It’s Not Happiness That Holds The Solution To Your Problems; It Is Your Pain.
Your pain, your darkness, your greatest fears and shadows are the doorways towards your enlightenment.
Within the cobwebs, the dust, the dirt, the dank and rancid confines of your deepest pain, is the key to everything you’ve been searching for.
But most of us don’t understand that the only way around pain is through the pain. Our age-old conditioning whispers in our ear that happiness can be found when we improve this bit of ourselves, change that person, move to this place, get that job, reach this age, obtain that degree … and on and on, ad infinitum.
And there is a certain addictive quality to playing the happiness game. There’s always a new thrill to pursue, a new drama to play out, a new thing to obtain. Quite simply, the pursuit of happiness gives you something to do, so it makes you feel like you’re spending your time meaningfully.
In fact, most of our behavior is driven by chasing happiness. We chase the “ideal” relationship because we feel it will complete us. We chase higher paying jobs and more money because we believe it will bring us more comfort and security which we believe will give us happiness. In wealthy countries, we buy things we don’t need which we believe will make us happy.
But once we reach or obtain what we’ve been pursuing, what happens? How long do we remain happy? Sometimes we feel happy for a week, a month, or even a single moment. But then the feeling passes, and we’re on the treadmill again, peddling frantically for the next “source” of happiness.
And the sad thing is that we often do this completely unconsciously and impulsively.
Yes, the search of happiness is the most common and pathological addiction we all share these days, and indeed, since the beginning of the human race.
The Cure For Pain Is In The Pain
“The cure for pain, is in the pain”. — Rumi
The greatest pain that I struggle with isn’t anger or sadness, but fear. I put it down to various social, inherited, neurological, hormonal, and psychological factors. But the fact of the matter is that it’s there. And I’ve tried to escape it for my entire life, always on a daily basis.
For as long as I can remember, there has been fear in my life. Fear of God, fear of my parents, fear of my teachers, fear of other people, and ultimately, fear of myself.
I have tried endless practices to deal with this pain. I’ve tried medication, herbs, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP, hypnosis, affirmations, endless self-help books, and so much more. And while these practices helped for a short while to manage the symptoms, they always felt like ways to avoid, minimize or control what I was feeling.
Eventually, I discovered that no matter how much you run from pain or pretend that it isn’t there, it always quivers close by your feet like a shadow.
And in this discovery, I learned something important which I wish all people on the earth could discover:
the cure for pain IS in the pain.
What does this mean?
As Sufi mystic Rumi so eloquently pointed out, pain offers the very doorway to healing. Your pain is a messenger, a sign, and an opportunity to return to Wholeness again.
Pain is essentially a slap on the face that shouts “Hey! Wake up! You’re resisting or clinging to something here.”
So what can we do when we finally wake up?
How To Overcome Chronic Emotional And Psychological Suffering
When I talk about overcoming chronic emotional and psychological suffering, I’m not talking about a quick-fix, once-and-for-all cure to your pain. Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way.
What I can share with you is a tool that doesn’t try to avoid, minimize or control what you feel, but instead meets it, honors it, and allows it to teach you.
What I’m talking about is something called mindfulness. And from what I’ve experienced, this is the only tool I know of that can help you to meet and overcome pain moment-to-moment.
In terms of awareness, mindfulness is the most powerful soulwork tool I have worked with because it helps you to directly access your inner Higher Nature. What I call Higher Nature here is really only a fancy term for the space inside of yourself that is open, infinite, impersonal and all-loving — and we all possess this unconditionally peaceful space.
Here are some steps to help you overcome chronic suffering:
1. Be Willing To Face Your “Darkscape”
To overcome any chronic suffering you’re experiencing, you really must be willing to search your darkness. You must be willing to face what you have not yet faced, or avoided within you for potentially many years.