Many people are feeling trapped today. They feel trapped in a job they don’t like and fear they won’t be able to find another so they stay. Others feel trapped in their relationship with their spouse, parent, friend, child, boss, sibling, roommate, and on it goes. Many, many people feel trapped by their financial situation, their credit card debt and their mortgage. Others feel trapped in their bodies by their weight, illness, disability, color of their skin, facial features or height. People today feel trapped by technology and all the demands on their free time because of it.
Some parents feel trapped by many demands expected from them at work, home, and school, and concerning their parenting. Many adults have responsibilities to care for both the young and old whom they love and care about. The list could go on, but where do you feel trapped in your life?
Stressed out people develop symptoms in their body, mind and emotions. Their symptoms may appear to increase when they take note of how trapped they feel. I say notice because many people numb themselves in order to avoid the feelings and awareness. Symptoms just increase in an effort to get their attention so the problem or situation can be dealt with directly.
You can’t change what you don’t see applies to taking the numbing out way of coping. People numb themselves in ways that then become secondary problems, and it is these conditions of being that often get them into bigger trouble, or therapy. What helps people to numb? Gambling, drinking, drugs, eating, not eating, exercise, sleeping more, insomnia, watching TV or movies or the Internet most of their free time. Physical signs of stress show up in their body as higher blood pressure, memory problems, lethargy, depression, anxiety, nightmares, and poor concentration and judgment.
It’s a domino effect that just keeps on ticking off the hours, days, and weeks lost to their numbing of their self, their mind, and their emotions to get through the day. People don’t realize they are numb to their feelings and thoughts until something, often major, knocks them out of their self-sustaining loop of numbness. It’s like a bolt of lightning in a good way because with the pattern stopped, they have a chance to feel something unfamiliar, but known — their self.
Feeling trapped and thus stressed out is so common, every one can relate on some level. And it’s well documented in psychological and medical science that stress really ‘does a number’ on the body; it can kill. It may take some time, but I’m as serious as a heart attack here. (Pun intended.)
So what might help them to get un-numb, so that they can begin to take their thoughts, feelings, and body back when still trapped in a situation for awhile longer?
In pondering this situation, I realized that a person like Nelson Mandela when in prison, could find freedom as he turned inside to meditate or talk to God. In other words – he was free, not in a prison at all because his life of substance and truth was within him, not outside him. He felt the freedom, the love, the space, the possibilities within meditating with God, Source, his soul, or just simply meditating within himself.
Did Helen Keller take refuge within? Of course she did! The child Anne Frank was able to go within by journaling her thoughts in a diary. The power of spirit came through her to her pen. Victor Frankl found God, beauty and freedom from bondage, within. His imagination, mind, thoughts were his to do with as he pleased. Even a concentration camp could not take his inner world away from him.
Albert Einstein believed that one’s imagination is more important than knowledge. My take on this is this: we can use our knowledge with our imagination, but knowledge alone is stagnant information, data. Add imagination to knowledge, and it grows. Imagination is organic and unlimited.
What this means is that we are never really trapped. The entrapment is an illusion. Viewing the situation from within might help find an out, another choice, or the patience to deal with it longer. But this isn’t my point here.
I am suggesting, really believing, that by turning inward and viewing the world from a different point of view, we find freedom. The illusion we call our life is filled with angst, but within each of us is our personal connection to the invisible, the Universe, or to some, the spiritual realm. And in the Universe or spiritual realm there is wide open, free-for-the-taking, beautiful, loving, supportive, gentle, accepting, unconditionally loving FREEDOM. There are no traps there.
Getting in touch with that freedom each day makes the traps vanish. You won’t see your situation in the same way. It will feel and look different. You will behave differently without much effort or thought. Your freedom is within no matter what the traps are. Your body will de-stress, symptoms will go away, and behaving to numb out will not be an option or desirable any longer. You will be truly free.