I was on the phone with a woman the other day who said “I don’t think I want to dig around too much to find out what’s causing my anxiety. I just don’t want to feel it anymore.” I totally understood where she was coming from, and to some extent I agreed with her. I’ve spent many an hour analyzing my experiences and not getting anything out of it but a headache and sense of inadequacy.
There’s a story in which the Buddha describes suffering as an arrow. If someone gets shot, you don’t stand around while the person is bleeding and ask what kind of arrow it is, and who shot it, and why, and what was the nature of the argument?
You take the arrow out.
Part of my job as a healer is to help you with arrow removal. Why an issue exists isn’t always a question that needs to be answered. I’ve heard it said that if you need to know why before you solve a problem, you’ll be stuck with it for a long time. And often, we need to remove the arrow – the symptoms and consequences – before we have enough perspective to find the why. We can’t see it while we’re suffering.
At the same time, understanding the root cause of illness, anxiety, depression, or habit truly can help us to transform it. We sometimes deny our own power to transform our ailments into something better. So many of us have been taught to believe, whether for physical or emotional dis-eases, that we just have to live with this arbitrary illness or injury or problem, because that’s life. We fail to notice the patterns that keep showing up, the symptoms that come and go depending on our circumstances, or the aspects of ourselves that we’d rather shut out. If we can be brave enough to look at those things, we eliminate much of the need for our symptoms. Address the root of anxiety and you’ll have fewer panic attacks. Resolve the emotional trauma that came with the injury and you’ll likely have much less physical pain.
The Sanskrit word for traumas and wounds is samskara. Shamanic healing finds where suffering has left its energetic mark and gently removes it, replacing it with light. The integration that follows can often feel empowering, life changing, or sometimes simply matter-of-fact, as though there was never an arrow to begin with. We retain our memory of the experience but lose the need to tell a story about it; we relinquish our attachment to pain. There are many other shamanic tools, but this one, chakra illumination, is the one I use most often.
I can say with complete confidence– from personal and professional experience– that you don’t have to just live with samskaras. You can thrive without them, and learn to be in better relationship with everything in your own rich life.
You aren’t a victim of the archers of the world. The arrows, those painful experiences that are just part of being human, don’t have to stay stuck in you. You can take them out – I can help you – and you can move on. Maybe you’ll know why it all happened and what it means; maybe you won’t. Either way, I know you can feel better.