Many people feel like they end up dealing with the same issue over and over again. No matter how much they work on it, it seems to come back.
To break out of a repeating issue, we have to look at how we are working on an issue as well as paying attention to what we identify as the issue at hand. A lot of times we use the same spiritual tool again and again on every issue, and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. So if you’ve intellectually dealt with an issue, journaling about it and talking about it probably won’t get you anywhere. You likely need to find your way down into the emotional level to begin clearing that layer of the issue. Then that leads on to the physical and energetic levels, and when they are clear, that’s typically when someone is free of an issue.
Too often, Westerners think that thinking about an issue will free them from it, and many people on the spiritual path somehow believe that just by noticing an issue that it’ll go away. The part about witnessing issues is sort of true, but in my experience, true surrender to an issue allows it to fully surface and release. It seems that many people are only mentally witnessing issues and have somehow managed to cut themselves off from their feelings, bodies, and energy. It’s a strange thing, but the cult of intellectualism that dominates Westerners’ minds often negates these other aspects of our humanity. Truly, the mind and ego are products of the brain; they are inherently intertwined with the physical body. So how can we ignore so much of it?
Ultimately, what we don’t like about repeating issues are how they make our emotions go and how they make our bodies feel. Ideas without sensations and emotions mean nothing to us, and so we naturally see that if an issue is still upsetting us and we’ve already worked to understand it conceptually, then it’s time to pay a little more attention to the languages of the body, heart, and energy.
I like to encourage my students to think of the body, heart, and energy as speaking in their own languages. Just as you wouldn’t talk to me in Mandarin Chinese and expect me to understand, why would you talk to your heart in ideas? Why would you talk to your body in emotions? That’s not their languages. The heart speaks in emotions. Anger, sadness, depression, fear, rage, guilt, shame, and others are part of its language. Trying to think them away is essentially refusing to speak their language, and that creates more inner conflict. Inner conflict will tend to worsen the repeating issue with which you’re engaged.
The body will talk to you in sensations. It speaks in hunger, fatigue, nausea, tension, relaxation, gurgling, gagging, pressure, and more. When you are dealing with an issue and not an actual physical problem, then the sensations typically change and move around in your body as you focus on them. I often say focusing on and breathing into a broken ankle won’t move the pain from the ankle anywhere. That’s an actual physical issue, and you can’t think that one away either. But when you have an issue stuck in your gut, it can move from nausea in the belly to pain in the chest and then up into a nice strong headache as it tells you about things you need to hear. Oftentimes, that discussion solely is in pain, and memories and images are rare as gold. They are also not often necessary for the body to release that level of the issue.
Lastly, energy is the most subtle. It is very much intertwined with the body, but I typically distinguish energy as speaking in terms of temperature, buzzing, tingling, pulsing, and also pressure at times. It tends to move the fastest when you bring attention to it. The heart and body move much slower and ask you to be more patient with them.
Ultimately, there is a lot of overlap in these languages. I create the separation to help you better distinguish what is going on in you. These aren’t hard lines I’m drawing. Instead, they’re aids to help you go deeper into understanding and releasing a repeating issue.
How to Find and Release Physical Pain During a Spiritual Awakening
Be Willing to Listen to the Whole Story
When we have something upsetting happen in our lives, we don’t seem to fully process it. That little thorn gets stuck in us during childhood, adolescent, and other times of our lives. Then we create lots of protecting beliefs and actions to avoid having that area of ourselves triggered. It’s almost like being a wounded wild animal. When a doctor tries to help, the animal keeps snapping at the doctor’s hand every time she tries to address the wounded area. We do this to ourselves and others all the time. And we do it sooooooooo well that we don’t think we do this. Then, we blame anyone and everyone else who comes too close to a wounded area. We say, “They hurt me,” or “They made me feel bad.” Putting aside those few people who intentionally try to harm others, the real hurt is already inside you, and those other people are just mirrors showing you where you are wounded.
As many of you have discovered, this defensiveness doesn’t help you. It keeps you wounded. Many of you have done wonderful work for yourselves to discover and heal certain wounds, but even when people are dedicated to healing, there are deeper lines that have been drawn up inside. It’s like it’s okay to go only so far, but after that point, that’s too much intensity. But if you want to completely heal, you have to go all the way. You have to listen to the whole story of the event or events that have gotten stuck inside you and are causing the pain.
Going deeper to break out of repeating issues means being willing to sit with emotional and physical pain a lot of the time because those are often parts of the story we want to hear the least. Healing may mean getting used to different energies and sensations that come with those deeper depths. The intensities and unusual sensations will challenge you to be resilient in the face of discomfort when the animal body inside you will want to fight or run away. But you have to keep surrendering and relaxing while staying focused on what you are experiencing. The combination of attention and relaxation is extremely powerful. The process is often very uncomfortable–although not all the time. It depends on the issue at hand. But the results are worth it.
The Importance of Mental Resilience After Awakening
Dealing With Multiple Issues
Sometimes, what seems like one issue is actually a mask for multiple issues. The easiest example I can use is addiction. Many people get addicted to alcohol because it is a depressant. It squashes down and numbs a bunch of feelings that a person doesn’t like and doesn’t know how to face. Many people struggle to go through recovery, and they see the addiction as the repeating issue. Certainly, alcohol addiction is a big issue, and it causes additional problems. But it is rarely the core issue. Falling back into addiction just buries the deeper causes, and so with this particular masking issue, you have to work deeper.
And you’ll probably start back at the mental level to understand what is being buried. Being able to identify issues like lack of self worth, feeling like a failure, childhood trauma, and so forth would be the next steps in this example. I highly recommend therapy for these steps. A good, kind therapist can also help you work through the emotions. To go deeper still requires you to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and emotions that continue to come up in the body. As I said, the body needs to be heard, and you will need to listen to your body multiple times for these multiple issues for as long as it takes. The breathing and relaxing is critical here to help you move through. Tension is part of why these issues get stuck, and the re-tensing of the body and re-upsetting of the heart creates more suffering that suppresses the deeper stuff that needs to be released.
