Emotional Healing & the 'Dark Friends'

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'Caution & Overview

Along with some individual comments about EBs at the end of each section, much of what is written here is the same for the other constitutions, because these are things that can equally affect any person of any temperament.

As discussed in the introduction page, our feelings are the things that impact on us more than anything. So, I'm afraid I must begin with a caution, a warning, because if you were to read the following with an expectation of some kind of solution being offered on how to get rid of negative emotions, then you would have been misled, something I heartily want to avoid!

I trust it will already be clear, from the other writing and articles in this 'living book', that I think that someone who has become caught in ill-health should not do it alone, but rather be open to letting Nature find the way to help, ideally with the help of a person who knows how to work with the old ways of healing being 1) firstly do no harm, 2) treat the cause, and 3) support the healing force of Nature.

That said, many people need to go further, their personal healing journey includes matters in their emotional health that are beyond the ability of a substance or other person to help.

It is for these instances that the following has been written and let me again clarify my key point, which is that there are times when we must stop treating our negative feelings as enemies that we need to get rid of and that sometimes it can only be when we stop trying to push these feelings away and learn to accept them, however dark they may appear to be, that there can be a release, a healing process, or a transformation.

'What you resist, persists' Have you heard that saying before? Others have said the same thing, in different ways, as what I am saying here, because they saw how it works too. However, this way of healing is very counter-intuitive, especially when you first come to it. An agile, flexible intelligence, and a brave, open heart is needed to understand and use this approach.

That 'intelligence', that 'heart', could also be thought of as a kind of awareness that resides deep inside us, and there is a freedom within the point of that awareness. One that sees us standing, many times, at different kinds of crossroads in our lives, where we may have to experience things we don't want to feel but, we still have a choice on which road to take, whether to respond to these feelings as an enemy, with rejection, which is what we normally do, or to take a different road, one that is much less travelled, where we choose a strange kind of acceptance, and recognise these difficult feelings as our 'dark friends',

Rumi, the much-loved Sufi poet, conveys it like this

The Guesthouse

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

There is one further point must be clear before it can be of any value to go further. It is that, in the coming discussion, we are not looking to determine the 'why' there is fear, or fatigue, or loneliness, or anger, or any of the other words that convey the sense of these dark emotions.

To even begin to understand or use this approach, we must start with an acceptance that, whatever the reasons were, whatever the reasons are, they were good enough, they are good enough.

If you can grasp this point with two hands, then we can move forwards, because only when you can accept that you have good reason to feel the way you do can we then talk about 'now that these feelings are here, what do we do with them!'

In attempting to try this unusual path of making friends with dark feelings, we must not remain caught in the trap of justifying to ourselves, or others, whether we 'should' feel as we do. The time to be trying to do this kind of work is past that.

This is the approach that can help when a person is ready to acknowledge that one or more of their negative emotions are simply how they feel, all too often, all too much, and that all the attempts to get rid of these feelings, including attempting to deny their right to exist, have come to no avail.

Let me be abundantly clear about something here. I am a health practitioner who, like others, is dedicated to reducing suffering and the causes of suffering. The understanding in this writing is shared from 30 years (by 2018) of work with all kinds of people with all kinds of problems and there most certainly are many instances where there are practical, real-life solutions to be found for our suffering.

However, there are also times when, for reasons that are beyond any individual's ability to control, that there is a lasting, troubling experience of feelings which we turn out to be remarkably ill-equipped to deal with if our only solution is to try to get rid of them.

In these cases, and I can assure you that there are instances where this can occur in anyone's life, a better way forward is needed than mind-numbing drugs, or other forms of temporary escape.

A better way forwards is what is described here, as clearly as I possibly can, which is no small challenge when writing about something that can't really be understood by the rational mind. This approach is part of a very old, rather mysterious way, and the only way for it to be really understood is to actually do it and see for yourself that it works!

This is a deep subject; the words are only pointers; the practice is everything. You might want to start by looking at the words below and clicking on whichever of these resonate as being the ones you have personally been finding the hardest to deal with, and then start from there...


'Loneliness, Sadness, Loss

Where in your body do you most feel loneliness, or sadness, or loss? These emotions are felt deep under the surface, people put their hands to their heart, or their bellies, when they show where they feel them the most and they use words like, 'heavy', 'hard' or 'painful', to describe how they feel...

