and terror swept through me. I was in the midst of a full blown panic attack, and as anyone who’s ever had one can tell you, they aren’t pleasant. I had no idea what the anxiety was about and couldn’t imagine that any thought I’d had in the midst of meditation could’ve inadvertently triggered these feelings. I held on as best I could, acknowledging that I was physically safe and that my body was simply reacting to something I hadn’t discovered yet. I reassured myself that what I was feeling was mostly a result of the adrenalin coursing through my system and eventually, it would pass. I balled my fists, braced myself and decided to “just get through it”, as if resigning myself to being tortured. It would have to end at some point. Panic attacks can’t last forever.
And it did end, eventually. The aftermath (muscles twitching, nausea, breathlessness, etc.) lasted for more than an hour, until I finally managed to drift off to sleep.
Night Number Two – a pattern emerges
The next day, I wasn’t able to get any more clarity on what had happened or what had triggered the panic attack. I couldn’t make any sense of it. I hadn’t had a full blown attack in years. I do occasionally manifest anxiety – it’s one of my body’s favorite ways to manifest resistance because it always gets my attention, and fast. But this hadn’t been just a bit of anxiousness sweeping through me. This was the real deal and I wasn’t eager for a repeat performance. I wanted to figure out what had happened.
That night, as I lay in bed, I set the intention to obtain some clarity and went into a meditative state. And BAM! I got hit with a panic attack again. And again, I braced myself and rode it out. It would have to end eventually and I knew that I was strong enough to get through it. I knew this because I’ve created a lot of suffering in my life. In fact, I used to pride myself on just how much pain I could endure. If I got the flu, I worked through it. Proudly. If I was stressed out to the point of nearly having a nervous breakdown, I’d press on. It wasn’t easy to stop me, damn it. Of course, now I know that it wasn’t easy for my inner being to get my attention and it took a lot of suffering to get me to finally be willing to make a change. But when faced with a big challenge, especially physical discomfort, I still had a bit of a tendency to just turn into the storm, head first, ready to do battle and take my lumps. Like I said, I was strong enough, damn it.
Once the waves of panic passed, I lay there, adrenalin still coursing through my system, stunned at having been hit with another seemingly unprovoked attack. It began to dawn on me that there might be a purpose to these sessions – that this might have something to do with my intention to understand and overcome suffering in general. Perhaps, bracing and “just getting through it” was not the most optimal way to deal with this kind of discomfort. I have come to believe, strongly, that suffering in all its forms is unnecessary. So, I reasoned that there must be a better way to deal with pain or anxiety. But what?
Night Number Three – Clarity
Enter the third night. As I got into bed, I knew that I wasn’t just going to go to sleep. I had work to do, discoveries to make, clarity to obtain. I got into my meditative state and asked “What’s a better way to deal with physical suffering? What’s a better way to deal with these panic attacks?” The answer I got was “Just let go”, which, I’ve got to tell you, kind of annoyed me. I mean, if I could “just let go” of the anxiety, I would, right? Obviously, my guides had never had a freaking panic attack, or they wouldn’t be so damn flippant about it. You can’t just turn off a full blown panic attack. Just let go, my ass.
I tried to get a better answer, but I just kept hearing “Just let go”, like some kind of broken record. Our guides, by the way, will never change their answer just because we don’t like it. They can be really stubborn that way.
And so, I decided to relax and just allow the experience to happen. There was something for me to discover here, and even if I didn’t yet know what it was, I had enough faith in my ability to find it, to allow me to just go with it. I relaxed and waited for the suffering to begin.
And it did. Great big waves of anxiety swept over me. And I noticed myself tensing – bracing for the storm. Turning into it, head first, like the fighter that I’ve always been. Only, this time was different. I noticed myself bracing; I watched myself doing it. And then I heard it again: “Just let go”.
And it began to dawn on me. Let go. Don’t fight the storm. Don’t brace and turn into it. Let the storm take you. Ride the waves. Just go with it. Accept it and STOP FIGHTING.
I began to relax. It was scary – what if going with it made the anxiety worse? What if the waves washed me away? I tensed, then relaxed some more. And I thought, “Ok anxiety, I surrender. Just take me.” I stopped fighting, turned and let the waves take me.
And then something amazing happened. Instead of the anxiety increasing and peaking, instead of “just getting through it”, I still felt the waves of adrenalin coursing through me (you can’t stop a panic attack on a dime), but my experience of it changed drastically. I wasn’t afraid. There was no terror. There was no panic. I rode the waves. Hell, I surfed them. Instead of clenching my jaw and fighting the experience every step of the way, I welcomed it, surrendered to it. And the moment I did, my anxiety passed. I still felt the adrenalin for a little while (although my recovery took minutes instead of over an hour), but all fear was gone. All discomfort was gone. And then – clarity arrived.
I realized that ALL suffering is caused by our insistence on weathering the storm. We brace, we fight and we suffer. If we can just go with the moment, just flow with the energy of it, just ride the waves and let them take us, suffering ceases instantly. When we think “I don’t want this! Please stop! Please make it stop!”, we are fighting. The suffering increases. But when we think “Ok, here we go. Just take me. I won’t fight. I surrender”, suffering decreases or goes away altogether.
I’ve since tested this theory several times and it works every time – both with physical as well as psychological discomfort. For example, if I’m out dancing and the DJ is playing horrible music, I could get all annoyed and stomp out. Or, I can decide to dance, to let the music flow through me, to just go with it. And then I have fun. When I have a cramp (I don’t get them often, but I did manifest one while testing this theory), I can hate the fact that my body is putting me through hell and that apparently, women are meant to suffer more than men, or I can make peace with it and just allow the pain to wash through me. And when I do that, the pain diminishes and either goes away completely, or fades into the background and becomes a non-issue. It’s about allowing – allowing whatever is to just be, and to decide to just be ok with it. It’s about not trying to change what’s happening, but to just let it go. And when we manage to do that successfully, our experience changes for the better.
We create our suffering by fighting the moment – by pushing against the NOW. When we stop fighting and allow ourselves to be swept up by the moment, when we surrender to our NOW, our suffering ceases. Like I said, it’s not necessarily easy and it does take some practice (and it can be scary as hell), but it works.
Try it for yourself (but maybe don’t start with the biggest pain in your life). Just let go. Ride the waves. Let the storm take you. Doesn’t that feel better?
How do you handle suffering? Can you learn to let go? Do you have another technique you can share? Let me know in the comments!
Also, for those of you who just can’t get enough of me (you know who you are, you happy shiny puppies you), the incredibly intuitive Angela Artemis published an interview with yours truly on her blog yesterday. The audio recording is full of awesome nuggets of LOA wisdom and I even threw in some metaphors I’ve never mentioned anywhere else before. Check it out here: Is Your Life All it Could Be? 3 Crucial Steps You May Be Missing.