Spend a few minutes preparing your body through heart-opening stretching and breathing exercises to center yourself. Then, sitting comfortably, observe the inflow and outflow
of your breath for a little while to quiet your mind. With awareness in your heart, ask yourself this important question:

What experiences from my past continue to create anguish for me in the present?

As one episode moves into consciousness, earlier pain-ridden experiences often follow the path from hidden to exposed. It is as if the human heart, sensing the chance to heal, wants to take advantage of the opportunity to bring painful stories to light. Be receptive to each memory that surfaces in your awareness and document the important details. Take a few minutes to journal the main points of each painful experience.

Continue this process of reaching back in time to identify significant episodes of emotional distress until you believe and feel you have accessed all major violations. In my experience, most people will feel they’ve uncovered their central painful stories if they perform this survey five to ten times.

Having identified your emotionally painful landmarks, the next step is to fully process each experience by asking deeper questions. I cannot overemphasize the value of journaling your responses rather than simply pondering them. Over many years, I’ve become convinced that journaling has a unique value of moving pain from the subconscious interior to conscious awareness, where it can be acknowledged and released. Here are the six key questions:

1) What happened to me that caused the pain?

2) What was the context of this painful chapter in my life?

3) What feelings were generated?

4) What need was not met or what boundary was crossed that caused me pain?

5) What were the clues that I overlooked?

6) How was I served by denying the clues?

Each of these questions is designed to fully reveal the painful episode so that, once and for all, the emotional energy trapped in the story can be made available for healing and transformation.

David Simon, M.D. is the Co- Founder, CEO and Medical Director of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Dr. Simon is dedicated to catalyzing the evolution of the prevailing health care system into a healing system that encompasses the emotional, spiritual as well as physical health of the individual. His new book Free to Love, Free to Heal: Heal Your Body by Healing Your Emotions comes out on June 25, 2009.

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Author's Bio: 

Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.