Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

In the Silent Spaces, That’s Where Wholeness Lies

Healing + wholeness thru mindfulness.

When I was meditating last night, an image of a nun from my Catholic elementary school came up out of nowhere.  It arose just as my body started feeling physical distress.

[Click the audio below to listen to me read this piece or simply continue on to read the text.]

 

Some of the nuns at my school cracked the whip.  I felt in terror of them.  Disobedience never crossed my mind, at least not in my early years.  One time, however, I was caught whispering – it seems – with a classmate during morning mass.  I don’t remember the transgression.  But I remember the humiliation of the punishment – kneeling in the aisle for the remainder of mass – as a visceral impression in my cells.

“Indignity,” cries out my bones, my body, my brain. No wonder she’s suddenly appearing from the darker corners of my mind.  This memory needs to be cleansed and released so I can move closer to wholeness, untainted by the past.

So many moments go into making an adult.  Each experience adds to the others before, shaping our brains and the way we learn to feel, believe, and respond.  Which emotional patterns color your adult life:  fear, anger, envy, doubt, or desire to be other than you are?   Sometimes, it seems a miracle that we even manage to function in day-to-day life, given the warped messages delivered wittingly or unwittingly by those in charge of the tinier ones.

So much unwinding awaits us if we wish to clear away the wounds and instead, live in clarity and peace.  Unless you had the perfect childhood, of course.

Mindfulness can help heal emotional wounds.

I said good-bye to this nun and sent her into the realm of pure love.  I don’t think she’s evaporated from my being entirely just yet, but it seems we will gradually and amicably part ways. Perhaps coincidentally, my physical pain began to subside.

In the Silent Spaces, Release the Pain with Love

Silence allows painful memories to arise.  In the silence, they can be released with love.

You may not make time for silence if you fear overwhelming sorrow, unendurable agony, or repressed aggression.  I understand.  Sometimes I resist, feel afraid, or runaway from silence too.

In silence, the secret is to simply allow.  Anything might arise in the mind: Good, bad, or neutral.  It could be the call of your shopping list, the tug of your work, or the lure of an unexpected memory.

Aversion occurs when we attempt to suppress or push away a thought.  With attachment, we long to entertain it for an enduring stay.  Believe me, both are trouble brewing only meant to bring you down.

There’s another way.  It begins by knowing that whatever arises will pass when it’s lightly observed with awareness.

Rainbow Bubbles Always Pass with Time

Think of these aversive and desirous reactions like rainbow bubbles that magically appear, float about, and eventually pop in their own time. Even if the same bubble pops up again, and again, and again from the floor of your unconscious mind, you’ll see it lose its strength each time as you gently hold your ground in relaxed awareness.

You are not this emotion, this pain, this wound.  It’s simply a past experience that no longer exists outside the walls of your own body-mind.

This is the pivotal point!   Please, for your own well-being, let it sink in.

In the silent spaces, we can allow distress to surface, be known, and felt.  Mysteriously, when we let go of the resistance, our heart splits open with self-compassion for all that we’ve endured.  As we begin to release the torment, we might also sense that our transgressor may have felt pain and confusion too.

Allow the Silent Spaces to Heal Your Life

Have courage to permit the silent spaces in your life.  Busyness will only exacerbate your patterns, deepening your wounds.  Activity is not truly the protection we hope it might be.  It puts off the inevitable, the necessary, if you truly wish to heal.

In the silent spaces, you can also come to know your true self – the one that’s beyond the pain, the emotions, and the memories.  The one that’s always there, simply aware of whatever unfolds in your mind, your heart, or external circumstances.  The one that imbibes each moment, without judgement, just fully present and alive.

In the silent spaces, that’s where healing and wholeness lies.

Do you embrace the silent spaces or avoid them carefully?  I treasure your comments and would so love to hear from you.

P. S. Sometimes, it’s best to explore our wounds with professional support.  This is not offered as a psychological or medical solution for every case of distress.

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20 Comments

  1. I had similar nuns giving out similar punishment….my knees will never be the same. But yes I cherish the silent times so I can hear what is bubbling up and around me…so important for the healing.

  2. Hi Sandra,

    Whenever I step into silent space…which becomes a daily ritual as we become less busy in life… memories of the same kind as you have shared stand before me and I wonder whether I had the most indifferent people around me. This teacher made me stand one full week for 35 minutes of her class to prove that she was right in hitting a student because I had the courage to say that hitting has been prohibited by the Principal. I learnt my first lesson of standing up for a friend…yet her unkind teaching didn’t deter me from being courageous.

    Thanks for the reminder, dear friend. Healing too lies in our own thoughts.

