Although the whole emotional spectrum is likely involved, John Sarno believes that the primary emotion responsible for chronic pain is unconscious rage. This post is about a time when I let my rage be conscious.
When he was a teenager, my son, Eli, was always yelling at his Xbox. I can’t tell you how many times he broke his controller in a fit of rage only to insist that we go buy a new one right away. I was very relieved when, as a young man, he finally learned to control his impulse to throw his controller across the room.
I was thinking about him that morning when the Internet didn’t work. I had a training to prepare and no access to my online data system. Grrrr.
So, there I was rapidly typing in web addresses, cursing, and pounding on the enter key. Pages would come up momentarily, but then they’d be gone. This led to more cursing. My dog quietly excused himself from the room. Now you know where my son gets it from.
As I huffed and puffed and pounded on my keyboard, I didn’t try to change or regulate my response to the situation in the least. Ironically, there was a certain joy in that. I was stark raving mad and happy to be just that. You see, I sometimes have a hard time allowing myself to feel my emotions, especially rage.
So while it was extremely frustrating not to be able to accomplish what I needed to do, at the same time, I was delighted that I could allow myself to be angry about it. This can be difficult for people who suffer from chronic pain. Our condition is often sourced in a desire to appear perfect and good.
Finding Authentic Presence
That’s why I’ve been working on being authentic, which means not trying to be anything other than exactly what I am right now in the moment. Like a lot of people, I’ve spent most of my life desperately trying to regulate my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and attitudes. To experience the full range of living is an interesting change.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that it can be wonderful to be in my body. As a long- term mediator, it’s funny to ponder how long I searched for something that really only requires me to just show up. Now I just hope I can stick around.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, a few hours later a repairman came and fixed the Internet. I was finally able to work again.
Of course, there will always be a fine line between authentically bearing witness to our personal shenanigans and violently acting out of rage or causing harm. That is why mindfulness practice is so vital to the process.
In the end, I still believe that when we truly enter into life, we will show up just as we are and wonder why we ever thought we needed to be any other way.