Of course, the words that we use to describe these feelings are not the thing itself, they are merely symbols, and there are other equally important symbols that represent similar feelings. Words such as 'betrayal', which might be thought to belong alongside anger, because it can generate a great deal of the 'fire' of that feeling too, but betrayal is a profound loss of trust, and it too is a feeling that pierces deep into the heart. And then there is grief, just a small word, but it can stand for such deep, hard feelings.

There is a powerful, physical reality to these feelings than words can never convey. If our body is the home, the house where we live, then these feelings are found in our most intimate place, the bedroom of our hearts. Maybe, if their 'ache' becomes muted, they might move to a nearby spare-room, or maybe they might tear through the whole place, as Rumi said above, 'like a crowd of sorrows, violently sweeping your house empty of its furniture'

Many people associate 'loneliness' with something that you get from being alone, and it can be, but it can be much more than that too. It is also just the solitary nature of feeling sad. 'Laugh, and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone'. One of the great challenges of these feelings is that, when a person is caught in a lasting experience of sadness, grief, loss or betrayal, they can become terribly isolated. No-one else can feel what they feel, other people can seem increasingly remote and unrelated, they feel alone within.

They may have other reasons to keep how they feel to themselves too. In today's world, if you express these feelings to others, then it won't take long for some people to start asking if you are depressed and recommending that you be put on drugs to stop you feeling sad. 'Depression' has become a very loaded word now, it has been medicalised as an 'illness' that is said to be the result of a chemical imbalance, despite there being zero evidence for this, and therefore one that must be treated chemically. We are already at the point of over 20% of our population taking prescription drugs to feel less of everything, including sadness, including joy.

There is another way, when a person stops treating their feelings as enemies but rather 'welcomes them at the door, and invites them in', there is a remarkable healing process that always then happens. You begin by simply feeling the physical reality of the presence of these difficult feelings, without judgement or condemnation, without trying to get rid of them, and the way unfolds from there...

Believe me when I say I understand that this is not an easy process. None of us want to feel bad, and when we open up to our sadness, or our loss, or our loneliness, or our betrayal, or our grief, we will initially feel things more intensely. People know this, they are often very careful to pick the time and place to let themselves even think about certain subjects because of it. They are well aware that there are painful emotions right there, under the surface, in their very hearts, and that they will feel worse if they open up, drop the shield, and let them in. Like I say, none of us want to feel bad, or worse...

The great challenge of this process is to trust that this opening up and being with our feelings will never lead us to becoming stuck in them but that there truly will be a healing, a letting go, and a getting better.

Not an easy thing that trust, not easy at all. When we are in suffering we can become utterly convinced that it is never going to get better. If you are ever with a person in your life, including yourself, who becomes sure that they will always be in pain, you must be sure to tell them, or yourself, one thing over and over again. It is that 'this will pass'. Sometimes it is the only lifeline that works, because it's true. Every old culture says the same thing, the pain will pass, time will heal, because it's true.

But do we have to wait for the long passage of time to heal wounds? Is there another way that we can open ourselves up to healing right here and now? Yes, certainly, so how do we begin?

In whatever way is right for you, with triggering off memories, with having the right conversations with the right person, with simply being with 'what is', open the door and welcome in whatever it is that you need to experience. It will feel more intense at first and this is the pivotal moment that your mind may tell you to look away, turn it off, stop. Hold on and keep going just a little longer. The increased intensity will pass, and the feelings will change, there will be a release.

All cultures from all ages have learned this and tried to share it in one way or another. It has long been understood that, so long as we don't get stuck in resistance, but we find a way to go through the process of grief, or sadness, or loss, or loneliness or betrayal, that there will be a healing, a 'letting go' that happens.

Then, something extraordinary happens because, when a person goes through this and comes out the other side, still here, still alive, there is something in the heart that opens up in a way that it could never have otherwise, for this dark friend brings a remarkable gift, that of an increased capacity for love.

