A Painful Reality

When Life Feels Like a Nightmare
Related article: The Space Between Things










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by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted

A facebook chat with a friend reminds me ….

I was chatting on facebook when a friend mentioned that her life felt like a nightmare from which she couldn’t awaken. It took me to the illusion of a past, to periods on the timeline of my own soul evolution where I felt that way. There has been more than one such time of the sensation a lot of us still call “pain”.

The sensation of a painful reality.
I know that place. I’ve been in what felt like a nightmare that would never end. Perhaps the fact that the whole of who I AM has been able to embrace and allow transformation of such a reality could bring hope to others still in the dream of pain.

The first thing, and the hardest, toward transforming my painful reality was surrender to it. That felt like the last thing I ever wanted to do, owning what was there without wanting it to be different. I fought spiritual surrender, resisted with all my might. I spent tremendous energy hating my reality vehemently, or trying to push through quickly and get rid of the pain. I will never forget the day I finally sank down into the worst painful reality of my life; I gave up fighting it and literally said, out loud, “Come here. Come be with me. I have created you so come.” That moment, which felt like utter defeat to the ego, was the beginning of transformation.

After a time of surrender, I began to see the entire pattern from a higher perspective, which is something I could not accomplish when I was immersed in fighting reality.

The most amazing aspect of that process has been self-awareness from a different place than the place that’s hurting. Before that, I thought I WAS the pain. The awareness that pain is an experience, and not who I AM, came as I began learning to lift my perspective and embrace that hurting human self with compassion and non-judgment. The thing I couldn’t really say, see or believe when I was in it was that it was all good. I see that only on the other side of it. When I began to observe myself in the painful pattern, viewing it from a different perspective, I began to gain a powerful distance toward soul clarity.

Let’s compare this stubborn pattern of a painful reality to being trapped in a burning house. Could a friend help you if they stood there in the house with you, choking with you and in harm’s way themselves? Or would they be far more help outside the house, near and with outreached hands and all the power of conscious prayer, breathing air that didn’t choke them, calling out to you and helping guide you out? Perhaps, they’d see the beam that was falling or they’d throw a bucket of water on you to keep the fire from taking hold. There are all sorts of ways they could help, outside what was threatening you.

My Higher Self is my friend, outside the burning house of my life at times. As I lift up and out of the frequency of the flames, I become able to hear the call of my highest aspects, telling me the way to go; pointing toward cool, clean, cleansing and rejuvenating waters of healing.

This is how I see the human and Spirit aspects working best. The soul aspect, the part of me that knows there is a way to transform what is happening, has to soar free of whatever is dragging the human through the mud … or fire. By learning to remind myself that there is an aspect above the pain, or within the pain but untouched by it, I began to see shifts occurring in my inner reality. These shifts were followed by changes in the outer.

Later, I learned different ways of doing the same thing from Eckhart Tolle and others and, most recently, through a wonderful exercise by Wendy Down. Wendy suggested simply the practice of moving the awareness from the front of the head to the back. It’s amazing what that one practice will shift if you allow it.