the pain of bliss

Soon after I posted on the joys of mantra meditation, a dear friend emailed me to ask what I’ve been up to “besides being blissed out”. Her question made me smile, and pause to reflect.

Kundalini yoga and meditation have certainly given me a newfound sense of spiritual connection, hope, and yes, bliss…but I’ve mostly been spending time in solitude and contemplation. I’m continuing my shadow work, diving deep into feelings of darkness and limitation to touch the underlying fear, grief, and sense of separation.

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Many people are scared of experiencing, or talking about, deep emotions. Some fear that focusing on negative feelings will manifest more of them. Especially in the spiritual community, we say affirmations and practice the Law of Attraction to avoid what we consider negative. But it’s really our unconscious programming driving the show. And we can’t delete that with positive thought alone.

For me, bliss can only come with feeling and releasing painful emotions. This pain has accumulated over lifetimes, in my childhood, in my ancestry, and in the collective. Bliss is the authenticity of feeling all my feelings, without self-judgment. Bliss isn’t about being ‘happy’ all the time. That is a precarious place to be, because we fear losing that happiness. Bliss is freedom from the fear of feeling.

A few months ago I wrote about my move to a new location. I can see now that much has shifted for me in my short time here. It has been a challenging time on many levels. But I’ve needed to be in a place where I could consolidate my energy and prepare myself for something very new.

There have been many tears…but there is a subtle, lasting, profound joy in their release. It’s hard to put into words, but I know that many others are going through this cleansing process, and for a purpose.

I am compelled to do this work and I sense it’s about something much bigger than me. I feel deep gratitude to be on this path. And from what I’ve seen in some awakened women around me, the journey through these darker places is well worth it.

In a universe of oneness, we are all carrying each other’s pain. In releasing our own pain, we release it for humanity. We become lighter and more free to create a new reality through feeling our way into it. That, to me, is bliss.

22 thoughts on “the pain of bliss

  1. Bliss is freedom from the fear of feeling…beautifully put, Aleya. This is not only work for you, but work for the world. It is so important, and I am grateful for your dedication to your practice. It reminds me to be diligent about my practice, and to remember that nothing happens in a vacuum. What we do to ourselves, we do to the world…

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    • Thank you Sara. I love that. Indeed nothing happens in a vacuum; we’re all interconnected no matter how convincing this illusion of duality and separation feels. And it feels very real to me some days haha! Much love ❤ Aleya

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  2. Pingback: solstice, samskara, surrender | alohaleya

  3. Hi Aleya,
    I came back to reread and check out the awesome comments. So much food for thought! I found the topic very interesting after writing about pain, empathy, and raising one’s vibration. For me , bliss would feel like relief. At one time it would have been an intense state of euphoria. I think that continual happiness on Earth is an illusion, like images of photo-shopped models in a magazine, highly desirable but absolutely unattainable.

    Recently I have come upon teachers like our own Sarah, and Matt Kahn, who advise against shadow work, especially if one had already done a lot of purging and releasing. I am still considering this alternative take, especially as my empathic tendencies increase over time. Is what I am feeling even mine? I ask this more often lately.

    I adore your honesty and ability to invoke passion and vulnerability into your creative process. I am on team Aleya all the way!

    Namaste with hugs,
    Linda

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    • Hi Linda, thank you so much for coming back and sharing your thoughts. It’s wonderful to have to your perspective! I agree that continual happiness on earth is an illusion. It’s an ever dangling carrot! Tricks and traps everywhere, luring us to find happiness everywhere but in ourselves.

      Regarding shadow work, yes…it’s a good point you bring up. If we’ve been purging, releasing, and diving deep into our emotions for many years, when does it stop? Is it up to us? Or are many layers being released over time, the bigger purpose affecting the cosmos/evolution in ways our puny minds cannot comprehend? For empaths this is especially challenging. I can relate. We absorb so much as children and it takes years and years to get ourselves back to ‘us’. If we’re even conscious to do that in the first place.

      I also think there’s a tendency to get addicted to the process. There’s a fear in not having our story, our limitation, our…misery? At one point do we finally allow ourselves to move to a new, lighter, freer space? Are we in our own way?

      Hm…thanks for spurring all these thoughts. And thank you for your kind words! I love that we have this format to express ourselves and share our journeys. Much love, Aleya

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  4. Hi Aleya,
    I am with you on this, the practice is all about everything, bliss is one aspect – as we aren’t necessarily transcending in practice to avoid. There’s a certain solitude to the experiences that cannot be described or expressed in a way that is fully shared – despite the likely reality that it is shared, through our humanness. As we practice, we expand our capability and capacity to transmute and transform. The more our capacity grows, sometimes, and not always, we get more to transmute. I enjoy your thoughts and reflections and wish you well along your journey.
    I am certainly experiencing the gamut as well. Sometimes I call it all, taken together, just bliss. lol.
    It’s a wide range of experience that makes one definition of the word, bliss, very real: happiness; joy from the fullness of experience.
    Much Love, Ka

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    • Beautifully written, Ka. I especially love this: “As we practice, we expand our capability and capacity to transmute and transform. The more our capacity grows, sometimes, and not always, we get more to transmute.” I’m certainly experiencing this to feel true for myself. Sending you much love as travel on this beautiful and mysterious path. Namaste, Aleya