These feelings, this 'dark friend' can show us the way into our own hearts. When we welcome it, even if our hearts hurt more at first, it will turn out that these were growing pains. There is a gateway, a living bridge, that runs directly from our hearts into something greater than our solitary selves. People that go through these experiences share how they are better able to connect to life, to others, to Nature itself.

Many EBs have a great deal of experience with loneliness, sadness and loss. Why is this? I can assure you that it is not because they seek it out. Good and close relationships are nearly always extremely important to EBs. A large part of the definition of their lives is usually in terms of how they experience being a partner, a friend, a father, mother, brother, sister etc. EBs usually have a tight inner circle. Those outside that circle might have no idea of how genuinely warm and sensitive the EB can be, those inside the circle know all about it.

It also should be understood that EB's have a great deal of innate sensitivity and thus can be especially sorely wounded by the slings and arrows of human relationships. Another factor can be that many EBs struggle to find people to relate to at a heartfelt level, they aren't content to live life on the surface and can become somewhat alienated by superficiality.

If, for you who are reading this, these experiences are ones that you personally struggle with, then I urge you not to fight against your own Nature. Let these feelings be your dark friend, they will show you the way to love, to connection, as surely as the feeling of loneliness itself is the song of the heart that calls out to be heard. Allow them to be within you without judgement, without criticism, welcome them to your inner circle and let them in, then see what happens...


'Anger, Frustration, Shame

Where in your body do you feel anger, or frustration, or shame? Of all the 'dark friends', these feelings are the most mercurial, the hardest to pin down or capture, the hardest to allow ourselves to simply feel without doing something to get rid of them. If our body was the home, the ' house' where we live, then these feelings are like an internal fire. They are hot, intense, prickly, they can feel profoundly uncomfortable, they may seem unbearably damaging.

If we can take the first essential step of simply acknowledging the existence of this internal 'fire', we might feel how it burns or smoulders right in our centre, our gut. It especially sits in the hottest organ of our body, our liver, though it can quickly flare up or out at any time and travel to our stomach, our throat, our head, our hands, our skin.

The words for this fire are not the thing itself, they are merely symbols for it, and there are other, equally important words or symbols too. For example, the burning feeling of 'guilt' is very like that of shame, more about that in a moment, or the word 'resentment' equally describes a painful, held-in fire, banked up and kept smouldering through remembrance of past hurts.

A thousand times more important than finding the right word for the fire is simply acknowledging the reality, the existence of it. Whatever we name it, whatever has caused it, this internal 'fire' is something that is both real and very hard to be with. In fact, because we don't know how to be with it, the ways we use to try to rid ourselves of this fire cause great harm to ourselves and others; serious burns, lasting damage.

The feeling of shame, or guilt, is one of the hardest 'fires' to be with. These feelings might at first seem like they shouldn't be put together with anger, but they most assuredly carry the same fiery, consuming energy, they just move differently. Next time you experience some shame, or guilt, notice how its prickly heat, its flame, rushes over you, how it needs to move, to go someplace else (anywhere else!) like a fire that has been turned inwards but still needs to find a way to escape.

There is always a reason for the 'fire' of these feelings. If they are there, there is a reason, and we usually try to get rid of whatever that reason is, which is ok and normal and even helpful right up to the point that it's not, which happens a lot.

In those instances, when the fire exists, and we can't get rid of it, and we don't know how to be with it, that it finds a way to grow, to burn something or someone, including ourselves. The energy of this fire is always seeking to change something, to move somewhere. It can never be wholly still or quiet even if it is kept well out of sight, which is something many people become most adept at doing...

The last time the vast majority of us were ever friends with this 'fire' was when we were very young, just 2 or 3 or 4 years old. We were shameless then, we did not know what guilt was, when we were hurt or angry we made a lot of noise about it and kept going until things changed and we felt better.

The power of such little children is something awesome to behold, but their ready 'fire' is seen as the enemy of an ordered society and a great battle is fought to control and suppress it. Especially in group situations, when the adult quickly takes control of the children by making them feel ashamed in front of others if they misbehave. Shame can burn a person, badly. The threat of it makes children very afraid and quickly teaches them to hold in their hurt and anger, or to take it out on others in a way that doesn't get then caught. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote 'what the slave fears most is more pain, what the free man fears most is shame'.

