STOP looking for answers outside of yourself to heal internal suffering
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
Oprah: So many people today medicate themselves. When any uncomfortable feelings arise, you go to the psychiatrist or counselor, or whomever and the first thing they do is prescribe medication for you. Does medication get in the way of enlightenment?
Eckhart: To a large extent it does. There may be such an extreme case where medication is necessary. For people who already are on medication it is certainly not advised to go off medication without the advice of a doctor. So if you feel that it's time for you to get off your medication, talk to a doctor, who is relatively conscious and can help you gradually to get off the medication
So this is really a matter of not giving into this culturally conditioned behavior that says whenever you feel some sort of discomfort inside yourself, an emotional disturbance, you need to immediately to seek some external help in the form of a substance rather than learn to be with the inner discomfort that arises. Learn to be with emotional pain that arises rather than wanting to eliminate it. Learn to accept it. Acceptance is one of the main focal points of this teaching. Learn to accept whatever emotion arises in you, rather than run away from it or wanting to eliminate it.
Oprah: But why? This is the thing Eckhart. Why would I want to accept it? That is the reason people are medicating themselves. That is why people eat, they gamble, they overwork themselves, they live in denial, they become unconscious because they don't want to deal with the pain. That's what we're all trying to get away from, is the pain.
Eckhart: Yes, yes. Now if you medicate it, it doesn't actually go away. It dulls the pain so that you're not conscious of it anymore, but it's still there in the background.
So, why accepted it? It's because it is here at this moment. So it's part of bringing this inner yes to whatever arises in the present moment. It is part of becoming friendly with a present moment, even if on the surface the present moment doesn't look that great. So this is where the awareness begins to come into the emotion. If we bring acceptance to whatever we feel at this moment rather than not wanting to feel it, the equivalent of that would be an external situation that arises and then I resist it because I don't want this situation to be as it is, but it already is.
Oprah: So then this just causes stress, and that is what you say in this book and also in The Power of Now. Wanting something to be different than it is is what causes stress.
So the best thing to do is to feel it, accept it, allow the feeling to do whatever is going to do to you, make you feel sad or angry or upset or whatever and then CHOOSE to do something about that. Or not.
Eckhart: Yes. Realize first, that you are the awareness for that emotion. You are the space for it. You are the awareness disguised as a person.
You are not actually that emotion. You are the awareness. So then already, a shift has happened. Because if you completely identify with the emotion, the emotion will very quickly rise into your mind and it will control your thinking.
And you will think it's actually you when it's not.
I loved listening to this podcast and got some really good information out of it. I highly recommend listening to the Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth. Awakening to Your Life's Purpose series.
Something I talk about often is a common false belief that we need to seek outside resources to help heal internal suffering. Often times when we fee anxiety, depression, sadness, insecurity etc. we start looking for solutions outside of ourselves that can help ease us of these pains. Alcohol, food, work, sex, porn, medication are just a few.
*I am not a medical doctor and I do believe that there are circumstances where chemical imbalances in the body/brain are present and do require medication to be treated.*
This has been my experience with alcohol. Any time I felt any type of feelings of discomfort creep in, my solution was always reaching for an external solution (alcohol). What I realized is that the alcohol was only temporarily numbing the pain. This was not a solution to my pain but only a patch. Those feelings were being pushed further and further down inside of me (depressed) and showing up in forms such as anger, sadness, discomfort, unhappiness, feeling stuck, stagnant, bitter and mean. I was so afraid of actually feeling those feelings. I was so afraid of facing them and in the moment numbing them felt like the easy route.
The numbing was destroying me.
It was throwing me so far out of alignment with my true self that I could hardly recognize myself anymore. I lived every day constantly feeling like something wasn't right but not being able to pinpoint why.
What my body and mind was needing was for me to be sober and sit with all of these emotions. Understand where they were coming from and understand why I was feeling them. I needed to work through these painful realities instead of pretending they didn't exist. Avoidance will only bring more pain and ultimately more suffering.
The sooner we can be real, raw, and vulnerable to addressing the darkest parts of ourselves, the sooner we will be able to feel true freedom.
Demi ** If you are sober, or curious about sobriety, we would love for you to join our Facebook group - Mindful Times Facebook Community for support, encouragement, accountability and questions.
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