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Suggestions welcomed for ways to work on feeling trapped...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BloodMoon, May 31, 2020.

  1. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    I have been doing some 'shadow' work and have discovered that an underlying theme throughout my life has been, and still is, the feeling of being trapped by circumstances. Intellectually, I don't think I necessarily/really believe that the grass is, or will be, greener on the other side of the fence (although there are some aspects of my life that I would dearly love to change - which would definitely be better for me psychologically - but, for one reason or another, it's truly impossible to change them) however I do seem to be the kind of person who needs to move on - or at least know that I am in the position to be able to change things and move on if and when I want or need to. I'm in my 60s, so the opportunities for change, variety etc., are sorely limited due to a host of things to include finances, commitment to others and other responsibilities. I would be grateful if anyone could suggest ways I can work on the feeling of being trapped - book recommendations about exploring this theme would be particularly welcome.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is a great observation of a HUGE rage maker. Personal Freedom is a HUGE thing for everyone.

    But, what to do with ourselves when we find it as a source of rage for us?.. This is important for TMS recovery.

    I always have found that my connection to God has a lot to do with that feeling. It is always my EGO that is saying "This shouldn't be happening...what SHOULD be happening is ______" (fill in blank)

    . I made a conscious decision at one point in my life to turn it over to the care of God. That means he is the director of the show and I am just an actor. When I made this decision I had a powerful inner change....but like a lot of changes, the intensity seemed to wear off after a few months. Yesterdays spiritual experience does NOTHING for me today. I am angry I am in traffic again... or stuck with my silly Girlfriend....or trapped working for so and so, doing a crappy such and such...etc.

    Then I remember the decision I made and I go "Oh... this isn't my deal anymore. I handed over the reigns to something much larger than myself". This is not just an intellectual exercise.I have to sit and reflect and let it soak in (like the stuff we learned from Sarno). Then I also remember this isn't MY life. It was given to me... I GET to be here. It is not a prison sentence, it is a gift....and then that 'trapped' feeling goes away, cause this is just a big blue marble lost somewhere in a far flung leg of the milky way galaxy and I am on a ride, like at a theme park, only better cause it's real.

    In fact, the whole concept of MY life is at the core of feeling trapped and at odds with every spiritual teaching in the world.

    Eckhart Tolle outlines this phenomenon in much better terms than I, and is worth a look. All of his books describe this phenomenon of which you speak and it is cited as the fundamental 'un-ease' that plagues all people.

    ...and it is the core of the ego. So congratulations! You've made it. It doesn't get any deeper. Now you get to decide.

    Us 12 step people quote a piece of our book "God is either everything, or Nothing...which one will we choose?"

    If you choose The former, it means you are right where you were supposed to be and that niggling voice telling you that something should be different than the way it is, IS the lie, Satan,the accuser, the original sin, maya, dukkha,etc....every culture has a name for it.

    If you choose the latter, Then I am stuck in Hell, and I need to think my way out like I have so many times before...oh wait, I never have. My mind is the problem. It is the chief of police trying to find the arsonist, who is the chief of police. -John Sarno

    we are living in a metaphor of a metaphor of a metaphor in a hall of mirrors. No point trying to figure out which image is real... grab one and enjoy it! Pick one you like that makes sense.

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  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you @Baseball65.
    With the above you have summed up in a succinct, wholly memorable, easily accessible way what Michael Singer took a whole book to say (in 'The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself"). It was a book that 'spoke' to me when I read it, but lost its impact on me as the days went on (I guess something like the way your spiritual experience meant 'nothing' to you the next day as you navigated the awful traffic etc.). This view of life does indeed make the 'trapped' feeling go away!

    And, you've hit the nail on the head, a sense of 'un-ease' is what I feel - every day. I shall revisit Tolle's 'The Power of Now". I tried to read it some years back, but somehow it didn't hit home - I guess I just wasn't ready.

    Could you explain/expand on this some more? I think I know what you're saying here, but I'm not too sure.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
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  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    The pain of TMS is a metaphor and reflection of the lies in our lives and beliefs. I can start anywhere in my confusion and grab a lie and strangle it until it gives me directions towards the truth. All lies are pathways to the truth so any lie is a good place to move toward awakening. The more direct my pathway through the lie, the faster and more profound my freedom becomes...and that means relief from ALL pain.

    I had them regarding: Who I was, My Roles, Personal relationships and beliefs about the world.