Assuming you will have cause to feel anger, or frustration, or resentment, or guilt, or shame, and certainly if any of these feelings have been a problem for you, then you will have plenty of opportunities to practice this, the first step is to simply recognise and acknowledge the presence of your 'fire' within, not to need to name it further, not to justify it or condemn it, not to try to get rid of it, just to feel for yourself the physical reality of its real, compelling, powerful presence.

Of course, this is extremely difficult, in the 'heat of the moment' we forget, we act out, we follow our early childhood conditioning from what we have seen others do, or what we have been programmed to do, and sometimes that is going to be entirely ok or even helpful!

Let me be 100% clear that I am not suggesting that you should not express yourself when someone or something has hurt you or upset you. There is a great deal to be said for being as open and honest as much as you possibly can with as many people as you possibly can. However, there will also be times when you are going to get angry, or when you already have resentments or guilt or other fiery feelings inside when there is nothing you can do or say that would do anything but make things worse, especially for you, so then what?

It is especially for when there is no healthy outlet, for when you need to be with that inner fire that you would attempt any of this kind of difficult 'work'. You would endeavour such a thing not to suppress the fire, not to control it, not to judge it or to condemn it, just to be fully aware of it, to understand it, to accept it for what it is, just then in that moment when you were experiencing it, nothing else, just being with it when it's there, that's all.

As soon as you do this, as you give it your awareness, it will change, and the most common initial change is that it will either move and/or seem to get stronger, to 'well up' in some way. This is to be expected and it is in that pivotal moment that we usually react to it with an increased compulsion to get rid of it. You will likely hear your mind telling you to stop, giving you any of a hundred reasons why you should let it burn someone or something else, or why you should stay in your head thinking about the causes of it and making plans to get rid of them, anything to not simply be with it, as it is, in the here and now...

If you can hold your awareness for just a moment longer, the feeling will keep changing, it won't stop, the increased intensity will soon pass, and you will be ok, you will still be here, you will be with your fire.

This fire is not our enemy. It is always there for a good reason, there may very well be things that need to change, that it will help us to change, but often this can only happen when we can learn how to channel it and this must begin with learning how to be with it without having to get rid of it. This fire is transformative. You will not lose your power by practicing how to simply be with it. You will not become the world's doormat, or it's policeman either,

The energy of fire brings the great gift of change, of transformation, without which all life, including evolution itself, peters out into a dead end. Just as the birth of the Universe itself was through the greatest heat and fire possible, and just as each star of the Universe is a collision of matter that makes a tremendous sustaining fire for all life to exist, so this same energy can help us find our own power, if only we stop treating it as the enemy and learn how to become friends with it.

EBs have a particular conundrum when it comes to this dark friend. Being cool by nature, along with having plenty of innate sensitivity, means they may be exceptionally uncomfortable around the fire of these emotions. For example, many EBs will turn themselves inside out and upside down to avoid conflict, or they can endlessly wrestle with the inner flame of guilt to no lasting avail...

And yet many EBs, going far into their life path, are in the midst of an internal transformation. They intuitively feel how they have a marvellously light, free, ' butterfly' within them, but they have to move through being like a caterpillar in a cocoon, a chrysalis, before they can get there (or back there).

If the EB constitution can learn how to get close to this 'dark friend', Learn how to be with the fire when it arises, allowing it to simply be, even for a few moments, without judgement, without condemnation, without feeling that they need to 'do' anything to get rid of it, then this fire within can light the way, strangely, unexpectedly, and powerfully, forwards.

If you who are reading this are an EB and you know that you have real problems with any of these feelings, then I urge you to stop thinking of them as your enemy and start learning how to be with them in a way that creates the change that you need in your life.

These words I have been writing above about how you might do this are not the thing itself any more than are the words we use to name (or shame) our inner fire, but we have to start somewhere. The only way to get any of this is to actually do it and, in this case, you will have to do it many times!

The conditioning to reject goes deep, the practice of acceptance will take time. But each time you stay with it, each time you allow it to be with you, without judgement or condemnation, without trying to get rid of it, that conditioning will be slowly but surely losing its stranglehold.

The prize for such an endeavour is worth the effort, for this dark friend brings the great and necessary gift of change and, starting with yourself, it can surely help you to be the change you want to see in the world.


