To break free from pain, we must surrender to it.
There was a time when freedom was a danger to me—or perhaps my perception of freedom was the true danger. Left to my own devices, I was so willingly self-destructive, so consciously aware of the self-harm I inflicted, that I was seldom shocked by the outcome of any late night debauchery.
If there was any shame, I could only identify my wild and unyielding emotions as the source.
Yet, the illusion I broke free from in my own self-destruction perpetuated the behavior for years more. At least in being black-out drunk, I emerged as the champion of my own struggle—a self-proclaimed breakaway from all things I deemed repressive. Structure, rules, judgement, pleasing others—all became the worries of someone else; someone who cared. Because unlike them, I could be elsewhere…
Or so I thought.
But the day soon came that I was humbled. As I entered a confinement that forced upon me the silence I secretly loathed, no distraction was available to numb my pain: no drugs, no alcohol, no sex—nothing. In those days, I questioned my concept of freedom—that I could be the hero of my own sob-story, resisting societal structure, family rules, job bullshit and still tremble at the thought of silence.
At this time, someone told me my problem. His brutal honesty was the best and worst gift:
“You’re young. You think you can handle all your drama. But you can’t handle shit. And one day, you’ll surrender and accept what little control you have.”
I’ll admit it was a coarse relaying, but I couldn’t deny his truth—I proved I could handle nothing. My concept of freedom was totally self-defeating.
But his truth caused great stress. It catapulted me into a weird transition: learning what freedom was not, but not yet knowing its face. It was only my encounter with meditation that gave me an answer: I externalized a shame that could only be internally healed. I could only be at peace if I fought the violence within.
So I began.
I closed my eyes and relaxed my body.
At first there was little clarity, as my mind was bombarded with doubtful voices: ”You can’t handle this, you’re weak.” As the meditations deepened, so did the voices. The emotional blocks to my inner freedom intensified with this understanding of presence–the idea that I could be conscious without pain.
The voices then became louder still, now resonating with memories I’d buried for years, angry to be exposed, analyzed, and—most frightening of all—understood. I was tempted to resist—wishing those demons out of existence, wanting to fight them back with the same violence they lashed at me with mentally.
But I refused to give in.
I intuitively believed this would yield the same outcome as before, in spite of the seemingly “different” or “authentic” way I chose to battle it. Just the alternative—non-resistance—was counterintuitive, as if I would be held even more captive than before.
I took the chance. I attribute it completely to faith. I was majorly convinced this would take me to a place I’d resisted for years: the derivative of my pain, created by distortions and lies. But, I trusted something—perhaps it was the old man who so self-assuredly foresaw my surrender at a time when I thought I was strong.
So I closed my eyes, focused myself…and then surrendered.
At first there was rush of pain, as if the dam of my resistance finally broke—nothing left to hold back the emotion. In moments, the emotions leveled, and I became someone other than the sufferer. I became the spectator, the watcher—the witness of the pain, not the host in which it thrived.
My truth finally emerged: I was not my pain.
It was an eerie transition. This new identity emerged—one deplete of unconsciousness. Yet, I can honestly recall true non-resistance to this change. I never felt so much peace. But it can only occur if we surrender to the pain, of which our faith in presence can bring. The fight back makes the pain grow stronger, sometimes even convincing us it is us.
That is the gift of meditation, whether it’s labeled as prayer, self-discovery, or healing. It’s the idea that we can be free within ourselves, even when we are subject to repressive rules or regulations, of which I could only know by “escaping” the outside, and still being captive inside.
I could only break free by facing the silence.
Merissa Bury is a freelance writer, educated in the English and psychological sciences.Being interested in women’s issues, she created Modern Female Central. Since its publication in August, she has submitted several MFC articles to reputable online magazines such as the Good Men Project, Huffington Post GPS for the Soul, & the elephant journal.
She is writer by trade, but a healer by nature. Feel free to share your thoughts with her.
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