Two Insights about Suffering
By Colleen-Joy Page
Recently I had two insights in a dream that I wanted to share with you. The insights are about why we suffer emotionally and how we can heal our suffering. I hope they support you as they do me. I'll share it with you in the same way it came to me.
Picture a baby child learning how to get by in the world. He feels hungry and so he cries from the discomfort. Someone comes and gives him food (hopefully) - he is now satisfied. This happens again and again and he learns that "when he feels empty inside he can get something from the outside world to make the emptiness go away. So one of original conditioned programs we all learn is emptiness inside = seek fulfillment from the outside. Stay with me, I hope to be able to explain this well, because it's a simple but really important insight.
Again picture a baby child, let's make is a girl now. She is learning to walk and stands on a sharp toy. It hurts and she cries, some part of her remembers to avoid the sharp toy because it caused pain. If an adult had seen, they might even have pushed away the toy, to make the source of the pain go away. So here is a 2nd conditioned program, when you feel pain = push the source of the pain away.
Both these work well in the physical outer world of survival. It's a good idea to seek food and water, also a good idea to push away physical danger. But what if we can't tell the difference between emotional and physical pain? What if when we feel emotionally empty we also look externally for fulfillment? What if when we feel emotional pain we also try to push away the source of the pain? Isn't this true? This is exactly what we do. And the incredible thing is that this NEVER works long term. In fact it actually creates even more suffering.
So the insights are:
- We try to fill emotional emptiness the same way we fill physical hunger, we look externally. Think about it, we look to other people, for love, for worth, for respect or for whatever we are hungry for inside of us. The big problem about this is.... it does not work. We can't succeed. Emotional hunger is different from physical hunger but we treat it the same way, and because we see it work with food, we think it will work with emotions, but it simply does not. In fact we need to fully see that they are different and need completely different approaches. In fact, many eating problems (over eating, under eating) are from this entanglement, the mind's inability to tell physical hunger from emotional hunger.
- We try to free ourselves from emotional pain the same way we fix physical pain, we push the source of the pain away. Think about it. If we feel afraid of being emotionally hurt, we push away the person or thing we feel may be the source of pain (the sharp toy). If we think a part of us in in pain, we even push that part of ourselves away (or try to anyway). The thing is, this just doesn't work. Emotional pain is not the same as physical pain, no matter how much the mind thinks it is. And sadly the very "pushing" away causes long term pain, broken relationships and loss of the true self.
Remind yourself that physical pain and emotional pain are different. Physical hunger and emotional hunger are different. Honor their differences. Feed your emotional hunger with the food of your soul, nurture emotional pain within the loving embrace of your heart.
From the office of Colleen-Joy Page, The Academy of Metaphysics. Colleen specializes in training others in powerful tools like intuition and dream work. To find out about her InnerLifeSkills interactive CD and workbook home study course, visit Inner Life Skills.