For example, if you were someone like me who suffered a loss of a parent at an early age, you might adopt coping mechanisms like mine: I would avoid at all costs any situations which would remind me of my father’s death. I would not attend funerals, would not discuss him, would not spend any serious amount of time in the town where I grew up, etc., etc. I moved to another country, lived an entirely “different life” and yet, the pain I felt around his death remained with me. My coping approach dealt with the symptoms by keeping me away from that pain, but never actually resolved anything. I dove into the business world and became a workaholic, studying business techniques and eventually running two companies simultaneously. I was distracted, yes, but the pain was always there, waiting for the day when I would finally face it and release it.
When I retired from running companies, I entered into the world of personal development and tried out many, many of the standard coping mechanisms available – I spent countless hours using my large collection of relaxation and affirmation recordings, attended numerous workshops on everything from hypnosis to meditation to communication skills to living from the heart, went on inner quests, etc., etc. I learned all kinds of ways to temporarily get myself into a better state of being or feeling, but soon it would be obvious that the pain was still present, waiting for me. In reality, these techniques are all good ways to cope better with what life throws at us, much like talk therapy can potentially teach us. But, bottom line, the pain was still there.
When I finally found myself in a situation where it felt somewhat safe to dip my toe into the pain, I knew I had to finally do something serious about it. 20 years of denial and avoidance and another five years of intense study of even better comping techniques was enough. Still with the results orientation I had cultivates as a businessman, I set out to find a way to release the pain, set it and myself free. I did not need to seek out any more band-aids – it was clear that that approach was not effective nor cost-effective. I needed something that would help me, once and for all, release the pain I held over my father’s death years earlier.
The funny thing about what I have discovered on this quest is that the answer is incredibly simple and yet missed by so many due to a natural feature of humans – we avoid pain. This pain avoidance means that we look for the sugar coated pill that will magically dissolve our ills and pains, without our suffering. It can also be likened to wanting to win the life lottery – all our pains and tribulations dissolved away without our having to do much of anything. Given the constant influx of the latest and greatest coping tools (new meditations discovered by some guru in some distant land, new mind tricks we can use to cover our internal cow patties of pain with better whipped cream, more and better magical thinking involving aliens, ancient lands or dolphins, etc.) it is nor surprising that we get perplexed as to why they are not helping us beyond some minor pain alleviation.