'Tiredness, Fatigue, Defeat

Where in your body do you most feel your tiredness, your fatigue? If our body is the home, the house where we live, then our energy levels are our 'electricity', our internal 'power', and our experience of tiredness can range from a mild dimming of the lights all the way down to a complete black-out!

Compared to things like fear, anger or loneliness, can tiredness really be called an emotion? Yes, absolutely, emotions are feelings and words like tiredness describe experiences that we can feel deep in the being of our bodies. For many people, feelings of fatigue are the strongest, most insistent and most challenging experiences they get from one day to the next.

As for the word 'defeat', I do realise how problematic this is, none of us want to feel defeated, but this is to convey how overwhelming this feeling can become. Defeat is the experience that comes to us when we are so tired that we just can't fight anymore and, however strong our willpower or resistance might be, we are eventually forced to surrender to it.

So, where in your body do you most feel your tiredness? Most people think it's just everywhere, and they're not wrong, but when they open up to it, they usually say they feel it most in their heads, their brains. The brain is the most sensitive organ in the body, it reflects the presence of tiredness as soon as it arrives in its thinking, its ability to be alert, to focus, to remember things.

Tiredness is firstly felt in the brain however, if we don't fight it off with will-power or stimulants, if we open up to the physical reality of its presence, then we can feel it in our body as a heaviness, a 'dimming of the light'. The experience of this feeling becomes increasingly unpleasant when we try to get rid of it, even to the point of becoming literally painful...

Anyone who has ever cared for little children knows, if they keep fighting their tiredness, that they will get more and more unhappy and irrational until they become a torture to themselves and everyone around them. Adults are no different, we get more adept at fighting our tiredness but, when we resist it and try to get rid of it, when we treat it as an enemy, it makes us just as increasingly imbalanced, unhappy and unhealthy.

We were not born like this, in fact even before we were born we were perfect experts at completely relaxing and letting go into rest and sleep but, somewhere along the way, we forgot something fundamental; that tiredness is actually our friend, It shows us how to relax, how to fall asleep, how to feel good again...

As soon as we stop fighting against tiredness, and let it take us to where we need to go, it actually becomes an extremely pleasant feeling because this remarkable 'dark friend' shows us how to 'let go' and be at peace! If this sounds at all improbable, then you can prove the truth of it to yourself by noticing how good it feels when you are drifting off to sleep. In at least that moment, even if at no other time, you are letting the 'dark friend' of tiredness come into you without any resistance to it whatsoever. So, what does it then do? Not only does it completely stop hurting as soon as we stop fighting it, but it brings with it the great gift of peace! This friend makes us feel so good, so relaxed, and then it helps us repair and heal the causes of our fatigue.

Cogitating on these matters one fine day in the mountains, the following poem kind of just came to me and the whole idea of the 'dark friends' was born.

The Dark Friend

Tiredness is my friend
he shows me the way
when I would have just kept going,

Tiredness is my friend
he teaches me how to heal
when I would have done myself harm,

Tiredness is my friend, my dark friend
and when I just stop fighting him away
gives me the sweetness of peace,

For a great many of the EBs I meet in my work, it is this 'dark friend', more than any other, that gives them the hardest time and it is the experience of tiredness that they fight with and struggle against most bitterly. EBs have an innate stamina, an inner strength, which means they can keep going and going and which also means they can get to the very edge of fatigue, to the point of exhaustion, and still keep going. If you who are reading this have had this experience, then I don't need to spell out how hard that is, it's just incredibly difficult.

The farthest corner from the EB, that of 'fear', can be the darkest and hardest place of all for them to reach, but they can make tremendous strides towards getting there, and finding their inner peace, and regaining their physical and mental health, by first learning how to make friends with their tiredness. To stop fighting it off, however well they may be able to do it, and to let it in, like the excellent and faithful friend that it is. For nothing will help an EB more who has become too tense, too tired and too unwell, than to embrace and be guided by this true, dark friend.

Many EBs have gone too long and too far apart from this friend and will say that they just don't know how to relax or that they just can't catch a good night's sleep. If this is a problem for you who are reading this then the main thing I want to reinforce is a point already made above, namely that you are already an expert at relaxing, you just might have forgotten it!

