Awakening from the Trance
To awaken from a trance, I must first be aware that I am in a trance. And I must make a decision to wake up! The decision follows from an invitation from someone who already made that decision. With that invitation I admit that the story I’ve been telling myself, or the stories I’m being told, just don’t add up.
With so many spin doctors spinning their versions of alternative facts, it’s easy to be mesmerized into a trance. A United States statesman once said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.” In an increasingly digitalized and streaming media world, the line between fact and fiction is being effectively blurred.
In deciding to awaken from my trance, I open my eyes to a perspective on life that previously eluded me. I realize that my own perceptions deserve and need validation, and I do not need to give my power away to other’s dominating moods and temperaments. And in deciding to awaken from my trance, I accept that there are three essential steps: awareness, action and accountability.
I realize the many dimensions of the trance. The most common one expresses itself as the drama triangle. Three ubiquitous roles; victim, persecutor and rescuer show up as the only three roles that I, and all my relations, and all the players in the world around me have been playing.
Awareness awakens me from this trance in a flash of insight, in sunshine or rain, a mountain high, a tumbling waterfall, a rolling ocean or rushing stream, a squirrel running along the top of a fence the behaviors of friends and loved ones. I’m invited to a realization of the interconnectedness of all things.
Stuck in the drama triangle, I see that I have been unhappy in my own skin for a vast number of fantastic reasons. And I staunchly believe that none of these are my fault! A deep internal discomfort has been there since long before I can even remember. And, I have consistently reached for something outside myself to rescue me, to help me feel better.
How beautiful this impulse toward finding relief, I do not want to feel badly forever.
To go beyond the internal pain and suffering that naturally draws me to seek remedy, I am driven to reach for people or places or things to bring me relief. To the extent that these things actually do bring me relief, they may actually perpetuate my trance.
That cup of coffee in the morning, that cigarette on break, that beer or wine that takes the edge off, that vacation to an exotic location, that news cast, or my favorite personality talk show, all show up to rescue me. They distract me from my inner pain, for a while. The operative phrase here, “for a while.” They provide temporary relief. When their effects wear off, the pain remains, deeper and more recalcitrant than before.
With awareness I have started on the path to awakening from the trance. The three roles of the drama triangle are not my only option!
Awakening I am called to notice the pain that drives me to play victim. I see that I have fallen into the habitual use of temporary remedies to rescue me. I realize that there’s actually not enough coffee, tobacco, alcohol, news or sex in the world to make the change I’m seeking. Though all of these are ubiquitous, and will constantly fill my void forever if I continue to let them.
Now begins the heavy lifting. Instead of being a victim, I enter my memories, I feel my pain and discern these as gifts, rather than curses. The temporary fixes have run their course. Co-dependent enabling of my victimhood now must end. No easy task set before me, challenging me to my core.
An astute observer notes that “when a victim feels his pain, he reaches for his crutch to distract away from the pain once more.” To actually feel my pain proves a threatening idea. It threatens to throw me back into my old habits. Without true support, unconditional love, clean, non-additive alternatives, this idea of awakening becomes an impossible challenge.
I must find and develop true, nourishing support on the arduous path of healing from inner pain and turmoil. Not an intellectual task, yet demanding intellect, the tools I seek need to provide nourishment to the starvation of my inner being. I need true allies to make these essential changes, to wake up from my codependent trance.
I have repressed my inner pain and turmoil my entire life. The prospect of finding lasting relief appears foolish and impossible. Truth is, if I continue to look outside myself it will remain elusive. At last I am alert to the fact that this is an inside job!
The way in is the way out. The only way out is through.
That which previously seemed a curse, now I see as blessing.
This is the full moment of awareness. Inner pain has been driving me to distracting behaviors. These behaviors no longer serve. They do not bring lasting relief. I awaken to this truth. My next step involves choice.
Action now appears as the second stage of my awakening. I am not a victim, but an actor! Rather than habitual reaction from a victim place, I make a conscious choice to act with full awareness of my actions. I deliberately choose to end the behaviors that are distracting. In doing so, I will see what I’ve been hiding inside all this time.
Instead of drinking the liquor of my trance, I drink a glass of water. I slow down and take deep breaths. I take a walk in the sustaining beauty of nature. I swim in the sea. I practice mindfulness, meditation and exercise. I take refuge in a quiet conversation with a dear friend. I nourish myself with wholesome foods and plenty of restful sleep. I find a professional counselor or bodywork therapist, trained to listen to my cry; body, mind and spirit.
With conscious action, the numbing effects of my crutches slowly but surely wear off. The raw painful feelings at the core of my being reveal themselves. The nourishing milk of compassion pours over my pain. It brings me the true relief for which I’ve been longing.
I am not a victim. Nothing happens to me. Everything happens for me.
Rather than being a victim, I am an actor. A creative human being, co-creator of my experience. This new awareness inspires me to aligned action. Action empowered by awareness, and taken with full acceptance of my personal responsibility. It lifts me up to a higher perspective.
Conscious action brings me to the third step in awakening; accountability.
I am responsible for my actions. I accept the consequences of my choices as my revered teachers. They guide me in each moment to greater and greater awakening.
I am not persecuted by people or circumstances. Insensitive perpetrators do not seek to destroy me. Rather challenges and opportunities are presented before me. I meet them creatively now with my new-found ability to choose a different response.
Rather than making co-dependent choices, seeking rescue and salvation, I call forth allies. Allies who believe in me and support me in my walk toward truth and beauty with unconditional love. I let go of the false allies who would spin me around with their dogma and diatribes. I am not so easily fooled by the doctoring of the news and the world of alternative facts built to obscure my pure perceptions.
Awareness, action and accountability have helped me heal from my inner pain that drove me to seek external relief. I no longer mask, hide or run from myself. I reveal and feel to heal. I awaken to the full mystery of the gifts of life, dark and light, and all shades in between. I see that life is now set before me as a banquet.
With awareness, I take conscious action and accept the full responsibility for the consequences of my choices. The trance of victim, perpetrator, rescuer no longer holds me in its grip.
With each breath I take, with each and every step I take, I awaken.
Much love and healing to you all,
Matthew Sweigart, AOBTA®-CI
HeartMind Healing Arts