Several students have come to me dissatisfied -- dissatisfied that they have so much left to do in their lives. Dissatisfied that they have not achieved enough or that others have done more. They worry that their life will be less than it should be, that they will be less than they should be.
They are told by some people that the pain they feel is a result of wanting too much from life. That happiness is somehow not about living up to their potential, but of expecting too much. That somehow hoping and dreaming is the source of their pain.
It is not a feeling that I embrace. This life is precious. This life lasts but a blink in the larger circle of existence. That it must be lived to its fullest if you are to evolve physically, mentally or spiritually. Yes, life brings pain, but so does letting it slide by. You see, pain is not the enemy. Pain is a part of living. Pain is a part of growing. That feeling you get from not striving or trying or wanting is a larger crime than the pain you will feel from living and losing.
In many ways pain is as much a part of the path to enlightenment as compassion and love. What we find in life is that the fear of pain is almost always worse than the trials and tribulations one must endure while living. We are spirits of energy encased in a human body. On our path to enlightenment we will face hurdles of the physical and metaphysical nature. Those hurdles will cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible; and that is the human experience.
Thinking that a life free from pain is the path to enlightenment is like saying we must do away with the human body we were given in order to grow beyond it. If you believe like I do that the spirit resides in the human shell to learn the lessons it was sent here to learn, then learning the frailties of the human brain and body is certainly a part of that mission. Learning to be aware of the limitations of the senses we have is a step to higher consciousness. Understanding the five senses at hand is the path to opening up the sixth and the seventh and those we are barely even aware of.
I wish I could say there is a way to live life without pain. There is not. While it is not pleasant, pain is a part of the human experience. However, there is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is something you can overcome. Meditation and awareness that we have an associative brain is a key part to overcoming suffering. Together they enable you to become conscious of what is pain, what must be attended to, and what is created by your brain. The pain of a cut is inevitable. It is your physical body telling you something happened. However, the suffering, the feeling that you did something wrong, the feeling that you somehow brought that cut onto you, is what you can manage.
So learn how to use the pain that you feel in a positive way. Learn how to identify the nature of pain as well as the ego that causes the suffering that follows. Learn how to grow closer to your true spirit by the hurt that you become aware of. But also learn how to overcome your suffering so that you can live your life fully, openly and without regret. Pain comes from the very physical needs of the brain and body. Suffering is based in the mind. One fulfills the body and the brain, the other fulfills the mind, the spirit and the universe as well. One is based on 40,000-year-old programming. The other is based on a universal consciousness that lives forever.
If you want happiness and enlightenment, do not try to rid yourself of pain. Instead, embrace it for the lessons that it is and learn from it. Then focus on rebalancing yourself so that your needs, desires, goals and actions support yourself without causing the same pain you felt to others. That is how you learn from pain and create a life based on loving kindness, compassion and equanimity.
Yes, there will be pain. But let your pain be a building block rather than a barrier for a better you.
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