The Pain that Haunts Us | Janice Holland Blog

The Pain that Haunts Us

“There are two levels to your pain: the pain that you create now, and the pain from the past that still lives on in your mind and body.” 

~ Eckhart Tolle

I read this line and it stopped me in my tracks. So much of our pain and suffering in the present is because we continue to repeat cycles by dwelling in the pain of the past. We want so badly to resolve our suffering. Our search for resolution often looks like us repeating the painful cycles we have been through in hopes that someone or something will change and redeem all we have been through. 

How many of us have gone through a divorce and realized in the process that the whole relationship was a repeat of a painful relationship of our childhood? How many of us are realizing that we continue to attract the same kinds of people into our lives? These are people who take advantage of us, want to use us, or have some form of agenda that creates more pain and suffering. 

We live in our minds trying to think of all the ways we can self protect to avoid more pain and suffering. The irony is that through this self protection we inevitably create more of what we are trying to avoid. This is because what we focus on, we create. The law of attraction is always at play. 

For years I lived highly dependent on my mind. I thought that if I got all the psychology degrees and created a well thought out plan of action I would be able to fix my pain and suffering and free myself for a life of meaning and purpose. It was devastating to realize after years of chasing a meaningful life that I could not create safety and purpose through the actions of my mind. Learning about human psychology, staying connected to religion, and vigilantly looking out for all possible future outcomes didn’t create the life of joy, meaning and purpose I thought it would. 

I stayed subconsciously trapped in the cycles of pain trying to resolve them by hoping the people around me would change. I kept my life small so I could stay in control. I never wanted to be around crowds of people, I never wanted to share and be vulnerable, and I never wanted to let anyone see my feelings. I stayed hidden away behind my mind where I felt in control and safe. 

What did this cost me? It cost me my freedom. It cost me love, connection, joy and a deep sense of meaning and purpose. Sure, I was in control, but I was also miserable. I felt empty and a deep sense of purposelessness. For a while I was suicidal. I left those feelings years ago, but the vacancy of just going through the motions of life without a true connection to what I’m doing or why I’m here was maddening. It was so disappointing and I had just about given up hope that life would be anything other than disappointing. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I checked every box for everything people said would bring me meaning, purpose and joy.  

I have found that more people feel this same vacancy than those who do not. We cover this vacancy with eating, drinking, social media, games, sex, shopping, collecting things, religion, the list goes on and on. So many of us are terrified at the thought of spending a whole day, much less a whole lifetime, just being alone with ourselves. Being with ourselves with no distractions. The thoughts in our mind haunt us. We torture ourselves with memories from the past and worries for the future. We torture ourselves with thoughts of how disappointed we are in how life has turned out. We stay in our minds and prolong the pain and suffering of the past. We recreate our pain over and over again and feel as if life is unfair and unjust. 

Many people will tell you the answer is prayer, reading the bible, going to church, going to a therapist, reading self help books, doing something that the mind can understand. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but no amount of staying in your mind will fix or heal the torture of the pain of our past that we continue to repeat in the present. 

The only way to stop the cycle of pain is to become fully present with yourself here and now in the present moment. Connecting to your body and the spirit within you that is ever present. Our bodies are the container of the true essence of who we are, not our minds. Our bodies have stored the emotions of the past, and our bodies contain our ever present soul that is the lifeforce of who we truly are. When you drop into your body and feel your emotions, you are then free to just be. So many of us are terrified of the silence of being with ourselves because the pain of the past combined with our present actions to distract ourselves are haunting. The secrets we hold inside are killing us. You aren’t a bad person for the things you do to find some form of pain relief. Life isn’t even about being a good or bad person. It is about being authentic, real and connected, or disconnected and fragmented because of the cycles of pain on repeat. 

Are you tired of the constant disappointment? Are you tired of hating yourself and your life? Are you tired of feeling like you are always behind, not quite enough, and devastatingly empty inside? It is so painful isn’t it? It is so painful to feel the destruction and pain of the disconnection to our true self. It is painful to face the things we do to distract ourselves from the reality of the vacancy.

Religion often teaches us to pray, read the bible, do good things, and this will bring you peace and joy. Do you see the problem here? All of these things keep you in your mind. None of these things are bad or wrong, but if they are done in your mind then you are perpetuating the problem. Healing happens in the body. Pain is released from your body. Get out of your mind and into your body and you will be set free. You will experience peace and joy. You will stop the cycles of pain and be at peace with the present moment just as it is. 

When no part of who you are is haunting. When the past doesn’t haunt you and the future doesn’t worry you, then you are free to love your life in the present moment just as it is. Flawed, imperfect, messy, and unpredictable. You don’t need to control how it looks or what will happen next. You can just be here in the present now, full of gratitude, hope, love and joy for all that is. You are at home with yourself and full of peace. 

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