This week was a challenge. I got 3 hours of sleep 3 nights in a row. As someone who almost never has sleeping concerns, I was barely functional. Naps didn’t take. Medicine didn’t help. I was in a twilight zone of insomnia, and desperate to get out.
It was the experience of going on a silent, seven-day meditation retreat that helped me escape. One night, after tossing and turning for hours on end, I looked at the clock at 12:15am and made myself close my eyes, and stay perfectly still until 12:46am. I was allowed to open my eyes to take a peek at the clock facing me, but no other movement was permitted (per my instructions to myself).
What I experienced was exactly what I learned to address at the retreat. I had to simply be with the unpleasant sensations. I had to intentionally experience them, as opposed to try to relieve them, which meant I had to ignore the itches (no scratching allowed). I had to ignore the tingling in my hands as they were going numb (no repositioning allowed). I had to hone in on the feelings of discomfort, and simply identify what they were – oh that’s an annoying tickle, and that’s an uncomfortable tingle, but what’s this now, oh, why that’s piercing pain. Where is that coming from? What does it feel like? Is it external and superficial, or internal and throbbing?
I’m sharing what I experienced without any ability to explain it. But what I felt was what I can only describe as a metal skewer (yes, the thing you grill meat on) stuck under my left arm and piercing down into my heart. Once I identified what it was, I was able to visualize what it was doing. The skewer was skinny so the wound was narrow, but the pain was sharp and stabbing. I waited until the required time when I was permitted to move, and then promptly, I went through the physical exercise of pretending to pull out the skewer as if I was pulling out a thermometer to check the temperature of a turkey; my meat was cooked.
Checking in within, I felt immediate relief. The pain was gone. And what’s more, after a few minutes spent in wonder and in giving gratitudes, I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. And I’ve slept soundly ever since.
I am still working on the theories of what that skewer represented. But I know that I was the one who put it there, and that I was the only one who could remove it.
We do various things to ourselves in effort to hide or escape from addressing issues we’d rather not face, or simply aren’t ready to. What I know for sure though is that Feeling [the anger, the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the betrayal] is the door to Freedom.
Liberation awaits us all! Can you feel it?
With loving gratitudes,