I’ve got a song playing in my head. I was listening to a playlist that I had not heard in a while. I had the ipod on shuffle which provided some nice surprises, one of which was a Mariah Carey song that Carly Smithson performed marvelously on American Idol in 2008.
For days afterward, “I Can’t Live Without You” was on instant replay in the jukebox inside my head. Even though I love the song and Carly’s voice, I hated that particular line. To say that I can’t live without someone feels very codependent and needy.
I kept trying to stop hearing the song, but that effort was futile. In fact, it seemed to make it worse. So, I stopped resisting and decided to have a dialog with myself.
“You don’t like that line in the song, so why do you keep repeating it?”
Immediately I heard my inner voice say, “Fear of dying.”
Interesting. I continued with the dialogue. “Are you afraid of how it will feel to die?”
“Yes, and I’m afraid that I will not be in a safe and happy place after I leave this body. What if everything I believe is not true and I end up in hell after all?”
Big insight. Thanks to my religious upbringing, my inner child was having a moment of insecurity. “You feel the presence of your family of light and interact with them all the time. You know they are real and they will be there waiting for you on the other side.”
“It’s hard to surrender to the unknown.”
“I understand. How can I help you feel safe?”
“Help me trust you, higher self (Buddha), to keep me safe always—even if I face death. Help me trust the path that I am on and have faith that it will continue to bring me bliss both now and in the afterlife. Help me believe that my community and tribe really love me. Help me live in a way that suffering does not consume me.”
“Love will find a way,” I assured her. “All is well.” I smiled and took a deep breath, sending love to the part of my psyche that still holds memories of those hell and brimstone sermons I heard as a child and young adult. The smile breath works every time to help me calm down my mental anguish. Learn more in the class about using the smile-breath technique.
The song stopped. Instantly. Completely. My body relaxed.
Wow! I would’ve missed that profound insight if I had continued to allow the repeated phrase to annoy me rather than pausing for a moment to hear the personal message underneath it. Is there a song playing in your mental jukebox? What message does it have for you?
The following is a quote found on 193 (Kindle) of Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach:
“If we are waiting only for our fear to end we will not discover the pure and loving presence that unfolds as we surrender into the darkest of nights. Only by letting go into the stream of life and loss and death do we come in to this freedom.
Facing fear is a life long training in letting go of all we cling to–it is a training in how to die. We practice as we face our many daily fears–anxiety about performing well, insecurity around certain people, worries about our children, about our finances, about letting down people we love. Our capacity to meet the ongoing losses in life with radical acceptance grows with practice. In time we find that we can indeed handle fear, including that deepest fear of losing life itself.”
What’s suffering is going on in your mind? Are you afraid of death? Do you have turmoil in your mind or emotions now? Read more about mental suffering.
I invite you to stop for a moment and get in touch with that part of yourself. Without offering any judgment, ask questions and listen for answers.
Feel free to share your insight here.