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The purpose of pain

Living through physical and emotional pain is a gift to the collective consciousness — and ultimately, the cosmos.

BY DAVID RICKEY — Being Human, at the present time, inevitably involves experiencing pain, both physical and emotional. As much as we may try through sex, drugs, relationships or meditation, there is no escaping this “given” of life.

Other manifestations of life also experience pain and the opposite of peace, from quails to quasars. But what makes pain uniquely painful for we humans, though, is the capacity of the mind for self-reflection, and the attempt to avoid with the reflexive thought-form: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

Take a step back from that concept, and let me explore why there is a universal imperative for the pain we feel.

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Eyes wide shut: the anatomy of addiction

An addiction therapist’s mantra: Owning the compulsions in our lives is Step 1

BY MARY COOK, M.A., R.A.S. — Only a holistic approach can offer significant improvement, because we have been damaged and have damaged ourselves in all of these areas.

While not blaming ourselves, it’s important to recognize the choices that inhibit healing.

We did not create safety for ourselves, but instead romanticized and rationalized harm.

We did not demonstrate reverence for life, but  instead damaged, by abuse or neglect, all that was precious and dear to us.

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When meditation is a pain

When meditation is a pain

A 31-year-old seeker finds peace of mind by bailing on what was advertised as the ultimate self-awareness experience — a 10-day ‘silent meditation’ retreat by a famous guru

GUEST COLUMN BY MICAL AKULLIAN — It was the morning of Day 5 of my ten-day Vipassana retreat in the Sierra Mountains.

In the ancient language, Sanskrit, “vipassana” literally means “seeing deeply.” In 2010 California, it means a group of 20-odd people gathering in a secluded summer-camp setting. Our purpose: to sit in meditation for ten days, specifically not communicating with each other. No talking is allowed – not to the guy sitting beside you at mealtime – or even to yourself. Silent night? Try silent night and day. It’s kind of like the spiritual equivalent of discipline-testing reality shows like, Survivor.

The California challenge I enrolled in was organized by the contemporary Indian guru, S.N. Goenka.  Explained via video at the beginning of the retreat, Goenka relayed to us via a pre-taped lecture that the mind is like an infected wound, and as you cut it open, the puss begins to rise to the surface.  That puss is our chattering monkey-mind, which is a reaction to pain. Through meditation, we learn to train the mind like you would an animal.

This is all fine and good, except that if you kept any animal in a cramped cage for 10 days it’s bound to get a little pissy.  My revolting mind seemed less like puss rising to the surface, and more like a wake up call from my own intuition. It kept asking, “Say what?”

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Finding, and losing, love

Finding, and losing, love

I find my soulmate, but a cyber lover causes a rift in our bond

Read the Soul’s Code exclusive series, Sins of my Faith

In Marina’s last episode she begins therapy with a psychologist and realizes that she’s become estranged from both her creative, and feminine sides.

BY MARINA GIULLIANI — After years of hopping from bed to bed I’d finally found a place where I felt truly comfortable.  I sealed my promiscuous past in a vault at the back of my head and jumped at the chance for a normal relationship.

Chris was the love of my life, and we were involved in a full time relationship from first sight. The product of a nasty alcoholic father, and a mother who made up for all his father’s evil deeds, Chris had more goodness than any human being I’d ever met.

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Me and my shadow

How to recognize and reintegrate the shadow aspects of your personality

GUEST COLUMN: MICK QUINN AND DEBORA PRIETO, 2nd of 2 parts But, before we get to the cure, let’s look at eight ways to tell if you have a shadow.

1.  Do you sometimes despise certain situations or people?

2.  Is there one person in your life who seems to bring up swells of emotion in you?

3.  Do insurmountable differences sometimes appear in your personal relationships?

4.  Do you seem to rush to immediate conclusions about people and situations?

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A cure for the reptilian brain

A priest and psychotherapist finds answers in Genesis, the work of Carl Jung and the science of meditation

BY DAVID RICKEY — Hate crimes are nothing new. They have been around ever since the homo sapien emerged from its evolutionary forebears.  Animals have an instinctive “fight or flight” response built into their brain structure.

Human beings, as they evolved, didn’t lose it; they just built on top of this “reptilian brain.” The new layer was the “cerebral cortex,” which allowed us to reflect on experiences and develop ideas rather than just act out instinctual responses. And therein lies the problem. Hate is the just the attitudinal equivalent of  “Fight or Flight”.

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Were you born to win? A non-Olympic definition

Drawing on techniques from modern medical hypnosis, psychotherapist Nancy Irwin shares tips on how to reprogram your unconconsious mind

GUEST COLUMN: DR. NANCY B. IRWIN — As a doctor of psychology and a therapeutic hypnotist, I know for a fact that we are all born to win.

By “win” I don’t mean necessarily winning an Olympic medal or having major achievements.  You win by being the best you possible, however you define that.  Whether you subscribe to a spiritual or intellectual theory, we are all here to learn, and thus we are all here to win.  In psychology we call it the tabula rasa theory the blank slate.

We learn to lose, and what we learn, we can un-learn.

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An unlikely love connection

How to turn MySpace into Our space: A contemporary shaman’s response to hate-mail

GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Everywhere I go, in every moment, the ongoing mantra in my mind is a repetition of the four graces of Ho’oponopono — “I am sorry, I love you, please forgive me, thank you.”  What I have come to realize is that my life is transforming miraculously as a result. Whatever situation, whomever/whatever is in my field of observation, whatever thought or sensation that is in my present awareness, I am constantly reconciling, acknowledging, forgiving, and integrating.

The miracle to me, is that each moment I live is a lesson, a gift, an opportunity to love myself even more; to reconcile with the parts of myself that have been forgotten, disassociated, unloved. . .my shadows.

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My last tango with fear

A shamanic teacher visualizes her lifelong fear as if it were a dance partner. When she faces him, she discovers that he isn’t so scary after all

GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Lately I have been noticing how the words ‘fear’ and ‘free’ are phonetically mirrored.

I have run from fear in my life, and it has been a repeating pattern of habitual behaviour. I felt the discomfort/pain of fear, and I began to to recede from my “presence”, and to hide beneath masks of a false self.

The illusion was: ‘I am becoming free from my fear by running and hiding. It won’t follow me or find me — I will just keep running . . . keep hiding’.

In this game, fear made the rules and called the tune.  And I danced to the beat of fear with my eyes closed.

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Spiritual Surf: Vatican gives Half-Blood Prince thumbs up, Mira Sorvino’s miracle baby, and an eye on Oprah

We surf Oprah . . . so you don’t have to

The L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has given Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a four star rating.

Not overly concerned that most of the characters are witches and warlocks, the article praises the movie for its values of “friendship, altruism, loyalty and self-giving.”  Catholic News Service.

Mira’s miracle?

One wonders if the word “miraculous” is getting too much play.  Mira Sorvino’s third child has been called a “miracle baby.”

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