    I did not have to be 'good'... just stop believing my own foolishness about stuff... I also became less sentimental and emotional because a lot of that was tied up in lies. Incorrect beliefs that I wanted to believe. One might argue that Sarno's work is 'red pill' and they would not be far from the truth. You take the red pill, you get to see how the world really is, though it might be ugly, your pain goes away.
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  5. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    This certainly got the cogs whirring in my head, @Baseball65. Thank you for explaining.

    I believe I took the 'red pill' many years ago and, although I still saw what's good in the world, I also especially saw the ugliness in it. I'm in my early 60s and since childhood (probably from the age of 7 or 8) I've had binge eating disorder (BED) and then TMS (looking back, I think my first TMS symptoms appeared in my early 20s). The perceived wisdom is that when you have BED you're mentally running away from life and feelings, but I am aware of my feelings and actually do allow myself to feel them (but, despite this, I still have an underlying sense of 'un-ease'). Also, with any problems in my life, I face them and tackle them head on. (People have told me so often that they think of me as being a 'realist' and have pointed out that I don't sweep things under the carpet.) Nevertheless, although much improved in recent years, my BED is a habit that I don't seem to be able to shake and TMS is a habit that my mind/brain won't let go of either. It's a conundrum about myself that I haven't been able to fathom out and find a 'road map' out of.

    Since writing my comments above (about my having taken the 'red pill') I've kept re-reading your original reply and then suddenly - BINGO! - the above resonated with me and I realised a truth - I DO FAR TOO MUCH THINKING! - too much analysing, too much trying to work out how I can change things that I don't like (which are probably things that cannot be changed and in trying to work out how to change them, I'm not accepting that I cannot change them - cue the Serenity Prayer). Eckhart Tolle (many thanks for re-introducing me to him) said, "What you fight, you strengthen" and Carl Jung apparently said, "Nothing inhibits feeling like thinking". With regard to the latter - yes, I do feel a lot of my emotions - but I need to stop 'living in my head' and then I'm liable to feel much more than I do now. Also, I believe there's been some research (I can't remember where I read it) that's showed that, rather than keep on thinking about a problem to try to garner a solution, if there is actually a solution/way around things, it'll be more likely to pop up in to your mind while you're doing something else.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Eckhart on Einstein... the inspiration or thoughts behind his idea's didn't come from forceful thinking , but rather in brief moments of intuition that were free of thought.

    That is why there is so much Hell on earth...people cannot liberate themselves with thought... that is like using rope and chains to find your way to freedom. That is why "ism's" and grievance narratives are never solved. The problem isn't 'out there' it is 'in here'.

    "I think therefore I am" or the 'cartesian error' as many call it is at the root of all discontent and disease.

    "I think therefore I suffer" would be more true for me... when I stop thinking and start acting and being, THEN "I am" and everything gets OK...instantly. The carpenter spoke of this and pointed at it, but nobody got it.. not even his own disciples.

    Remember, in the gospel of John. Before Abraham was, "I AM"? Being is primary. Thinking is hellish.

    People who are proud of their intellect are like convicts bragging about the spaciousness of their prison cells -RaM Dass
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  7. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I'm with you on all of this, too. Nice exchange here between you and Baseball. I'm dealing with all the same sorts of things (as a THINKING person in his early sixties.)
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  8. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Helpful. (And funny.) I've gone so much of my life reading to accrue and compile enough information to some come into a satisfactory answer to understanding my place in the world, to feeling secure in knowing myself. But there's no end to it. A hundred books. A thousand books. As they say on the New England coast, "You can't get there from here." Following this exchange, I'm seeing how attached I am to controlling, feeling responsible for my show. I, too, have "seen the light" and often forget all about it. I do feel intensely responsible for fixing MY life...Maybe that's why I'm feeling lost in all of this, not able to see the edges of my pain.
  9. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    ...and you don't need to do that. To be able to see or understand it all .If that was a requisite, I would still be in pain. There was definitely a sharp learning curve at the start, but the new 'aha's' are spread out a little more evenly now. The most important thing for me is knowing that there is always more to learn, and that, God willing, I will keep on being open to learning it.

    I love starting sentences with "When I grow up.....". There is always something I don't know in every aspect of everything, Some deeper or truer understanding. I am not responsible for getting all of it right now...just as much as I can stand.

