21 March 2014 4 Comments

Pearls from Pain, Part 11: Using Intense Experience for Transformation

Intense emotion and energy can evoke trauma. Being in the face of the same intense emotions and energy while consciously choosing to be okay and to USE that energy for change can employ this intensity in service to transformation. The same intensity that memorializes experience into tissues, nerve, and brain as trauma is instead used to catalyze change.

Using potentially traumatic experience intentionally has general two applications:

  1. Rising to the occasion to make lemonade when life gives us lemons.
  2. Entering situations you might otherwise avoid with the intention to do spiritual work.

Please note that this second practice is only useful if you are well established working on yourself, have adequate support, are prepared to assimilate powerful experience, and feel guided to take it on.

P1050084Potentially traumatic experience can function similar to or actually be a kind of initiation. Intentional Work in the face of intense energy can galvanize or activate spiritual energy by bringing new skill levels forward with all of your resources focused enough to create a lasting change.

Here are two examples:

At a ten day meditation retreat I became really sick, with intense physical pain. I worked very hard to surrender all preconceptions and allow everything that was happening to be a part of my retreat, keeping my attention on my inner processes and my breath. I kept bringing myself back to the moment and remained committed to using this opportunity to transform. I came out of this experience with a different internal landscape.

Years ago, I started to date a man and discovered he had extreme emotional attachment issues. He lived out of town. I had seen him on two visits. The third time I went to visit he was feeling insecure. He greeted me by saying, โ€œMarry me or get out!โ€

This man showed some signs of volatility the visit before. I was concerned about my emotional safety and therefore consulted with my main healer prior to this trip. We agreed that one last visit was the Highest Option, rather than canceling my trip.

My healer told me that the horrible sensations I got in my guts when he began to escalate were caused by my chakras tilting sharply to one side when I became afraid. She coached me to focus as much as possible to keep my chakras even and level in the midst of intense interaction.

I entered the actual situation with a back-up plan in case I felt physically threatened. The man did go ballistic when I replied to his demand, saying gently that I would never make a commitment under pressure. He yelled at me full voice for about two hours without stopping. For half of this I curled into a ball.

This is what I was doing inside:

  • Watching my chakras, leveling them if any began to twist, and noting the differences in my sensations and emotions when I did
  • Telling my body I was safe and maintaining the strength to exit if this changed
  • Reminding myself that his intense reactive state was a product of his history, not from me
  • Remembering all the people who love and respect me
  • Trying to keep my muscles relaxed
  • Keeping my guidance channels open in case I needed to do something different
  • Telling myself I would never need to do this again
  • Waiting for the storm to pass so I could exit in a caring way

When the man had expended his tirade of self-protective criticism and the rage he used to protect his inner wounds, he was ready to talk reasonably. We ended our association unequivocally and with understanding. I gained and retained the valuable capacity to maintain my self esteem around angry people instead of dissociating and losing my self-support.

Effective spiritual work very occasionally requires such intensity. Simply watching your breath and staying present while you enact non-ideal habits, and wearing away numbness and dullness, sets up the preconditions for transformation.

When has disturbing intensity served your development?

What did you need to do to make it work FOR you instead of against you?

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4 Responses to “Pearls from Pain, Part 11: Using Intense Experience for Transformation”

  1. Jennifer Hammill 21 March 2014 at 8:10 am #

    WOW. Thanks for these stories. I tried doing a little of this this week when my car broke down on the Freeway, but not to the full extent that you did. I ALMOST look forward to another chance at it.

  2. Tom 21 March 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks again Teresa! Difficult intense situations (or we, when we can work in a beneficial way) are sometimes like a crucible in which the alchemy can happen.


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