    • How terrible, Balroop. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’m inspired that you retained your courageous heart despite that unkind teaching. Yes, I agree that healing lies in our own thoughts.

  3. Something jumped out from this for me and that was to consider that the people who inflict the pain on others (especially the small and powerless ones) have probably been hurt in similar ways themselves and might be acting from that hurt. In RC, I counseled with former Catholic women who had similar nun stories they were still dealing with on an emotional level. Yes, silence lets the feelings come to be processed and let go and it is really interesting to observe oneself when stepping into silence. I have started walking without my spiritual CDs and am just with myself and the natural world. I don’t have many bad memories from the past that come up —many have been dealt with already—-but I do catch myself worrying AND I am working on getting that in hand in Joy Holland’s Worry/Shift class. So far so good, Sandra! And, again, I love that you are speaking!! It really does add another wonderful dimension to the post! Hugs!

    • Hello Dear Jean,
      It’s heartening to know that there are different ways to work with these deep-seated wounds like silence and Re-evaluation Counseling as well. I’m so happy you rarely have bad memories from the past. Love that you are working on shifting the worry with Joy! I wish you the best with this and send you a hug right back.

  4. Hi Sandra, I’m happy to say I don’t have such memories from my childhood. It’s so sad that there are those who would bully and intimidate their little charges and I think it must have been a profound experience for you to be able to release much of the pain.

    The silence for me is a place of peace and harmony and love. To be visited daily for my renewal. And I think you are so right that it’s the place where healing takes place, that connection between me Elle and the Divine.

    Beautiful read. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you don’t have memories like this from your childhood, Elle! It’s inspiring to hear how silence renews you each day and connects you to the divine. I also find peace, harmony, and love in silence and it surely is a place of nourishment for me as well.

  5. Hi Sandra,

    Gosh how lovely to hear your voice and be able to listen to you read as I read along in my head. I really loved that.

    I’ve had a few problems with nuns too after attending a convent school for a few years. I am learning to live with silence and seek it out with your help.

    it’s Monday morning now and I have a zillion things to do. I think I will start with 10 minutes of meditation. No matter what else I do or don’t do today at least I will have prioritized that 🙂

    • Thank you, Annabel! I’ve realized that I’ll never get the audio perfect, but part of being human is the flub ups. I’m glad you enjoyed reading along.

      I think you know the power of silence quite well and I’m impressed with how you engaged so enthusiastically with meditation.

      What a great way to start your day. I hope it’s a good one.

  6. michelle t.

    I read every so often. I think this is the first time commenting. I experienced similar situations to what you have, too. And I carry it. Worse though is I still hear the humiliation from them and one other person. I can hear their voices clearly, and I live with the humiliation. Thank you for writing this. I have a long way to go, but maybe this can be a start. Thanks again. Michelle t

    • Dear Michelle,

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been so deeply affected and feel the humiliation so vividly. Thanks for having the courage to share your experience. As we can see from reading the other comments, we’re not alone by any means.

      I hope this can be a new start for you. I think healing is possible. You deserve to live without humiliation. I hope with all my heart that you find freedom from this though I know it may take time.

  7. Embrace!

    Thankfully, no nun stories for me (though the church I attended as a young kid often had me crying, convinced I was going to go to hell).

    One of my favorite places is a seminary/monastery about 45 minutes from our house. It’s on top of a hill, with a beautiful view, and it feels so peaceful. I sometimes go there for quiet introspection.

    I think what you say about release the pain *with love* is important. I’ve found that since I began focusing on the love part of that equation, forgiveness (for my sake, not theirs) is so much easier.

    • Thank you for the embrace, Christy! I so appreciate your empathy.

      The location of this seminary sounds so perfect for silence. A beautiful view is so uplifting to bring out the spaciousness that is so much a part of our true mind. I’m glad you are relatively close to this special space.

      Yes, love is so important, isn’t it! It changes everything when we can get there.

  8. I feel so blessed that I only have good memories from my school days and no nun experiences.
    Silent spaces are so special and I am often surprised at what surfaces. Love you reading your posts xxoo

    • How wonderful to have only positive memories, Susie! I’m happy for you. I’m inspired by how you love the silent spaces and are open to whatever arises. I’m glad you liked the reading.

  9. kalpana solsi

    I love my silent spaces for they remind me my past glimpses some good and some not so good. The memories whisper , scream, caress, chafe or just linger on. And many a times I make peace with the past and at times uncomfortable questions are raised to which I try to find solutions. I enjoyes reading this post. Thank you

    • I’m happy for you. Silence is special indeed! And what you say is so true, anything might arise and it might be uncomfortable. But when we can just be with it in the silence so much healing can come. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Varuni

    loved your post

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