When I first started sharing about the power of meditation, I used to type medication by mistake. The difference is only one letter. But meditation is medication for the soul. : )
When we feel emotional or spiritual pain, we can choose to medicate (seek relief outside of ourselves, or meditate (seek peace and wholeness connecting our spirit to God’s Spirit within). That’s why I say that joy is an inside job. Until we heal and let go, we can’t be truly effective in our lives.
One of my favorite teachers, Henri Nouwen, wrote: “Many people suffer because of the false supposition that there should be no fear or loneliness, no confusion or doubt. But these sufferings can only be dealt with creatively when they are understood as wounds integral to our human condition. Ministry is a very confronting service. It does not allow people to live with illusions of immortality and wholeness. It keeps reminding others that they are mortal and broken, but also that with the recognition of this condition, liberation starts.”
Medication of the Outside Variety
St. Louis, where I live, borders the state of Illinois, so our local news includes Illinois stories that impact our connected metropolitan area.
The big news story was that Illinois legalized recreational marijuana. They showed pictures of the line on the first day. It went on forever! Sales were close to $40 million in the first month.
How I, sadly, viewed this news is that this is one more vehicle used for numbing out on life. It’s using a substance to medicate or numb a painful state of fear, anxiety, stress, loneliness, or unhappiness without curing the underlying cause.
This comes on the heals of the opioid epidemic which is the worst drug epidemic to hit the United States. Researchers are sighting that prevention from addiction comes by treating emotional and physical pain.
Maybe you don’t relate to using drugs to numb pain. I didn’t either, but I medicated in more subtle, societal accepted ways. I used excessive food and alcohol to numb out and not deal with my deep heart hurts. It wasn’t until I went within by being still through meditation to heal the deep wounds and broken places that led to that liberation and freedom that Henri Nouwen talks about.
This medicating is insidious and comes in many forms: shopping to feel good, binge watching programs, spending hours on social media, spending hours on the internet or playing video games.
None of these activities in and of themselves are bad. But when you use them to numb, stuff down feelings, and avoid any pain in your life, instead of opening yourself up to healing, you open yourself up for anger issues, resentment, dis-ease and disease.
Meditation of the Inside Variety
I wasn’t aware that I was medicating. Now I’ve healed from my pain and have been able to let it go by meditating.
I hope this post will help you to be mindful and catch yourself if or when you are medicating. If you need help turning from medicating to meditating, the Be Still, Let it Go, and Trust meditations will help you heal and find peace.