Long before you were even born, you were supremely accomplished at one thing in particular, namely relaxing to the point of falling asleep! Sleep, releasing consciousness itself, is the ultimate letting go. The strongest drugs on earth are needed to make it happen against our will, and yet we can do it so easily, if we just let it happen.

The dark friend of tiredness shows us how to relax in exactly the same way as it shows us how to go to sleep. If at first you fall asleep every time you go to relax then great, you needed it! Eventually you won't need to sleep, the tiredness will still come, and it will still take you to where you need to go and the more you allow yourself to trust it, the deeper and easier it will be.

Making friends with tiredness or fatigue only ever feels like being defeated until we actually surrender to it, then the sweetest reward comes in its place because the great gift, the treasure, that this dark friend brings, is peace itself.


'Fear, Anxiety, Worry

We all have our worries or anxieties, small or great, we can see them in our lives or hear them in our minds, but there is also a much deeper layer of feeling that exists within us, as it does in all living things, and that is our fear.

If our body is the home, the house where we live, then our immediately available, 'reactive' fears exist in our 'water', our plumbing, our blood, ready to travel to every part of us at a moment's notice. Underlying this, our 'primal' instinctive fear lurks deep in the basement, low in our bellies, down near the base of our spines, out of sight, usually out of mind.

When fear comes out in its acute state we use words like panic-stricken, terrified, horrified. When it moves around us in its more ongoing, chronic state we use words like anxiety, worry, stress or tension. Whatever we call it, naming it is only useful up to a point. A thousand times more important is recognising its existence, not denying that it's there, then learning how to face it, work with it, be with it.

Can you recognise and feel any of it within you now, where it is and how it feels? Take a moment to feel where you are most tense in your body, that is most likely where at least some of it will be. For many of us, this feeling is the hardest of all to be with. It can be so profoundly uncomfortable that we do everything that we can to get rid of it, but we just can't. Our fear is an essential part of us, it is in our DNA, our wiring, without it we would never have evolved or survived, we can't get rid of it, but we can be ok with it...

There is another tough subject, related to this one, that I want to mention here too, it is about pain. Just as all living organisms must be able to experience fear in order to avoid danger and survive, so all creatures must be able to experience pain if they will learn how to avoid harm and survive. Pain and fear have been extremely close companions throughout the history and evolution of all life, they often come together, they are often found together.

If you who are reading this have any kind of problem that involves chronic pain, then you already know that the hardest part of it to deal with can be the fear that comes with it. Fear that the pain won't stop, that it will get worse, that it will become too much to bear.

The approach that is talked about here, about being with the fear rather than trying to get rid of it, can be just as applicable to being with pain from which there is no immediate escape. I realise that this is never a place a person comes to lightly and that this would only be a subject of relevance to someone who had already been on a long, hard journey where there had been numerous and unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the pain. At such a point, all theory aside, all that matters is that what you do actually works, and here I can say that I, and many others who have worked with people who have chronic pain and are no longer able to, or are choosing not to, use drugs against it, can 100% assure you that this approach very much does work; with practice, with time, and with courage. There is an audio commentary on the music and relaxation page called 'relaxing with pain' that goes into this in more depth.

Back to the core subject, which in the modern world, instead of using the raw, harsh word of 'fear' to describe, we usually express our experiencing of it in excess by using more easily accepted words like worry, or anxiety.

Some amount of worry is normal, necessary and healthy for anyone that has any kind of responsibilities but worry that becomes incessant, circular and unnecessary is fuelled by the presence of much deeper down tensions. Ceaselessly worrying keeps the feeling of fear up in our heads, where we can see it, where we can keep going around and around it with such endless questions as 'what-if?'

Anxiety can, like depression, be a highly loaded word depending on who you tell it to, because many people will treat it as something that should be medicated or got rid of. Anxiety describes a state that includes both the mind and body. It permeates into our thoughts and perceptions, but it can also be recognised as creating deeply uncomfortable physical experiences at the same time.