    That Knowledge kept me relatively pain free during a disastrous marriage, an abusive relationship and jobs and tasks that were less than savory out in front of me. I had a relapse and drank myself homeless, but no pain. The only consistent truth has been, Whenever I have pain or ongoing symptoms of something, It will always be fixed inside. Inside precedes outside. That knowledge is the simple KEY to staying out of TMS's clutches.
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  10. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you for your responses @Baseball65 and @Northwood. I want to reply and make comment, but I've suddenly come down with a high temperature; I feel like **** and can't think straight. Am hoping it's not covid-19 but, if it is, that I'll be lucky and it will be mild. Will respond properly when I feel better.
  11. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Reflecting this evening on this thread. Baseball's observation here expresses a shift in focus that I'm trying to create for myself. Discovering my own way into what "acting and being" is, living into it--that's the current work. I've come round to meditation again as a way to sit quietly and watch my brain go at it. I see the value in doing this work (or "practice," as they call it) in a new way. The stakes are higher, seeing what "monkey mind" does to the later-life soul. I see that more clearly. And then Baseball's later comment about learning as an open-ended project as opposed to the one-true-means to the one-true-end, that view takes the folly and hubris out of knowing. There's a peacefulness in that sort relationship with knowing, with learning, a settling back, that reminds me of a favorite Tennessee Williams quote from an older character who is done with a certain kind of fighting: "All of my life I been like a doubled-up fist...Poundin', smashin', drivin'--now I'm going to loosen up these doubled up hands and touch things easy with them." Other reading I did recently reminds me that the days aren't often marked with huge progress but over time all the little bits of this work accumulate. It's building, showing up to build an attitude, a way of looking at things--of "acting and being" and eventually, bit by bit, winding up in thick of it. The earlier comment about being an "actor" is helpful. I sure as hell ain't writing/directing/producing the universe. What a relief. Let me just trust a bit in the insights of those carpenter types.
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  12. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't know if you're anything like me, but I've noticed that my thinking can be quite negative. One thought, particularly a negative thought, can lead on to another and then another and another and so on. I believe Eckhart Tolle said something along the lines of that thinking is like a dog following a scent...before you know it the dog has followed so many different scents, it's miles away, down the end of a big field taking no notice of its owner calling it back.

    In the light of this, I came across an advice-giving extract (pasted below) from "Stop Thinking, Start Living: Discover Lifelong Happiness" by Richard Carlson, which I'm going to follow in combination with some of the suggestions made in "Solve for happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy" by Mo Gawdat (which I mention in my posting in reply to you on this thread https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/if-you-are-reading-this-you-are-going-to-die.22926/ (If you are reading this, You are going to die)) :

    "You will need a large index card on which you should write ‘What am I thinking now?’ Write these words in big, bold letters and carry the card with you everywhere you go for at least one month. As often as possible, every few minutes if you can, look at the card. I know it sounds tedious and even childish – in some ways it is – but it works!

    Many people are frightened of what will happen if they stop thinking negatively, because they are used to it. What will you think instead? The answer to this question is very simple: it doesn’t matter. This is not a glib answer. As you catch yourself thinking negatively, and consciously set out to stop doing it, you will find that your mind will be much clearer and freer than it ever has been before. More creative thoughts will naturally replace the old ones. You will be a much more dynamic person. You will seem fresh and new, inspired and uplifted. The last thing in the world you will have to worry about is not having enough to think about! The only word to describe what will happen to you if you stop thinking negatively is amazing. In the absence of negative thinking you will feel like a new person. Your healthy functioning will take over your life. Your thoughts will be different, your attitude will be different, and most of all, the way you feel will be different. You will feel good again. There is simply no way to feel bad if you aren’t thinking bad and if you are in control of what you are thinking. Before you go on reading, try it right now. Let your thoughts flow. If any form of negativity enters your mind, let it pass by. Don’t give it the time of day. Remain uninterested in the negativity."

    Also, fellow forum member @miffybunny recovered from TMS (if my memory serves me correctly, she has described her symptoms/pain as having been like 'fibromyalgia on steroids') by doing something very similar to the above. I hope miffy won't mind me sharing, but I collated some of her postings to give me encouragement, as follows:

    "It's tension that you are generating on a daily basis from your thoughts. Our chronic negative habitual thought patterns cause inner tension which in turn causes muscle tension. If you become aware of those thought patterns and practice consistently changing them and shifting focus, you disable the pain strategy in a sense.

