13 February 2015 4 Comments

Managing Your Energy, Part 37: Types of Distress & Spiritual Distress

It is challenging to approach the topic of feeling that God or the Universe is causing us suffering. I don’t want to be glib about this, or to dodge it because it is so difficult to write about without rhetoric, platitudes, or too much to believe. I find myself with a number of different things to say about this topic, in different contexts. I truly hope you find my reflections useful.

Much of the suffering we go through through is due to attachment, reactivity, old wounds, rigid biases about what “should be,” and so forth. It is useful to differentiate between:

  • Distress that has been there all along, now surfacing into awareness (an opportunity for greater personal freedom)
  • Distress sourced to mistaken opinions and beliefs about live (an opportunity for positive disillusionment)
  • Distress that might be referred to as karmic, related to unavoidable life events (long term lessons that require integration over years)
  • Reactivity and resistance because we don’t like the way things are (calls for developing greater acceptance of Life)
  • Pain caused by lower-self resistance to the higher-self bringing in more light/awareness (ugh. Good luck, fellow Travelers! We’re in an unprecedented planetary growth spurt and the going is intense!)

The latter can be viewed as suffering that is brought about by spiritual pursuit. It hurts, yet at least when we incur suffering in pursuit of something of real value, it has inherent meaning.IMG_1791

This type of distress, when it is real, is an indication of achievement. We have managed to make a significant enough change in our energies that it is invoking internal resistance. It IS possible to regress in our trajectory of growth. An established habit of intentionally selecting the Highest Possible Option in the moment serves well during this kind of juncture, as does access to genuine Guidance.

If we are not on board with the changes we are going through, and experience no sense of choice, our distress is exacerbated.

We may also suffer when we are calling out for help and do not receive it. Sometimes we need to formulate ourselves through grappling with a particular challenge over time, alone. This is especially painful when we do not understand the purpose and direction of our growth, and feel we have not chosen this course.

It is possible to have chosen a course unwittingly. When we pray for greater understanding and compassion, for example, we may have experiences by which we learn them. How else are we to fully comprehend if not through direct experience?

When we are suffering, it is easy to feel uncomfortable or even annoyed by people who lack sufficient understanding to be in rapport with us. Trying to manage relating to people who don’t ‘get it’ when we hurt is emotionally frustrating. We may protect ourselves from disappointment, frustration, or shame by withdrawing from superficial or hyper-positive people, by whom we may be judged. It’s okay to crawl under a rock for repairs.

When I share positive experiences, values, directions to focus on, and highly positive experiences, I feel concerned about inadvertently pushing buttons for those of you who are in pain. (I’m trying to get over that.) Being positive can be scary because it can alienate people for various reasons. Those of you who know me know that I am all about wholeness. I have limited patience for people who adopt an external attitude that appears positive without doing their Inner Work—particularly if they regurgitate memorized platitudes when I am in distress.

The most positive and integrated people I know can and do stand fully in rapport with those who have been shattered by atrocities. They do not act “nice,” sugar-coat anything, or withdraw from distress, their own, or that of others.

Do you differentiate between different types of distress?

If so, how does that serve you?

Be Sociable, Share!

4 Responses to “Managing Your Energy, Part 37: Types of Distress & Spiritual Distress”

  1. Therese 13 February 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    I think I use to differentiate between different types of stress but I’ve come to realize, for me, stress is stress. The hardest part, for me, is to identify all the ways stress influences my life. Several years ago, I realized I’ve had so much stress in my life I didn’t even know I was stressed. I’ve relaxed a lot but I still stress over many things that just don’t matter. Why? Because, when I was little, I had to be vigilant. Realizing the ludicrousness doesn’t change the learnin. I have to look at each moment of my life and assess the situation. This is where learning to be accepting will change my stress levels. Acceptance and stress cancel each other out.

    I don’t know if this stayed on the topic you were exploring. I feel really exhausted but I didn’t when I first started typing. There’s a connection there. I’m going to see if I can figure it out.

    With Love,

    • Teresa Dietze 18 February 2015 at 11:16 am #

      Dear Therese,

      Interesting self observation.

      Differentiating types of DISTRESS can help one to make an effective intervention, when that is possible. Sometimes knowing what is going on clarifies how to take responsibility–not as in assigning blame, but by knowing which kinds of self-application will ease things off.

      I’ll be interested to hear about it if you care to share what came up for you. 🙂



  2. Therese 21 February 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    I decided figuring it out wasn’t worth the effort involved. It felt more like the stress was a test so I figured it was Ego oriented and I just no longer care about figuring out why my Ego is getting my attention.

    I’ve had a lot of energy work lately and I’m very serene and peaceful. I like this state over most others. 🙂

    • Teresa Dietze 27 February 2015 at 10:58 am #

      I’m smiling. For you, this approach is good. I’ve started, when I am doing spiritual practice, to handle distractions by asking myself which the is most important place to have my attention at the moment.

      I do think, though, that before one has developed self awareness and the courage to really look inward, the same words might be about avoiding awareness instead of coming into a deeper balance. Acts mean what they do in context, so what seems to be the same act for one person may have a totally different meaning and effect for another.



Leave a Reply