Sometimes we hold pain inside of us that is not ours. Like the pins that the surgeon put into my husband’s foot to hold it together. The pins hold the broken pieces together. Without them, his foot cannot function. It would become incapable of being able to hold his weight. It would become misshapen, infected and useless to him. So these pins, that are not his own, but put there by another, are willingly accepted as necessary, with an understanding that they will cause pain, but essentially, will fix him. They are a vital intrusion.
This experience my family are currently going through got me wondering, in what ways perhaps do we take in the emotional pain of others and hold it as our own in order that we experience a connection, in pain, with them.
Do we then have this experience of collective pain, that we may understand it better, that we may become more compassionate perhaps? So then what happens as we consciously or unconsciously take on this pain? It may be that we become angry and resentful of the pain and say “This is not my pain. I do not want this pain. I hate this pain’. Then as we writhe in our own pain, we become the embodiment of it. We have let the intruder in and created our own version of pain.
We often feel helpless in the face of another’s pain. We cannot shift their burden, so the only option we have left is to feel sad, or angry or useless. We wish to turn away and abandon them in their suffering. But, if we do not wish to turn away from them, we may find and create a version of pain for ourselves, which we too can experience, so that they are not alone in their pain.
We have joined the collective pain merry-go-round. When we don’t understand our energetic connection to each other, this process is terrible in its confusion. It is isolating and diminishing. It lowers our own energy and blinds us to the elusive truth. We are not alone in our pain. We are all experiencing some version of pain and as unique individuals, we all create our response to pain in our own unique way, thus believing that no one can understand our pain, as nobody has the same experience of life, or have the same viewpoint as you. So you are stuck alone in your version of pain.
If we are lucky though, we find another who has felt pain and understands that when we treat each other with compassion, it goes a very long way toward easing our collective pain.
Through selfless acts. With caring and with acknowledgment. With kind gestures, a listening ear and an open heart, we can help each other through the darkness and the intensity these periods of pain bring.
Though we all dislike these periods of pain and are most often found is discourse around the why of pain, in truth we know that these times are great teachers. They (painfully) carve more space in our hearts for connection, to releasing attachment to expectations of shoulds’ (like how I think things ‘should’ be in my life, not how they really are.)
These times are an essential part of our life’s lesson and provide us the opportunity for reflection, stillness and contemplation.
For remembering things like how much love I have for myself and for those I love the most.
For remembering that even those that seem the strongest and most powerful, are often truly vulnerable and in need of our guidance and support.
For commonsense things, like what is really important to you. Your mental health, physical health and inner peace.
For the experience and wisdom I now have and will take into the future.
Pain and suffering are a part of life. A part we wish we could avoid. A part we often try desperately to deny and ignore. The darkness and suffering pose some of the greatest challenges as we live our life and follow our spiritual path. During these periods it is faith and hope that I hold tight in my heart and my belief that there will always be wisdom and understanding on the other side of the trial.