QUESTION: I know in my heart that the only way through psychic pain is acceptance, but I can’t seem to find a way to accept the truth of my life. I’ve been working intensely for many years to heal from traumas of my childhood, to seek my truth, only to realize that I absolutely hate it. I have gained a lot of awareness, but still swim in the sea of grief and loss. I try to honor it, but honestly I’m pissed off at my soul’s journey, it chose a very painful path. 

I’ve spent so much time searching for the meaning/purpose of life. I would get so disappointed after I listening to a lecture or reading a book that I hoped would give me insight, and in the end it would always point to “experience”. This answer seemed so insignificant. After many years of searching, I finally realize that EXPERIENCE is probably IT. And experience is not so easy.

I have so much fear in me that I tend to live in a narrow field of vision. The freer I try to become, the more I am aware of how much control I have on my inner/outer worlds. Much of my psychic pain probably relates to how I limit my experience in order to protect myself. I rarely allow it to unfold. I always thought the reason I built this prison in my mind was because of my fear of what people would do to me. What I now realize is that I am most frightened of myself - my spirit is so huge. This is a shock to me.

My question is: how does one let go and allow oneself to become truly alive? What I hate the most about “waking up" or whatever it is, is that your whole world gets turned upside down. I had no idea how scared I am to live; death is actually an easier concept to embrace. I always thought I would pay anything to be free; I wasn’t prepared to be so scared of the unbearable lightness of being. I finally realize the strength it takes to truly live, and I am terrified that I don’t have what it takes. After you burst through the fire layer and survive, how do you come to terms with all the loss of time not being?

ANSWER: The short answer to all the different questions you are asking is that you are in the process of healing them. Rarely does one get on the path unless there is pain and discomfort. Sometimes from an inside burning, mostly from inflicted pain. You have that covered. Then there is the start of all the hard work to grapple with, get a handle on, and heal the pain. It sounds like you have been working with that. The staring into the abyss of nothingness that deep pain can bring is frightening stuff, and many stop there. You have pushed through that, as well. So give credit where credit is due.

Now the acceptance piece: that is not something we can bring on through our volition. All we can do is till the soil, then plant the seeds, and then water. Feeling our helplessness in the process is part of the healing. That is difficult business, and something that we all fight against incessantly, regardless of what comes out of our mouths. Feel your rage, let yourself hate all you want, allow these feelings to be there, and learn to be comfortable with them. These feelings might be a part of you, but they are not you. You have to dig further and deeper. Do not stop here. Yes, waking up can be a brutal process. We have so much vested in who we think we are, and that includes unpleasant identifications such as betrayal, pain, etc. One can never underestimate our addiction to pain. But what you are reading is just words, you have to grapple with these overwhelming emotions by feeling them until they are not hot to the touch. That can take years or decades. But simultaneously, there is an unpeeling that happens. Little spaces where we can breathe and are not suffering. Pay attention to these places and watch how the mind will try to shut them down or dismiss them.

You have touched on a huge piece of the puzzle: our absolute unconscious terror of dying, which then manifests as a terror of living. So much of our busyness, constant running around, and so forth is an attempt to mask this terror and anxiety around it. This is one reason meditation and sitting still is so hard for all of us. These feelings that get repressed by constant activity come up and overwhelm us. The only way out is in: we need to learn to tolerate these feelings.

You are all over the place with your questions, which shows that you are all over the place with your thinking. This is the main way we attempt to repress this terror: incessant thinking. We all partake in this numbing drug daily. But it has its limitations. You have done a lot of work that has brought you to this place. Now, step aside from thinking so much and drop into yourself. Your intention is clear; you want to become truly alive. Wonderful. Clear some space and give grace a chance.