Monday, January 6, 2014

The Trauma of Healing

All healing involves trauma, the re-opening of old wounds. Healing does not always look or feel good, pretty or kind.

One of the most dangerous myths we have inherited is that healing is supposed to 'feel good'. No. Sometimes our pain actually increases as the darkness emerges into the light. But the pain actually indicates that the healing process is intensifying, not stalling.

There is such a tendency in our culture to avoid suffering, distract ourselves from it, label it as 'wrong' or 'negative', meditate or medicate it away, prevent the experience of it (and of course there is great intelligence in this too!). Much of our Western medicine is geared towards the removal of symptoms, the calming of disruption, the numbing of chaos and the journey towards some socially acceptable idea of 'normality'.

But sometimes, friends, we no longer have any interest in 'returning to normal'! The 'normal' was the problem, not the solution! The status quo needed to shift. It was unstable and false.

Sometimes our fragile 'normality' needs to break open into chaos, the pain needs to be felt more fully, the heart needs to break open more intensely. This is not to destroy us, but to destroy inauthentic modes of being.

Suffering is not a punishment from a judgemental god, nor a mistake in a broken universe, nor evidence of our failure and unenlightened ignorance, but a profoundly alive spiritual teaching. Witness Jesus on the cross. The device of his torture became his ultimate invitation to healing - the rediscovery of his own unbreakable Presence prior to his human incarnation, prior to time itself. The crucifixion was the invitation to the rediscovery of God itself.

We are all on that cross with Jesus! The cross does not discriminate!

Consider the possibility that within your suffering you are being invited to let go, to 'put away childish things', to wake up from the dream of normality and embrace life in all its brokenness and wonder. To fall in love with where you are. To be here, now.

Let the winds blow, let the tempests rage, let all that is false be purified, let all that is dead remain dead, let life explode where you are. You are only being invited to a deeper healing, even though it feels like pain, even though the heart is tender and raw, even though you cannot yet feel your tomorrows.

God is here.

Jeff Foster