THE BLOG
11/29/2012 02:29 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

The Pain That Shapes Our Internal Terrain

We live in a world where we all carry burdens from life experiences. We are all without a clean slate in our heart and minds because something or someone somewhere has hurt us in life. These hurts can be small and minor or large and severe. We carry these hurts not knowing how they affect our perception of other people and our ability to relate and interact with them.

This hurt is a reaction to either unfulfilled needs or unfair and traumatic life experiences. The fact is that at any given moment our interaction with other people is predicated and influenced by our former hurts. These wounds have caused us to develop a psychological shield in our minds to the point where we have inhibited our true self. As a flesh wound slightly covers the original way our bodies once looked, so the effect of pain inside our minds mildly impairs our original self.

Today, much of our social discourse has been infiltrated by a lack of authenticity that dominates our perception. We learn to camouflage our thoughts with the belief that if we reveal our true nature, we risk making ourselves vulnerable. There isn't a moment in the world that isn't stripped from its purity. Reminiscent to what the ancient philosopher Plato called a "pale reflection of reality," for most of us life is but a silhouette of the real thing. We're all weighed down by an obscure inner-tumult that represses our genuine nature.

The British Philosopher John Locke, who greatly influenced the ideas of our founding fathers, developed the notion that were all born with clean slates in our minds. It's not until we come to interact with the world that our minds are filled with its contents. These contents diminish the true value of who we are because they descend from a lineage of impurities that were all forced to confront in life. Our upbringing through life has conditioned us to inherent and accept foreign features about our identities. This is the reason why most of our actions serve to deflect the true nature of our pain.

As a nation, we spend vast amounts of money on national security because we fear the pain of shame and defeat. We squander loads of income on entertainment and pleasure because it temporarily removes the pain of restlessness and candid self-reflection. We allow pride, anger, and insecurity to motivate us from confronting the original source of our pain. Most of our drives and needs are created as a direct result of securing the absence of pain in our lives. And this pain has been discreetly disseminating itself throughout the world since time began. It now remains buried beneath large stockpiles of psychological sediment.

We learned to live with hurt so much that we've grown numb to its effects. It has learned to legitimize itself through the convergence of socially-acceptable acts. Life is lived by having our past hurts project themselves on other people, thus creating a ceaseless cycle that keeps us enslaved by our own reactions to other people. As the Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza once said, "Men are deceived if they think themselves free." This self-subjugated state is harmful because it deceives us into thinking we know why we do what we do, when we really don't.

We rarely communicate a thought that isn't contaminated in one way or another by some form of pain. Our thought and social life has been compromised by our imperfect interactions, which are grounded in latent animosities. The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud originated the idea that what we go through in life is never really forgotten or overcome but repressed by our unconscious minds. As a result, we never really understand why we behave the way we do. Our outward behavior is a result of natural impulses trying to redeem our past experiences stored in our unconscious.

What we call normal behavior is really something we have to settle for. The real norm can never be realized because we all live under what Christian theologians call "the noetic effects of sin." That is, our ability to reason and use our minds has been defiled so much that we only deem it proper because it has blinded us. Pain manifest itself in varying degrees of complexity and subtly. It delights in not disclosing itself, and if it has convinced you that it doesn't exist it has done its job.

The truth is, the moment we're ready to accept that pain is an intrinsic factor in our minds, the more we're prepared to subdue its piercing assault. No matter what perspective one adopts to understand the human condition, what's clear is that there's an elusive stain in our minds that impairs our freedom and ability to accurately assess who we are. The one promising remedy at our disposal is that we no longer have to feel as if our pain doesn't exist or that it should be concealed.

There's a God who has absorbed our wounds so that our restoration is made evident once we believe in him. He is the ultimate surgeon that covers and repairs all wounds, leaving our newly-acquired mental or spiritual state untarnished from its previous ruins. It's only when we believe in God or a power greater than our own that his all-knowing spirit reveals the truth of our nature and stirs us to make it our foremost responsibility to earnestly evaluate the moral contents of our mind. As the Apostle Paul said, "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

For more by Raymond Torres, click here.

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