Pain And Panic
Most people have a firm foundation enough to be happy with their life. However, when the inner life is threatened by too big a change for the comfort level of the outer life, a feeling of pain may be experienced. One threat to the comfort level may happen when a loved one dies. Listen to this Mixcloud podcast to hear more.
So how does one stop the pain? The inner life has a set of default rules it engages when their is such a threat. The fight or flight response is effective for physical danger. However, when the outer life receives alarming news from a physician, a spouse, or a stranger for that matter, various reactions can occur.
If rules are in place to manage the inner life’s vulnerability, the threat may be managed with a statement to halt or a manageable emotionally prepared response.
Sometimes an unemotional response occurs as a defense mechanism which the human has built into the brain. The experience may be too painful and the “shock” affect when at first experienced must be broken up into manageable bites. e.g. rape, unexpected death of a child.
The inner life speaks to the unknown god. The outer life prays desperately and religiously. The inner life must protect life. The outer life responds or reacts depending on the rules of emotional engagement set up by the inner life.
“If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger!”
This quote speaks of a “strength” one develops having experienced painful events. Do you agree with this quote? The strength of a person is really the manifestation of the rules set up in the inner life. The “killing” has to do with the outer life, a physical event. What really occurs is that the inner life desiring to preserve itself, creates rules based on the severity of the pain. Every human has a choice to change those built in responses to those that serve them more responsibly.
What can one do today to manage a pain filled circumstance that comes to them?
Let’s assume there are 3 levels of pain. Determine ahead of time what rules to set up for each level of severity.
1. Loss of job – painful, loss of income, probably not life threatening.
2. Death of a loved one – very painful, final, closure.
3. Divorce – may be severely painful depending on circumstances, guilt, long lasting grief, change in lifestyle and family dynamics, may last a lifetime, closure rare.
Of the 3 levels, divorce is the most severe because the inner life continues to have to manage the outer life experiences.
Setting up rules ahead of time for these 3 kinds of pain will prepare us so that shock is eliminated and anxiety is manageable. What kinds of rules should we set up with our inner life?
1. We are born with adaptable instincts.
2. Our brains have the ability to keep pleasurable memories and visions of future happiness top of mind.
3. Our heart is protected by infinite intelligence (God). We can access the power of the unknown for peace and grace at all times.
4. It’s okay to not have all the answers. We do have control over how we manage our emotions so we are happy.
5. We choose to release anxiety over the unknown and enlist feelings of gratitude for ways this benefits us. We are not responsible for the unknown.
6. We choose 5 things to be grateful for at anytime. When experiencing painful or pleasurable events or circumstances, gratefulness becomes our window to happiness and peace.
7. We condition our thoughts regularly when we experience small moments of pain now and then, so we are more ready if or when greater pain occurs.
8. We state the inevitable in a once a year ritual while happy. Here are 3 examples.
a. ‘Our loved ones will die some day. I am prepared emotionally to manage my state so I am not shocked.’
b. Divorce is something I may experience and i am prepared to manage my emotions if it were to happen to me.
c. I may be laid off or fired from my job. I am prepared to manage my emotions and give myself permission to seek another job.
These rules and yearly rituals are helpful tools so that incidents of pain are traversed with power and control over our emotions. Create your list of empowering rules and statements with your particular circumstances in mind. These will help you if and when your inner life is threatened by pain.