Worry and anxiety are a huge challenge for a great many people. If this is true for you, then keep reading this section to see where I am going with it all but later, or whenever it suits, read the article on this site dedicated to anxiety where, for example, I talk about how to channel worry in a positive direction and share my experience in using certain herbs, ones that have been tested by a city-wide natural disaster and have proven themselves to help beyond any possible doubt, that page is here

Coming back to the experience, the physical reality, of the feeling behind the words. Certainly, they can be very hard feelings to be with, but are they so common to us all that they can be understood by all of us? Yes, most certainly. The experience of fear, in all its many words and forms, could be called a universal experience. There is a tightness to it, an edge, a grabbing, holding, tensioning effect on the spine, the gut, the chest, the neck, the hands, the heart, the lungs and, of course, the head. If we go deep down into the murky depths of it, we can feel it in the base of our spines, or the pit of our stomach.

How in the world could such a feeling be called a friend? This is a hard matter to understand, it is not the unpleasant experience of it that is the friend, of course not, it is how it can help us get to a different place, a safe place, like a guide showing us the way, that is its gift.

So how do you make friends with fear? How do you face your fears, be with them without trying to get rid of them? The first step is the hardest step because, when you start, at first you may feel the fear more strongly and that, right there, is the great obstacle to any person who takes this approach because as soon as that increased intensity happens, our minds want to instantly redouble their efforts to try to get rid of the fear!

The 'getting worse before it gets better' happens because we are giving it our awareness. It was already very much there anyway, but it feels stronger because now we are giving it our attention instead of blocking it out or turning it into worry.

The best way to understand any of this is to experience it for yourself and you don't need to delve into any great, deep fears to do it. In fact, there is a strong argument for practicing this approach with the much smaller stuff so that, when the big stuff does arise, you will know what to do and will know that it works.

Just feel for yourself where you are especially holding tension in your body. That tension will already be there, it will show you exactly where it is and what it is when you look with a quiet mind and an open heart. All the same feelings we are talking about here are perfectly demonstrated by the tightness and constriction of long-held tension.

Allow yourself to fully feel that tension, just be with it, give it your attention without any need to name it, analyse it, judge it or condemn it. Just be with it, let yourself feel it fully. Then yes, you will almost certainly experience an initial increase in its intensity. This is the pivotal point where it is so vital to understand the key to all of this, that you will get nowhere good by keeping trying to get rid of it, that the way for healing is to just be with it, to accept it, to welcome it in.

There will typically be an increase and then it will shift or change. Maybe it will travel to a different part of your body, maybe certain thoughts or other feelings will come up as you allow it in. Whatever happens go with the process, don't try to stop it or control it. As you do this, there is a transformation that will happen, maybe quickly, maybe piece by tiny piece, but in time this 'dark friend' will guide you to where you need to go, a place where there is no need for fear, where you can feel safe, and relaxed.

By being with this instinctive, natural, presence, the whole being, the mind and the body, becomes aware that, in just this moment right now, there is no action that needs to be taken. That it is possible to relax and let go right now, not in the future, which is an unknown and rather scary place to contemplate, with never any peace in it, but just right now, which is the only moment that peace can ever be experienced.

Then this 'friend' will have revealed its true nature, because except for when we are in actual physical danger, it is not there to scare us, nothing of the sort. It is there to protect and serve us, to keep us safe, to help us live and live long! When we learn to embrace it, not to try to think it off or drug it down, it brings us the great gift of courage, which is to be in the world without fear of the future, to be in the here and now, alive, alert and awake.

Of course, this is universal to all constitutions, but EBs may be particularly troubled by their fears and anxieties and there is no easy or lasting solution for it. As soon as they find security in one area of their lives, the worries can pop up somewhere else.

So how can an EB make friends with their fear? I think that the first step is the same as the last step, it is the path of acceptance. Not to try to fix the fear, not to try to get rid of it, not to judge it or condemn it, but to understand it, and accept it.

When we come to be on good terms with this intense energy, it can give us a truly great gift, which is courage, which is not the end of fear, it is the being with it, like a friend.


~ Tigers: Hotter & Damper

~ Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

~ Elephant/Butterfly: Cooler & Dryer

~ Bears: Cooler & Damper

~ Back to Constitutional Medicine Introduction

~ Working out your Constitution

~ Origins & Adaptations of Constitutional Medicine

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd