The Hidden Power of Pain
Our physical bodies are literally hard wired to avoid pain at all costs – pain equals a threat to our very existence. However, as conscious beings who are far more than just our physical body we often respond to emotional pain in the same way – it is to be avoided at all costs.
It is quite understandable that many would think ‘What is the point? It hurts, why would I want to feel that?’
Emotional pain, just like anything else is energy and emotional pain that is avoided, denied or buried is stored energy. Each time we store any type of energy it needs a container and herein lies the problem and the challenge. So let’s start by asking the question: How much energy does it take to keep the container around the pain we don’t wish to feel? Another way of asking this very question is the following:
What would your life look like if you had free access to all the energy you are using to avoid emotional pain?
Each of us seeks a life full of meaningful connection, creative expression and the fulfilment of our needs and deeper longings. However, it is our stored pain and the culturally supported fear of vulnerability that keeps many of us locked in a prison with little to no way out until at times the relentless flow of life forces us to face what has possibly been avoided for years or even decades. How would it be if instead of waiting for love and fortune to appear to allow ourselves to live from an undefended heart? Fear and vulnerability are two almost forbidden feelings and yet within them lie some of the keys to the inner liberation that we all seek.
Our own fear of pain has led many to become spiritual consumerists. As spiritual consumers we can toe dip from process to process and peruse, browse and enter into a plethora of modalities and approaches to healing, meditation and therapy in the hope that one of them may offer us access to the freedom we are seeking without ever facing our inner demons, our deepest fears, our authentic grief and our vulnerability. The process of awakening and stepping into the truth of who we are is not a one-time event and neither are we here to be entertained by the ‘feel good’ factor in the hopes that one day it may finally stick. As a consumer culture many approaches to spirituality and healing have mirrored our need for instant gratification just as it does in many areas of consumption – I want it now, it must be quick, and above all it must be painless.
So many of us get caught in the belief that if we understand a problem we can make it go away. Nothing could be further than the truth. However, understanding and issue can soften us towards another in issue of forgiveness and understanding an issue can give us some comfort and a sense of safety when delving deeper into our original wounds, however, understanding alone is not the resolution. In avoidance of pain we either add to our own suffering through living for the most part form our intellect thereby impoverishing our world of feelings, or we continually seek ways in which to create a healing resolution without ever really touching our deepest wounds or the seeing the absolute truth of something. On this journey we can also delude ourselves into believing too that catharsis is the solution – to simply express the pain of our past. Whilst catharsis is beneficial as a tool for moving stagnant energy in our system as a stand-alone process it does little to bring about resolution and in reality it is merely a doorway into something much deeper.
As previously stated, we are hard wired to avoid pain at all costs and it is this very knowledge gives us the great clue of what may lie under or behind the pain we are so seeking to avoid. Our physical body avoids pain as a survival mechanism – pain equals injury, injury equals death. As humans we have translated that into emotional pain equals death, therefore it must be avoided. Contemplate this question for a moment: who or what dies? Is it ‘us’ that dies or is it all the defences we have put in place to keep both our heart and our wound defended?
Deep within the core of each of us is what we can term to be our core wound. The core wound usually starts with an ‘I am’ statement such as: ‘I am bad’, ‘I am ugly’, ‘I am not wanted’, ‘I am worthless’, ‘I am nothing’ , ‘I’m not enough’ etc. Within the quagmire of such a statement and the layers of shame within and around it is our place of separation – separation from our true essential self, the place within us that has always been an innocent, loving, lovable free and creative spirit.
As we surrender to our vulnerability and allow ourselves to drop into our deepest wound and the places in which we commit violence against ourselves we bump into the point, the place and the landscape of self-hatred in in which we separated from the truth of who we are. This point of separation is desolation itself, it is where we abandoned ourselves and also lost the absolute knowingness that we and the One, or God, are forever and undeniably united, never separate. As we approach this place of schism from the truth of who are we are as yet unable to see across it, only into it – and what it looks like from our still defended, but in the process of surrendering, self is utter desolation, the epitome of nothingness, the extinction and annihilation of self. However, as we cross this narrow boundary we open up into something very new. A new truth, a new realisation a new experience of who we are and ironically it is not new, it is simply remembered in the realisation that it was never truly forgotten.
I return once again to one of the original questions. What would your life look like if all of the energy you employ to suppress pain, vulnerability and fear was available to you to express yourself as the creative and loving being you truly are? What would it feel like? How would it sound?
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to develop the courage to face pain and any shame that may be standing between us and the freedom we seek. Each of us longs to be free to love as children do and as we face what is and truly dare to be bare living from the greater richness that an undefended heart can give us becomes more manifest.
Pain is short lived, suffering can go on for years, decades, generations and even lifetimes. There is no such thing as a pain free life, but we can be free of suffering. No shortcuts. No magic wand and what awaits us is the truth of our very own heart and that is pure gold, that is the jewel in the lotus.
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