In the event that you are working with trauma or uncovering past trauma, more help should be sought. The darker the cave you’re entering, the more torches you should bring with you.
Another common problem people have is mislabeling an issue. Sometimes, people think something is a problem at the level of the mind that is actually at the level of the heart. I mentioned that we can have multiple issues beneath things like addiction, and so we must be cautious not to mislabel the top-level issue that we know about as the main issue at hand. And we must be cautious not to label only one deeper issue as the only issue. A childhood trauma issue could be linked to a familial issue around lack of self-worth, and that could all be deeply intertwined with poverty issue triggering scarcity fears. When I write it out like this, you can see what kind of beast someone could be facing. This type of multi-headed beast will happily re-create more top-level issues like addiction, getting into abusive relationships, poor relationships with money, and more. Those surface issues are problematic, but they’re not the main event.
If we only deal with top-level issues, it is like cutting off the flowers of weeds without uprooting them. They’ll just grow more flowers. So a binge eating addiction issue can be stopped, but then the person either falls back into the habit again or forms another one. The binge eating is not the true issue. It’s the outgrowth of the issue. This is yet another reason why you may feel like you’re dealing with repeating issues.
In the above example, we see the binge eating example manifesting physically, and there may not be a lot of beliefs involved beyond the general sense of wanting to feel better and having that tied into eating. But when we investigate more deeply, we may find a lack of self-worth heart issue here too. The person doesn’t like themselves. They feel that they are bad in some way, and food has become the avenue for addressing that bad feeling. If you go towards the self-worth issue, then you can cut out the main part of the issue that has grown up into binge eating. In times of deeper release, the binge eating can potentially disappear entirely when the deeper issue is addressed.
There are many more ways that we can mislabel issues. People think they have money issues when perhaps the real issue is the fear of the unknown that keeps them from changing jobs to better support themselves. People think that they don’t have any friends because they’re not likable, but perhaps their core concept of supportive people–usually coming from family–has them looking to unsupportive people who can’t show up for them. Whenever an issue keeps repeating, it’s always good to go within and see if you’ve properly identified the issue. In this way, the intellectual mind can become a very important ally again.
Delving Into Core Issues
When we get to core issues, we should expect to deal with them repeatedly simply because they define so much of our lives. I’ve already mentioned the core issue of lack of self-worth. But there are plenty of others. Just look to your central ideas about how you should be and how life should be. That’s the easiest way to identify core issues. They can include:
- The need to be successful
- The need to be attractive
- Fear of the unknown
- Lack of self-worth/Not loving yourself
- The need for a romantic partner
Some core issues are more central than others, and central to most core issues is the sense that “you are not enough.” There is this deep belief-feeling that you are not okay as you are at the center of a core issue. As many of you know from your spiritual experiences or even an awakening, you are. That’s enough. There’s a powerful sense of joy and relaxation in many spiritual experiences that shows you this truth beyond any belief, and that truth immediately illuminates all the lies that are part of the core issues that define our whole ego and outlook on life. When we see how lost in lies we are, we realize that a lot has to change
But typically, most people only are willing to go so far in changing. There are a lot of fears tied up in these core issues, and the more blocks you have unconsciously created, the more blocks you’ll have to take down. That’s yet another reason why issues seem to repeat. You created a huge number of blocks to form the huge wall of an issue. If you have four hundred blocks in the wall of self-hatred, then you have four hundred blocks to take down. They may feel mostly the same, but each one is a different block in the overall wall. With core issues, they may feel like they’re repeating, but really, you’re just seeing how much investment you’ve placed into them.
Ultimately, underneath the core issues are the fundamental human issues of the fear of death, fear of pain, and the sex drive. They are the power behind the core issues, but that’s a topic for another time.
Nameless Pains and Energy Releases
Some stuff that gets stuck inside human beings is pre-verbal. There are a whole lot of sensory, energetic, and emotional experiences from early childhood that will not come with much if any kind of intellectual understanding. It’s just the rawness of childhood, and the experiences that happened then are powerful shapers for us. They tell us if the world is safe or not safe. Thus, as you drop into the deepest and nitty-grittiest stuff–emphasis on the gritty part–you’re not going to find much of any idea or belief down there. For those still stuck in the brain, they can find these tensions and emotions particularly disturbing. You won’t be able to think your way out of them. You’ll simply have to relax into them and breathe into them. Then allow the pain and the energy to move on its own, and this way, you are telling unconscious parts of yourself that you are safe. You are speaking to them through patience, relaxation, and breathing that they can let go of the sense of insecurity. Then, when those parts are ready, they release, and your heart-body-mind-energy can realign to whatever is most true and natural for you.
The tendency when this level of healing progresses and you have releases is that you feel more peaceful and naturally confident. When the parts of you stuck in the “unsafe” mode resolve, there’s a powerful inner shift. That will illuminate remaining core issues. It creates a greater and greater sense of separation from the old ego self and the natural being that you are. This tends to push us further in our healing and inner work because most people realize that their entire lives have been built on fear. Not everyone, perhaps, but fear is a fundamental part of the instinctual body. It is one of the core motivators of the ego self, and that ego self defines how we see and interact with life. The more freedom you have from old issues, the more you can see where you are not free. In this way spiritual freedom and healing tend to naturally push us further towards truth.
In short, breaking out of repeating issues requires properly identifying the issues and honoring each level of healing within you. The more you learn how to honor the heart, body, and energy as well as the mind, the more you can heal and step into your true nature.