A challenge, crisis or a loss, can be an energetic gateway to soul level transformation. It may trigger an unresolved emotional pain that we
haven’t fully healed. This kind of pain may seem to come out of the blue; yet, know that it has been buried in your subconscious and held in your body for years. Even when you think you have worked through a loss or traumatic experience; the subtle layers of pain may surface for healing when you least expect it. Without full release, however, this psychic pain can create chronic distress that can manifest as depression, anxiety, or physical illness. Only when such pain is released and then, transmuted into positive energy can we bring about self-healing.
Releasing emotional pain breaks open your heart, so at first you feel “broken-hearted.” Yet, you can’t release such pain with your mind by trying to “just get over it.” As painful as it may feel, breaking open is how you break through to who you are at soul level. Like stripping away layers of paint to reveal handcrafted woodwork, you peel away the layers of unhealed parts of yourself to reveal the divine essence that lies within.
By leaning in to your “sweet pain,” you initiate the life-death-rebirth cycle. In other words, you move through a form of experiential death. This metaphorical death allows you to liberate yourself from your past and transmute your pain into transformation. This only happens in the healing space of your heart, the seat of your loving, compassionate self.
Experiential death creates a shift in your consciousness, much like the experience of dying and physically detaching from the body. Such a shift can be frightening or disorienting, especially when the brain reacts to the act of letting go as a threat to life, and triggers symptoms like anxiety, heart palpitations, and lightheadedness. But even in experiential death, what really dies is your past experiences, not your true being. When you clear your past at the soul level, it actually becomes a “past life;” yet, you remain in the same body. In fact, when you let go of your old, painful self-definitions, your soul energy rises from the ashes like the phoenix—the mythical creature of purification and transformation.
As the Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön states, “To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.” Seeing these life-death-rebirth cycles, as spiritual beginnings rather than endings teaches us how to fully live. Just as we know light through darkness, so can we know life through death.
Here are four steps to practicing spiritual alchemy and transmuting your pain into soul level transformation:
1.Create a sacred space for healing past trauma: Set up a safe and nurturing environment where you can fully embrace the unhealed parts of yourself. Meditate, sit in a garden, stare out a window, take a walk-in nature, or write in a journal. Set aside time to be alone in a quiet place at the beginning and end of each day. Then, gradually increase this time with yourself. Be with your pain, anxiety, or discomfort like an old friend who has come to visit.
Notice when you feel unsettled, restless, or irritable. These physical or emotional cues are part of your spiritual guidance system and they alert you to underlying trauma or pain that needs to be released. Take a moment and do a quick body scan and notice where your body is holding tension and tightness. Begin at the top of your head and move slowly down to your feet noticing where you are holding any tension. What is the energy in your body telling you? Ask your body what you are holding onto? Write about your experience in your journal.
2.Lean in and stay with your emotional pain until it fully releases. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and drop into your heart space. Stay here until you feel your pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your inner self-talk and notice what feelings they trigger. As your feelings surface, you may feel restless and want to run away or distract from them. That’s ok. Try to remain in your healing space as long as you can, surrendering to your feelings. Bring awareness to your feelings and what they are telling you.
Practice deep, slow, intentional breathing for release: As you inhale, breathe in love of yourself, and as you exhale, breathe out fear. Fill your heart with gratitude for who you are and the feelings that have surfaced right now. Do this until your breath is rhythmic, and you feel calm and centered. With deep breaths, you draw more oxygen into your body which helps you stay calm while your feelings surface. If this experience gets too intense, take a break, and come back to it later. But, make sure you come back to it at some later time.
3.Have a sacred chat with your pain or discomfort: Here are a few journal prompts to jump start your sacred chat: What is the root of your discomfort? What unhealed part of you is being revealed? What is your fear or pain showing you about yourself or your life? Go deeper into your heart space and allow yourself to reveal more. What deep-seated emotional patterns—especially fear, worthlessness, and insecurity are there? What is the origin of these patterns?
When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath and your heart. Be aware of what sensations you’re feeling in your body and where they’re located. Breathe in love and direct it to the parts of your body that feel tight and holding onto pain. Pay attention to what feelings come up in this space. Accept yourself and your feelings with loving kindness as you would with someone you love. Gently coach yourself by saying, open and let go, or bless and release.
4.Repeat these affirmations to remind you of your strength and courage: “I embrace my tender places in loving compassion as I release them. I have the strength and courage to let go of anything in my life. I lean into my vulnerable pain and discover love in its place. I trust that I can handle and heal any unresolved trauma. I allow my emotions to surface so I can feel and heal them with love I bless and release anyone or anything that blocks the flow of love. I transmute each layer of my unhealed pain to reveal my inner being.”