There are times in life when utter doubt, confusion, and chaos move in like a dense fog settled upon the land. It seems as though we’ve lost the ability to see even our hand in front of our face. During times like this we have the propensity to begin a furious search for meaning, for answers. We go to this therapist, that book, this spiritual path, or that teacher. Desperate for clarity and meaning—for clear sunny blue skies—we begin seeking as though our very lives depend upon it. Sometimes guidance is appropriate. Another’s wisdom can serve as a signpost, an arrow.
One reason that we have such a difficult time with these internal weather patterns is because they are uncomfortable–at times so uncomfortable that we feel as though we are being eviscerated. Most of us aren’t taught how to be with this intense discomfort. At times, instead of being with this intense discomfort we unknowingly project our hurt onto others in the form of blame, in a sense becoming a victim. Or we eat, drink, or binge watch episodes in a desperate attempt not to feel what we’re feeling.
The potential for the capacity to be with all of it is there. It is inherent within us. It is quite possible to stop squirming against discomfort and instead allow it. To stop blaming others for our pain—or using other numbing behaviors—and begin to use our discomfort as the teacher, the guide, the therapist. All this takes is a willingness to stay, a willingness to stay with the intense physical sensation that is present in your chest, your gut, your pelvis, or wherever it may be. This intensity needs to breathe. It needs space and allowance. Continued resistance of it can result in a state of contracted energy buried deep within that ultimately turns into a state of dis-ease. Would you ever shout at a cloudy or foggy sky, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be here! I’d prefer a sunny sky instead!”? It would seem like madness to suggest to the present moment that it ought not be here.
Our capacity cannot stretch if we do not open the door to what is uncomfortable and stand unwaveringly before it. While our culture distinguishes between physical and emotional pain, at the most subtle level they are not distinguishable. Next time you experience the unpleasantness of sadness, anger, confusion, or doubt, drop the concepts of sadness, anger, confusion, and doubt and simply be with the physical sensations, the breath. Go into a quiet room and drop the story, the explanations, and the analysis of your experience and simply be with your experience. Stay with it. Eventually it might not seem difficult to stay with discomfort. What felt charged, painful, and uncomfortable might just begin to lose its juice.
As our capacity stretches we begin to find the strength and the courage to trust ourselves. We begin to realize that the very fibers of our being are suffused with the profound and outrageous intelligence of the Eternal itself—the same intelligence that beats our hearts, pulses life force through our veins, and births nebulas, black holes, and galaxies. The very same inexplicable intelligence that keeps us upright on earth with gravity, breathing oxygen, our innards staying in while we rotate around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour and hurl through space at 420,000 thousand miles per hour. That intelligence.
All of a sudden it becomes much easier to trust ourselves and our capacity. To stop doubting who and what we are and instead open up to and allow the magnificence that we already are (that we just temporarily forgot about) with all of its weather patterns, not just the sunny, calm, and pleasant ones. We realize that we erroneously decided somewhere along the line that discomfort meant bad and not magnificent. We drop that false notion and instead let our discomfort morph into our wisdom. We develop the capacity to allow what is uncomfortable—just like eternity allows the birth and destruction of everything. As we remember what we are we begin to trust ourselves, to listen to our own intuition—that wordless voice that is our only true compass and hums louder as the noise dampens and the dust settles. Ultimately, we no longer need that teacher, that book, that spiritual path, or that therapist because we realize we were always all of those things. Ultimately, our evisceration becomes our liberation.