Witnessing and Merging

A regular and very helpful reader asks,

“Why are we to witness our grief, rather than merging with it, as you suggest in your most recent blog entry, whereas we are advised to merge with our pain in the previous one?  Is grief not a form of pain we can also feel in our body?

 “Also, do you agree your technique can work on physical pain as well?  Based on the last fifteen years or more or personal experience, it seems to me physical, emotional and spiritual pain are one and the same really.
Excellent questions!  Could go either way, but personally, when I’m dealing with an Ego Death, there’s not enough of me left to be Separate.  So if someone reminded me to Witness it, and I was able to hear it, it would be a breakthrough.  And in fact, I’d have to Witness it first before I could locate it in my body and put all of my Attention into the center of it – which would be a fabulous thing to do, once I’m Separate from it.

It’s about Identity, the difference between “I am depressed” and “I feel depressed.”  If I’m Identified with my pain, I can’t Merge with it because there’s nobody else home except the pain.  If we shift to a wider Perspective, then it’s not so much about Merging or Witnessing as it about toggling between the two.  Do I already Identify with the Pain (I am)?  Then Witnessing is appropriate.  Do I already Witness the Pain (I feel)?  Then moving our Attention into it is appropriate. 

It was a little careless of me to use the word “Merge” in the first bold sentence in Soul Fragments – Merging usually implies Identification with.  When we’re putting all of our Attention into Pain, our Identity remains separate.

Grief may be a little different than most other Emotions, as folks say that “Grief has it’s own schedule” and can’t be hurried.  They don’t say that about Anger or Fear.  I don’t pretend to know, but Grief may require a little more Respect (or Ritual) from the Ego than other Emotions.

We have to be careful to avoid “Blaming the Victim” when we talk about Pain.  Blame is an opaque bubble, and when folks are in Blame, they can’t see out of it.  Most people Live there, including myself at times.  I mean, if those damn fascists would get it together and learn Empathy, the Planet would be a better place – right?  At least I’m out of it (the bubble) much of the time.  There aren’t as many people Living in Blame as there are Living in Cause&Effect, but they’re closely related anyway.  If you try to tell someone that their Physical Pain is the same as Emotional Pain, you could be cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

However, the Universe is Unitary.  Physical, Emotional, Spiritual – as well as Intellectual, Energetic, and Political – aren’t different kinds or levels of Experience, they’re different Perspectives on Experience.  They’re properties of the Observer, not properties of the Observed.  There’s always Power in switching Perspectives with Open Curiosity.

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