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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Need for Suffering

In fairy tales there is always a happy ending, and the prince and princess sail off into the sunset, hand in hand. Real life is not quite like that, as well all know. There is happiness, and there is unhappiness. Sometimes “bad” things happen and there is suffering. And you have little or no control over such things.

Carl Jung knew very well that legitimate suffering is necessary for full mental health. He knew that the avoidance of one’s emotional pain eventually results in neurosis – and in psychosis in worst case scenarios.

Some New Age and positive psychology philosophies tell us that we can control the way we think and feel, either completely or to a very high degree. NLP practitioners (if I may generalise), for example, tend to believe that if we feed the right suggestions into the mind, and reprogramme it, that we can have unimagined success and happiness.

Here’s the problem as I discovered it after spending years working deeply on the human psyche, and on the emotional body. The human psyche, and the emotional body to which it is so closely associated, is largely inaccessible to conscious command. You can work in partnership with it, but direct control is out of the question – at least as far as I am aware.

Thirteen years ago I awoke with the theme from the TV show MASH playing in my head. That song is Suicide is painless. Two hours later two policemen knocked on the door and told me that my young brother Jerome had killed himself during the night. It was a terrible tragedy, and as you can imagine, heart wrenching beyond words. I was staying at my mother’s place at the time, because we had gathered for my father’s funeral (he died a few days earlier). At that time I had already done a lot of work on my emotional body, and I just had to let out an almost unimaginably vast wave of grief and anger. Knowing that my family members would never be able to deal with that emotional release, I drove out in my mother’s car to a country road, parked the car, and just let it all out. I screamed and raged, beating the car seat till my fists were almost bleeding. I did not censure anything, and let “God” have it all. I channeled every bit of emotional energy within me. As I did this, I dialogued with that wounded part of myself. I spoke to it like a loving and wise father would speak to a child.  Then I drove home.

The next day, much grief and rage remained. So I drove out to the same place and did it all over again. On the third day, my energy had settled, and there was no need for a repeat. However, ever since that time, whenever some energy from that event surfaces, I deal with it right away. The result is that today I have processed almost all the energy of that event. I am honestly at peace with it. And if more energy from that event arises in the future, I will let go and allow it a voice once again.

In contrast, many people hold onto the grief, anger and guilt they have in relation to life’s tragedies and failings. Well meaning friends tell them, “You can never really recover from…”

They do not heal.             

I’m not going to pretend that this kind of work is easy. It takes tremendous self-discipline and courage. One has to surrender to something greater than oneself. Forever.

A week ago I had a simple dream. I was in a room and there was a fire in a fireplace, and it was starting to burn out of control. I rushed over and tired to throw some water on it. Meanwhile I saw that outside there was a rising flood of water threatening to engulf the house.

The meaning of the dream was obvious to me. The fire represented anger, while the flood represented a huge wall of emotional energy, most likely associated with grief.

The problem was that as I analysed the dream I didn’t feel sad or angry at all. In fact I felt good. Great even. So I just put it aside and forgot about it. Then, about four days later my energy shifted, and my consciousness field became heavy. Over the following three days it became gradually heavier and heavier. I felt like I was weighed down by a huge wet blanket.

As an intuitive I can read the nature and causes of such energy shifts pretty well, but in this case it took me three days to really see what it was about. The reason it took that long was because I wasn’t ready to see it. Or, more to the point, I was not ready to feel it. Sometimes the ego is sneaky, and the psyche is just not ready to deal with something, and you have to respect that.

But by this afternoon, I knew what it was, and when I got home from work, set aside an hour to process the energy. To do this, I simply allowed myself to be immersed in divine light. I called on the light to grant me the courage to acknowledge and feel whatever I needed to feel. I completely relaxed. I let go. What followed was a succession of regressions into past relationships with my father, mother and older brother. Finally I was taken back into a previous life where “I” died alone and abandoned in a dark space, possibly a cave or dungeon. The sense of helplessness, hopelessness and absolute rage at God and the universe was immense. Certainly far more intense than most people would be able to witness without becoming greatly disturbed. This is why I do this work alone. When witnesses are unable to receive the pain without judgment, they unconsciously attempt to block the emotional energy. They do this by trying to save/comfort the person (this blocks the full expression of the emotion), or by attacking the part of the body associated with the emotional disturbance. This happens unconsciously via projections of consciousness.

Very few healers, either mainstream or alternative are aware of how such projections can prevent healing from happening.

One thing that you have to appreciate is that all people are unique. Our childhoods and past lives are different. Some of us carry great scars within the soul, while others are relatively light of spirit. The truth is that you have no control at all over the soul and karmic issues, at least not until you are old enough (and bold enough) to acknowledge them. The energy of these will arise in you at the perfect time and place, according to the will of Spirit. Last night was a full moon, and the surfacing of my own pain coincided perfectly with the lunar cycle. Your psyche, too, rides waves of energy that you are not conscious of, that are out of your control.

You can learn to ride those waves. But it takes time, focus, intention, and much courage.

The reward for all this is being able to process latent energy within our consciousness fields, and to allow our emotional energies to pass freely through us, rather than becoming blocked. Much depression, neurosis and projection are thus avoided. We become much lighter, in more than once sense of the word. 

It is not success which frees us, but suffering. Legitimate suffering.



  1. Very powerful and moving, Marcus. It takes a huge amount of courage, as well as skills that most of us don't possess, to go into those places.

    It reminds me of Gurdjieff's very useful distinction between deliberate/conscious and mechanical/unconscious suffering - the former grows the soul, while the latter at best has no effect, and often actually shrinks us as people. Unfortunately, the vast bulk of human suffering falls into the second category.

  2. Hi Simon,

    Yes, there's no doubt a lot of human suffering is unnecessary and largely useless, and even self-generated (which I really didn't go into here). As for courage, there comes a point where you become so sensitive to emotional and psychic energy that to actually walk around without processing/releasing it is almost unbearable. So in that sense it's no so courageous. I guess the price of honouring legitimate suffering is that it becomes absolutely necessary to keep on honouring it. At least that's how it is for me. I am certainly open to the possibility that all this is unnecessary, but I have yet to find out how to pull that off, despite having spent a great deal of time trying to work out how to do just that. Till I work that out, it will just be one day at a time, and riding the waves of the psyche, no matter how giant they get at times. I can't imagine there are any waves out there that are much bigger than the ones I have already surfed, so in that respect, there probably isn't that much to fear!