    I had to start becoming aware of a lot of these automatic thoughts I was generating and then I had to catch myself in them. Then I would allow any feeling to arise...if a feeling did come up, I looked at it without judgment, I felt it for about a minute and then I would reach for a better feeling thought. Then I would go about whatever I had been doing and I would shift focus from the physical sensations to my actual life. This took a ton of practice and patience until it became natural and almost automatic. I always compare it to playing a new song on the piano...repetition and practice. Boring and banal but eventually it pays off until I can play the song where it flows...It is daunting knowing that it's all on you to heal, but it's also so empowering and such a relief not to be caught up on the merry go round of the medical mill and endless waiting room visits, and exhaustive searching and rehashing and feeling like a victim.

    I totally had this [butt clenching]! It was one of my many TMS manifestations and I had lower back pain as well. I even had injections in the buttocks which looking back was so ridiculous!! It's just that you are generating inner tension every day with your chronic negative thoughts. As soon as you relax and let go and just handle the emotions without judgment, the clenching stops. I was able to overcome this issue pretty easily. It's very straightforward if you think about it. Become aware of your negative thought patterns that are generating the inner tension, then deal with them and remind yourself emotions are safe and then just go about living your life and not caring about the clenching. Become indifferent to it because you know what it is.

    Just want to add one more thing: There is no "right" way to do this...no secret recipe or formula. It's a shift in mindset and the tools, modalities, duration and trajectory is different for each person. It's not about "trying harder", "reading more", spending hours researching or journaling. It is soooo much simpler and banal than that. It's calming down with the knowledge you have, practicing the changes you need to make and having some patience. That's it in a nutshell.

    Changing our chronic negative thought patterns is equally as important as allowing ourselves to feel emotions and knowing that emotions are safe. All of our physical symptoms are a direct result of how we think and how we are being in that moment. Our bodies are a direct extension of our thoughts. So the first step is becoming aware. The second step is to start creating new "stories" in our heads and more open thought patterns.

    Rather than trying to do a 180 from the habitual negative thought loop, redirect to thoughts that generate a feeling of relief....better feeling thoughts like: "I know what this is...these pain sensations are just a signal for me to pay attention to what I'm feeling. Am I feeling anger or resentment about the past? (something that happened earlier today?) or am I worrying about the future? (something to do with work or relationships or finances?). Realize that you are generating tension with these past and future thought loops. What these thought patterns do is cause us to repress negative emotions which then get stuck as energy in the body. Feel the emotion and then begin the work of changing the thoughts in order to get unstuck. So where to start? I suggest focus on breathing and bring yourself to the PRESENT moment first. Then think of things that provide relief like "I am clearing out these old thought patterns and I'm going to handle whatever comes. I am doing my best and I'm going to do something I enjoy or that brings me meaning". At this point you resume the activity you were doing before you got distracted or you act on something you need to do (like tell someone how you felt when they did xyz or tell someone what you need from them, or do that thing you were afraid to do, or resolve to do whatever scary thing is looming in your future and tell yourself you will handle it when the time comes. Whatever happens you will handle it.). So it's: awareness, feeling the emotion, redirecting the thought to a better feeling thought, and finally putting the new thought into action (or just going about your day).

    Reversing TMS is a gradual process of cleaning out old rubbish thought patterns. The more consistently you do it, the more it becomes automatic. It's exactly like learning how to play a new song on the piano. This is how I did it with patience and practice, practice, practice. It is slow going in the beginning but then you build momentum over time and it becomes almost like breathing. This is how the pain strategy gets reversed over time. Always stay in the present moment (TMS lives in the past and future) and maintain an attitude of indifference to the TMS. Don't make it this big huge deal, because it's NOT. It's only a big deal in our mind but in actuality it's like the little guy behind the curtain in "The Wizard of Oz" with a microphone. Pull the curtain back and see it for what it is. It's just you...scared. Our thoughts really do create our reality. Give up the fight with the TMS. There is nothing to fear or fight anymore."
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  13. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so profound! I've printed it off and keep re-reading it. Thinking IS hellish. "I think therefore I suffer" is definitely true for me too. I'm now doing less of it and have started acting and being. Thank you @Baseball65.
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  14. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Blood moon, I am so glad you are feeling better! You put together some fantastic help for us, thank you, Lizzy
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  15. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Negative thinking. Yes, definitely. So easy to get overwhelmed, have pain return, and fall straight down into negative thinking, forwards and backwards. I like what you posted from miffybunny, as well as the Carlson strategy. Reminds me of people who tend to daydream when studying and so wear a rubber band on their wrist, which they snap each time their minds drift off topic. I'll bookmark this and consider giving it a try at some point. Thanks a lot!
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