One of the main causes of compulsive behavior is the desire to run away from our pain. Many of us find some temporary way to “kill the pain” in our lives. For some, it is the consolation of food; for others it is alcohol or drugs (prescription as well as illegal). Then there is sex or work or some other behavior that we use to distract us from our pain.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with any of the above activities. As part of life, in fact, they can contribute to the zest of life. When they are used as ways to “kill the pain”, however, we miss out on an opportunity to grow as persons. What would happen if we sat with our pain for a while, trying to figure out the source of the pain?
This path to wholeness is called the “diamond path.” This path is based on how a diamond is produced by the earth. Originally, there is only coal. But the pressure upon the coal, over billions of years, eventually produces the brilliance of a shining diamond.
A similar thing may happen to us, in a telescoped fashion, if we can sit with our problems for a while and try to figure out what they are telling us.
The tendency, of course, is to try to do an “end run” around our pain or problem. We do this by falling back on compulsive behavior that, at best, only takes away our pain for a short time.
Even religion or bogus spirituality can be misused by some people in this way. These individuals are in a big hurry to “turn it over to God.” Since Higher Power realizes that the diamond path may be a healthier way to move forward, we often get our problem handed right back to us. In other words, taking an “end run” around our pain seldom works in the long run.
Eventually, yes, of course, we “turn it over to God”, but not before trying to figure out what our pain is trying to tell us. For example, if some part of our body is hurting us, we ask ourselves what our bodies are trying to tell us. Remember, the body never lies. So we ask ourselves, why this part of my body and why now? When did the pain start? Maybe I can try to draw what the pain looks like or maybe I can dance it out or scream it out or work it out by discussing things with a good therapist.
Yes, this process sounds like it will be a lot tougher than falling back on our old compulsive, pain-relieving patterns of behavior. It seems like it may be opening a can of worms. And it probably will be. But a diamond is never produced without friction . Coal or diamond… the choice is ours.
Next posting: Mysticism: Contact with Things Divine
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