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Identity Work Part 2.

Befriending the Foe

(Removing the Barriers to Flow)

Credit: Art Dimitra Milan & Gif George Redhawk

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find

all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.” 
                                   

               ― Rumi

Removing the Barriers, Loosening Tangles

The first step towards "healing" in Identity Work is simply a matter of loosening vague inner knots of conflict, resistance, or stuck feelings.

It's a gentle softening and removal of the barriers to our own underlying nature of love and flow.

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Restoring Flow

Once you know how to get in and out of the Inner World, we can be a little more adventurous and explore more "challenging terrain". 

 

Any unresolved, uncomfortable feelings that have accumulated over the years can create inner knots, like stuck boulders that impede or resist the full and easy flow of who we are. Over time, our person adjusts to these feelings of heaviness, or darkness or accumulation, and we learn to flow around the knots. We barely even notice them. They become part of who we feel ourselves to be.

However, it is exactly these formations that make very intriguing inner contours. They can be the most gratifying to check out during an Inner Journey.

Sometimes, simply exploring those peculiar corners of our personhood can loosen the grip of life-long uncomfortable feelings.

 

We can make room for transformation and open a space for new possibilities. We can generate a greater sense of well-being as blockages and barriers are removed to return to our natural flow state.

How to release the Barriers

The trick to releasing these knots and blockages is actually very simple. We must only notice them, describe them, and then calmly, and non-judgementally stay with them and give them our undivided soft attention for a few minutes.  We must be brave enough to allow them to be whatever story they are and really be ok with that.  We want to give them a lot of unhurried space to soften and unravel spontaneously.

The importance of a loving relationship with oneself

Getting into this fruitful mood and maintaining it, of course, is easier said than done.

After a lifetime of self-judgement, so much of the art and power of this work consists in fostering  a LOVING RELATIONSHIP with ourselves and whatever shows up during a session of inner exploration.

 

It is the work of finding a perfect distance, a genuine loving kindness towards whatever arises. We try to encourage a love that is not too smothering or invasive, yet also not aloof or distant.

 

Finding this Goldilocks authentic relationship with ourselves, is what allows the magic to happen.

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Spontaneous
Visions

When we manage to slip into that just right, relaxed loving state, suddenly, what was a vague feeling of tension, heaviness, or darkness will spontaneously start to become swirls of light, animals in a forest or in the ocean, people, and so forth.  This is the start of the Natural Tripping

 

The visions are unique for each person. The spontaneous visions that arise are often other-worldly.

The Visions become an Inner Film

If we can remain comfortable in this state and allow the visions to naturally unfold and resist the mind's urge to direct them or predict them, they start to take on a life of their own. They start to spontaneously change from one image to the next.  They start to behave in certain observable ways. We never know what they will do until they start to do it. 

In essence, we start to finally watch our internal film.  We start to see what we are really made of, on a symbolic, pre-verbal level.  

The Happy Ending

During  this spontaneous innate "tripping", the body naturally starts to untangle our inner conflicts and our resistance to life. 

The body finds a way remove barriers and shows us the sensations of greater harmony with ourselves.

 

All those feelings of fitting a square peg in a round hole are temporarily soothed.   

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The way to work out an internal conflict is demonstrated to you in the form of a harmonious feeling. Sometimes, coherent messages are also received in the form of language. 

 

A discomfort that was under the surface of your personal identity can finally be shaken loose. It can complete it's expression and move along to allow for new possibilities.  

 

There is a moment of catharsis and a return to flow. Life is just a little easier and more pleasurable . 

Guidance could be Helpful

For the Beginner

Although it may not seem so, there is nothing esoteric about this process. It's really a natural result of deep relaxation.  Anyone can do it but guidance can be helpful to shepherd a beginner into this state of gentle unraveling.

 

For the Expert

In the case of the seasoned meditator or therapist, a non-obtrusive companionship while in this state can help anchor the experience with respect to a solo voyage. Knowing someone has your back in this realm can allow you to really fly.

Befriending the Foe

Making Peace with our "Dangerous" Feelings

Meet your Menace

Sometimes, our tangled up parts will feel like more than just a blockage or a stuck place. It may feel downright dangerous or overwhelming. 

 

The places where we feel very scared, sad, angry, or lonely, small, weak, abandoned, or defeated, might show up symbolically as a menacing creature, out to do you harm. 

 

When these creatures reveal themselves, this is a very good thing.

Image by Yaopey Yong

Stop Fighting
your Monster

When we come to these very uncomfortable feelings, our instinct is to try to run away, or will them away, or affirm them away. We fight the monster. We want to beat it or tame it or transform it.

 

But this is fighting a losing battle because, (spoiler alert!) the monster is us. We are fighting ourselves. We push away what are really our best turning points. They are the places where we grow and gain insight. 

Hanging Out
with it all

These uncomfortable places are spots where we have gotten all knotted up inside from inner conflict

 

In order for them to shift, you must not only stop fighting it, you must be able to hang out with it, like a good, chill friend. You must stay with it in a specific, friendly, gentle and unhurried way. 

Image by Hobi industri
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From Enemy to Ally

If we can gently, kindly, hospitably stay with that discomfort long enough, and not run away from it, we will find that something spontaneously and organically begins to shift, even in a dangerous feeling.  

We get the sense that we have come out on the other side of something. That resistance to a part of ourselves loosens or dissolves.  We get to witness it spontaneously transform from an enemy into an ally.

What you can and cannot change.

We all live in this world together and we all have differing opinions about how that life should be lived.

 

There are people, experiences, and messages that we enjoy, and those that we would rather not encounter. 

Some folks have even felt tormented by the opinions of others.  

Unfortunately, you can't make other people disappear. You can't throw your co-worker out the window. You can't resolve world conflicts with the snap of your finger. You can't make everyone stop having opinions or engaging in behaviours you don't like.

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You can change how a person, event or situation feels to your body!

You don't have to feel nauseous every time you listen to the news. If something is gripping, you can get it to let you go. You can soften a tightness. You can dissolve a mass. You can float away a heaviness. You can lighten a darkness.

 

You can live life, interact with people and make decisions from a place of greater spiritual and physical ease.

Many Happy Returns

There's More Beyond the Dark Parts

After a few rounds of inner travel, we begin to get the hang of the process. 

 

Once we become adept at travelling within our inner landscapes, eventually, any painful places, or "monsters", lose their scariness. 

We come to know and trust that no matter how fearsome or horrible they look and feel when we first encounter them, our scariest and meanest inner characters will somehow lose that aggression and give us great gifts if we stay with them.

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At this point in the process,
something else becomes prominent.