Abuse is deeply shattering to the body, psyche, and spirit. The surest way to prevent a child from discovering her inner light is to abuse her physically, sexually, or emotionally. Fortunately, the only force equal to the effects of abuse is our instinct to grow, heal, and love.
The process of opening up and letting go, of becoming aware, can break up the painful memories that arise from abuse, whether they've been there for a long time or are just beginning to arise. It helps to see these memories as chains made of mind-body reactions.
For example, being touched may arouse the painful memory of abuse. But that memory is only a thought, which leads to an emotion such as anger, rage, or fear. In turn, the emotion may lead to a physical movement, which is composed of sensations. For example, we may feel nauseated or panic-stricken.
As we become aware of this chain reaction and observe it, the patterns become more and more workable. Our moment-by-moment awareness aims a laser beam on the chain, and it comes apart, link by link. We see that no matter what kind of thought arises, it is just a thought. Thoughts come and go. Any emotion that may arise is an amplified thought. It too shall pass. Once we begin to see that the chain reaction is not solid, we learn that we can cut it at any link. The thought may give rise to fear, for example, but when we become aware of the fear, we may no longer react with panic or nausea. As the suffering and heartbreak contained in painful memories become workable and fluid, we are delivered from victimhood.
Here is a technique for working with painful memories.
First, in your mind's eye, conjure up the situation or the people involved in the event you are remembering. Try to envision them with no negative judgment or resistance. Visualize the memory as a dark iron chain around your heart.
Now consciously focus your awareness on the strength, power, and warmth of your inner light. Suffuse the chain with light until it glows golden, and the cold iron begins to soften from the heat. One by one, the links melt as your inner light becomes stronger and brighter. The memory melts link by link into your inner light, feeding it so that it becomes brighter and brighter as the chain dissolves. The light fills your entire body. Let it overflow into rays of forgiveness that you radiate to the people involved in your painful past.
Every time the memory arises, transform it into inner light and send it as forgiveness and compassion to yourself and the others involved. This strengthens your own sense of light and compassion, and benefits others as well. Afterward, rest as long as you like in the cool comfort of freedom from the sharpness and pain of the memory.
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Pathways to the Soul: 101 Ways to Open Your Heart
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About the Author
Carlos Warter M.D., Ph.D. is a medical doctor, transpersonal spiritual psychiatrist, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of consciousness raising and alternative healing. He is the author of Soul Remembers and Who Do You Think You Are? The Healing Power of Your Sacred Self. Born in Chile, Dr. Warter has been awarded the United Nations Peace Messenger and the Pax Mundi awards for his humanitarian efforts. He presents keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars both in the U.S. and throughout the world. His website is at www.doctorcarlos.com and his email [email protected].