I’ve been working on a post about some of the muscle changes that arise as you heal old patterns and I will post that one soon, but as I’ve worked on it, I’ve been reflecting on the larger issue of many varieties of growing pains that arise on any journey of healing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.
Most of the time if a practice or a modality or an herbal remedy is working, there’s some not-so-pleasant spell of pain or intense emotion or stuff coming out of you before the blessed relief. If you’re doing your job of leaving behind your old self in order to merge with Self, you’re going to look at the deep dark corners of your soul, cry, yell… feel like crap. If you’re healing physical issues — actually healing, not masking symptoms with medicine — the stuff that works is going to give you a headache or make your nose run, or give YOU the runs or leave some muscle(s) sore…
I’ve encountered many people over 30 years as a student, an assistant, and a teacher who somehow imagine a spiritual journey involves nirvana all the time. If anything hurts or causes crying or leads their body to release something, they’re stunned and convinced this practice or healing method is bad. At the first headache or tear drop they’re gone, gone, gone.
One of my earliest experiences came at the first week-long workshop I attended. The teachers emphasized we really needed to drink a lot of water because we’d be moving a lot of energy and releasing toxins. I’d never been much of a water drinker, my eating habits were poor and, although I’d not realized at that time, my digestive system was, shall we say, sluggish.
I obeyed the water-drinking suggestion and man did my intestinal tract do some major clearing. Somehow I completely understood that this was a good thing– both literally and figuratively, getting rid of “old shit”– and, besides all the consciousness raising benefits, my health got a boost too.
In many varieties of body work I have learned over and over how numb muscles are when they’re tightly knotted — and when you open them up and let those numbed-out nerve endings out in the world again, IT HURTS. The opened muscles are often in pain for days or a week. I’m always so focused on the relief I feel from the release, I don’t mind that sore muscle at all.
I’ve cried a river of tears, I’ve pounded and screamed, I’ve looked into the dark places of my childhood that I’d buried out of sight. And I do it all for the healing, for the sweet release into freedom and the ever growing ability to live in a state of equilibrium.
To be honest, I didn’t set off on this path in search of bliss or even higher consciousness. I started out just trying to be happier and able to get past a lot of hang-ups that held me back. I did it by going to a therapist who worked with meditation, past life work, affirmations, etc. and I came to embrace the spiritual aspects of my journey but never with a goal of permanent bliss.
However as I’ve opened and grown I’ve realized that bliss is more about being able to hold a space of calm regardless of what comes. And you get there by healing your physical, emotional and spiritual issues. But what it isn’t is a state where you’re on some perpetual high and nothing bad ever happens. What changes is how you react to both the good and the bad. It’s the process through the pain, the vale of tears, the hidden memories that lets you take the world’s ups and downs with serenity.
But I’ve met a lot of people who are seeking some kind of everlasting high and shudder and shy at anything that causes pain or brings up emotions. I always wonder how far they really get on their journey. Because the way I see it, the journey toward a more blissful life … it ain’t all blissful, baby. Some of it is treacherous going, uncomfortable and unpleasant. But on the other side… liberation.