There is Only One Need and That is the Need to Connect ~ Deepak Chopra
Emotional Pain Speaks to a Disruption in Your Relationship
The Perspective of Defense is Disconnection
It may seem counterintuitive to attend to pain. But that is exactly what is required. In order to come out of disconnection and being “triggered,” you must be aware of what is at the root of your hurt.
Your natural instinct with a physical injury is to take care of it. A broken bone in your leg hurts and so you take care of yourself by going to the doctor so that it can be “set.” It may still hurt while it is healing because your body is telling you that you should not use this part of your body until it is completely healed. If you do not listen to this message and go hiking or jogging, you may injure it further. The same goes for your emotional body. If you do not listen to what is hurt inside and take care of it, it may fester into a larger wound. Emotional energy builds and the disturbance remains in your body. If it is not paid attention to, it will manifest as a physical problem or illness.
The ego’s defense mechanism is primal. It assumes that there is danger outside of the self and with that perspective it believes that other people make us disconnect or even force us to disconnect due to their negative behavior. The truth is You are always in control of when you connect or disconnect. You have the power and choice whether to stay connected or not. Focusing on blaming your partner or friend will not result in creating connection. The first step is to find out what is really going on within you and that starts with introspection.
The Perspective of Connection
Pay attention to the sensations and energy arising. The “Whoosh” of energy is the first clue that you are triggered. Awareness of these sensations allows you to take a step back from reacting and not let your primal limbic system control you. Breathing gives your body time to engage the executive functions of your brain, which allows you to understand alternate perspectives and regulate your emotions.
The initial thoughts of your defense system focus on being alert to harm. Intense emotions tell you that you may need to withdraw and take a time-out to protect yourself from harm or from harming another with words or actions. The next thoughts bring up past negative experiences. Instead of seeing the present situation clearly without preconceived ideas about what is happening there are assumptions about what the intentions the other person has or the meaning about what is happening. Judgments can cause unnecessary pain. The negative stories we tell ourselves about a person's behavior or actions is usually laced with past behaviors by them and even more profoundly influenced by the interactions with others from our past. Before you make accusations take the time to calm down and become centered and then check in with the other person to find out their perspective of the current situation. Really listen. Stay in the Present. Stay non-judgmental and leave out the past.
It is also important to release any self-blame or thoughts of “screwing up again” because this is just another form of disconnection. Shift your awareness to go into the spaciousness of peace and harmony that is within you. The more you go into this silent place, the more you will find that peace and love are always available for you. Pain means that you are disconnected from the state of wholeness. Connecting to the source in your heart melts the disconnection and you will see how it heals your relationships.
As you inquire within you engage with the content of your experience in a different way. Being present to what is occurring now, you can challenge your past assumptions and see your habitual patterns of hurt. What causes you the most pain? What is the truth about what is really hurting you in this moment? What is your longing? What do you need? From this place you have the power of choice as to how to relate to what is present.
When you are triggered, you can use the Basic Heartfulness practice to connect and attend to your pain and come back into balance. As you do this practice, you are moving your consciousness from a primal defensive perspective into the expanded open consciousness of your higher mind. Through this process, you can go to the source of your hurt, which may surprise you to see that the pain you feel has been there before in another form. With insight, you can change the story, the beliefs that no longer serve you, and find out the message your emotions are conveying to you. Allow the wisdom within to tell you what you really need.
Attending to Your Emotions and Pain: The BASIC Heartfulness Practice
I: Inquiry, Insight, Intuition, Images
C: Centered, Calm, Connection
- Be silent. Stop yourself from speaking.
- Focus on your breath coming in through your nose. Take some deep breaths in and out through your heart center allowing the initial Whoosh of emotion to calm down. Feel your feet firmly on the ground. As you focus on your breath, your thoughts will calm. If you find your thoughts intruding, return to focusing on the breath coming into your nose. Feel the sensations of the stream of air on the inside of your nose.
- Deepen your awareness of your body.
- If you are still feeling a rush from being “triggered,” breathe in to a count of 4 and breathe out longer to a count of 7 or 8. This engages the parasympathetic system, slowing your heart rate and calming your body. Do the “long outbreath” as many times as it takes for you to feel your body calm down.
- Continue breathing through your heart.
- When you feel centered, allow your breath to become natural.
Sensation and Inquiry
- Turn your eyes inward, inside of your body. Gently scan your body to locate the disturbance of energy. You may feel it in more than one place. Go to where it is strongest. Your natural reaction may be to not want to touch or feel the sensations. Relax into it and swaddle the tension with your care. Your body wants you to go to this place. As you focus your attention on the disturbance, it will respond. The disturbance is both a physical reaction and energy. With your awareness notice the area of your body where it is located. What size is the disturbance? What does it look like? Just noticing the actual physicality of the energy, what is the action? Is it still, moving, contracting or expanding? If you could touch it, what is the texture? What color is it? Does it smell? Does it have a sound? What is the temperature? Is it hot or cold? Inflamed or dull? Wet or dry? Explore it with all of your senses. Be aware of everything you ''see'' in this area of your body.
- Does it change as you pay attention to it?
- Breathe into the area from your Heart with feelings of acceptance.
- Allow the energy to “speak” to you. What insights arise?
- What is the Truth in this moment?
- Are you physically safe? What does not feel safe?
- Is there some action to take or not?
- If you are feeling emotionally hurt, bathe yourself in compassion.
- What is the story you are telling yourself?
- Are you holding on to a story that no longer serves your highest good?
- What assumptions have you made that you want to check out?
- Stay in the Present
- With Compassion for yourself and others, release anything in the past that no longer serves you.
- What is the story you want to create that fills you with joy?
- Receive whatever insights or images arise.
Centered, Calm and Connected
- Feel the Loving spaciousness that exists in your Heart.
- Connect to your True Essence self and receive compassion.
- Allow the flow of loving kindness to radiate into all of your being and outward into the world.
- Feel yourself being Centered, Calm and Connected.