All of us carry wounds from the past. We may or may not be conscious of them. Either way, they inhibit our ability to embrace life. If we want more of life’s blessings, we need to heal our wounds – our repressed emotions and old patterns and limiting beliefs.
How do we identify these wounds? We can dig deep into our memory banks in an effort to uncover the experiences that first brought us pain and trauma. Or we can address our pain when it surfaces in daily living.
The past makes itself known to us in the present. We get clues about subconscious issues when we become aware now that we are uncomfortable, in distress or pain. Pain is there for a reason: to make us conscious of what is presently unconscious in us. If we become aware that we are tense, angry, resentful or afraid, for example, we know something is calling for our attention. Unhappy memories from the past are being triggered. We have the opportunity to heal the past by dealing with our discomfort in this moment.
We grow by moving into and through pain, not away from it. That’s the only way we can learn from it. And so we grow by embracing those qualities we instinctively want to resist. Our aim is to embrace the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ in wholeness. How do we do this? By bringing love into the situation and by using the power of imagination to see a bigger picture.
A Healing Process: The 4 E’s
The 4 E’s give a basic framework for working with any challenges that arise so you may more easily learn their lessons and let them go.
1. Experience your reality
Be aware of how you are feeling and allow yourself to experience your reality. We cannot heal something we have not yet owned! So really feel what’s happening in your body. Feel the emotions. Be aware of what you are thinking. Honour your experience by being present to it! What is it telling you?
2. Elevate and expand your perspectives
Become an impartial but loving witness to your own personality’s experience. The key here is detachment. Elevate your perspective so you can see what’s going on without being swallowed up by it. As a witness to your own experience, do not judge, criticize, condemn or commiserate – just watch with compassion. From this perspective, ask yourself, “What am I being invited to learn?” When we glimpse the answer to this question, we find purpose in our suffering.
3. Embrace the lower and higher qualities together in wholeness
Identify the negative qualities that are challenging you, like fear, anger, doubt, jealousy, despair or grief. Then identify the opposite positive qualities. For example, the opposite of fear may be courage or love. The opposite of doubt may be faith. If this is a challenge for you, consider what you would prefer to be feeling. If you’re feeling angry, you might prefer to feel peaceful.
Now use your imagination to sit with both qualities of the duality at the same time. (I imagine myself as a loving or courageous grandparent hugging the distressed part of me.) Recognize that both qualities are part of the same spectrum of experience. You cannot have one without the other. Together, they create wholeness. Also recognize that a part of you always has access to the higher energy. That’s what we have to learn. Trust that this experience of wholeness heals.
4. Express to anchor your experience
Anything you can do to reinforce the healing will strengthen the integration. For example, you might:
• write about your experience in your journal.
• meditate on your experience.
• share your insights with someone you trust.
• express forgiveness to yourself and/or others.
Any effort to affirm accepting the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ in wholeness will support a shift in consciousness.
This simple process is powerful. Some degree of healing always occurs. It teaches us to acknowledge rather than resist our discomfort. It helps us abandon our need to be perfect and become authentic instead. It connects us to the higher qualities that are always available to us. It brings unconditional love to situations where love is typically absent. It helps us accept, forgive and love ourselves. And this is the essential first step before we can accept, forgive and love others.
Take time to learn the process by repeatedly doing the following exercise. Once you become familiar with the steps, you will be able to apply them on the spot, when you become aware that you are upset in some way. The more you explore and release the irritations and suffering that naturally arise daily, the more you will heal the past. Life will open up for you as your personality blossoms from your own unconditional love.
EXERCISE: Learn the 4 E’s Healing Process
Find some quiet time where you won’t be disturbed. Recall a recent experience that upset you. Close your eyes and use your memory to relive that scenario. When you’re ready, begin to work through the first 3 steps: Experience, Elevate or expand your perspectives and Embrace. When the pain of the memory has eased, gently and slowly bring your consciousness to the present and then take some action to Express what you’ve learned.