What It Really Takes To Recover From Pain And Loss

The author of The Seat of the Soul explains how to find the people that can really help you out of sadness.

By Gary Zukav

Most people try to help you feel better when you are in emotional pain, but they don't know how. For example, when my first engagement ended (about 25 years before I met Linda Francis), friends sympathized with me, empathized with me and tried to console me. "Don't worry," they said. "It takes a little time to heal."

They were incorrect. It takes far more than time to heal. Romantic love is often, as it was in my case, "romantic need." But my friends did not know that and they recommended the usual prescription: Get another relationship. They also didn't know that my next relationship would bring the same things into my awareness that my previous one had if I did not change myself.

They thought the causes of my suffering lay in the external world. Their remedy, therefore, was to change the external world. But changing the outside world in order to feel better, or safer, no longer works. Human consciousness -- the consciousness of our entire species -- is changing. We now have more than the system of the five senses to tell us about the world and ourselves. We are becoming "multisensory."

Multisensory perception reveals ourselves, and the world, as different than we imagined. We still see ourselves in the mirror; but, at the same time, we are aware that we are more than the mirror reflects. We are more than minds and bodies, more than muscles and organs, more than enzymes and molecules. The world is meaningful instead of random. We encounter deep connections; sometimes, with strangers. We experience the Universe as alive, wise and compassionate. We also understand power differently. We see it as the alignment of the personality with the soul. This is very different from the old understanding of power as the ability to manipulate and control.

Our new understanding requires us to distinguish between love and fear inside ourselves and to choose love no matter what is happening inside, or outside, of us. This is what my friends did not know. They advised me to manipulate the external world the best that I could, which meant to get another partner to make me happy. They also didn't understand that other people can't make me happy or unhappy. My happiness depends on the choices I make when the world is not the way I want it to be.

For example, how many times have you felt jealous? Who was with you the last time? You. And the time before that? You. You are the common denominator. People can do things that activate your jealousy (or anger, resentment, fear, etc.), but the jealousy (or anger, resentment, fear, etc.) that you experience comes from inside you, and it will remain with you until you change yourself. Until then, people will activate these feelings within you.

Spiritual partners know this. They are committed to changing themselves for the better, not to rearranging the outside world in order to make themselves feel better and safer. They create relationships of equality for the purpose of growing spiritually, which means creating authentic power. They know that the only way they can help one another with their pain is to help one another see it from the impersonal perspective of the soul -- as an opportunity to grow spiritually.

If my friends had known that, they would have asked me questions like, "What physical sensations are you feeling? Where are you feeling them? Are they painful or pleasing? What are your intentions? Do you think they come from fear (do they hurt), or from love (are they pleasing)? Do you intend to live your life from fear or from love?"

I didn't know these things then as well as I know them now, either. Now that I am clearer about them, I love sharing them. If you want people to help you with your emotional pain, you first need to be open to finding the causes of your pain within yourself and to commit to changing those causes. When you explain this to your friends, you may find that some of them will become your spiritual partners. Then, they will be able to help you when you are in pain, and you will be able to help them.

Gary Zukav is the author of The Seat of the Soul and you can find out more about his work here.

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