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  5. I recently read a book titled “10% Happier” – which chronicled the journey of a broadcast news personality as he walked the journey from scoffing at meditation to doing a full silent retreat – 🙂 It was very interesting to me some of the questions and/or observations those around him made or asked – his take, “I do this because I’m 10% happier – and it’s worth it” – Wonderful that you’ve found your path for ‘walking your journey’ and spending time ‘blissing out’ and ‘releasing pain’ – 🙂

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    • Thank you! I checked out that book online and it does look very interesting. A full silent retreat…that does take courage. I find that daunting – or rather, my monkey mind does – but I have a feeling it will happen for me someday. Have you done a silent retreat? I like this aspect of being 10% happier. Can you imagine if everyone in the world was 10% happier? Wow! Aleya

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      • Yes, I have, though not on ‘purpose’ – 🙂 About 2 years after my son died, and other ‘life events’ I was sick in spirit and body – and grief counselor recommended a ‘break/vacation’ to which I snorted and said, ‘no money for one – ” and he referred me to ‘retreat’ spaces available – the good Mother Superior at Wallaburga Abbey gave me sanctuary, room and board in exchange for light ‘help duties’ – and I was put under the care of Sister Benedicta – although I hadn’t planned on a ‘silent retreat’ the only other visitors at the of my arrival, first few days were on ‘silent retreat’ – we had communal meals and I only spoke with those sisters I was assisting with work or Sister-in-charge of me when she checked in – Seriously, when a fresh wave of visitors appeared that were not on ‘silent retreat’ I found myself tempted to use one of the ‘lanyards’ provided that read, “Thanks! But I’m on Silent Retreat” 🙂 if you’re interested, here’s the post I wrote about it:
        https://ballybin.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/retreat-update/

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        • Thank you for sharing your post, I really enjoyed reading it and I love that you found so much release and healing in the tears…and that you could feel it in your chest. The sisters sound so lovely! 🙂 Our earthly plane is not set up to have these spaces and support for the release of emotion. I think we need more of this. Can you imagine if everyone on the planet was allowed to/let themselves just cry for an hour? The world would change dramatically, I am sure. Aleya

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          • 🙂 Robert Fulghum often wrote about such things, “What would the world look like if everyone had warm cookies and milk, then took a nap each afternoon?” “What if we did Crayola Bombs and every one sat down and colored for the afternoon?”
            🙂

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  6. So true, Aleya. The meditation work is inviting all the formerly ignored, unconscious, or suppressed feelings to come up. And they must be felt and acknowledged in order to be released. I have been through some grief work recently, too.
    I find it a bit hard to know the difference between staying conscious while grieving vs drowning in grief. If I am about to drown in the emotion, then I get nudges like two burned out light bulbs in a row. That wakes me up and says, acknowledge the sadness, yes. Feel it, yes. But don’t drown in it.
    The real bliss is something which transcends the joy and grief of this world, I think.
    Peace,
    Karin

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    • Thanks, Karin. I have the same experience re: knowing when I’m drowning and when I’m feeling it fully. Sometimes I’ll get distracted and and have to bring myself back to the moment, the feeling. And other times it’s a necessary to take this ‘break’ before diving back in. I’ve also become aware of voices telling me to ‘toughen up’ or ‘stop feeling sorry’ for myself. These are harsh messages I’ve internalized over the years, but I’m learning to override them. I think it’s wonderful to recognize the subtle signs, within and without, that are supporting our healing. Namaste, Aleya

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  7. I find that in recognizing, getting to the root of pain, and releasing it, we become more empathetic of others and also more capable of setting ego aside to understand others. This takes patience and knowledge of self I’m learning.

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      • Yes, that is so true. Resistance can be so strong when it comes to the things we love. It’s helped me to think of the women I know and admire who’ve gone through this process and who’ve found that light…I can sense their freedom and it helps keep me on track. ❤

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        • Good thinking. I’m writing a memoir (finally) and other writers do say that it is a healing journey and there’s so much light on the other side. Thanks for the reminder to think of those who’ve done it. Despite resistance and the rest of it.

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    • Yes! Your comment reminds me of Yogi Bhajan’s famous saying: ‘Keep up and you will be kept up’. 🙂 Sometimes keeping with it feels overwhelming but I always find the strength or get the right message at the right time. Thank you. ❤ Sat Nam!

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  8. I feel people misconstrue bliss for something that is continuous, a state of bliss all the time. What many of us fail to see is that it comes and goes, because that is just how life is, ever changing. Finding that peace within, even when things around us are in chaos… and still be able to pull through… isn’t it blissfully wonderful when that happens?

    Miss ya, sweets xoxo

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    • Hi! You’ve taken a blogging break! Those are very necessary sometimes. Yes, it is wonderful to find the peace within the chaos…so much happening on the planet right now and without that stillness and practice, it’s easy to get pulled into the fear consciousness. I’m really glad that it’s my homework to meditate! 😀 It’s keeping me focused. Are you finished your Ashtanga training? Thanks my dear, miss you and your words too. ❤

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