by Conor Boehm, Spiritual Guru
It is difficult when we experience pain and suffering, and their accompanying emotions, to be fully present with them. Too often, we try to take the easy way out and suppress our negative side. Partly, this is cultural. We are conditioned to look past the pain and suffering of others and in ourselves, and treat it as unnatural, something outside of us to be fixed with medication. We have all put on fake smiles and said “I’m fine” when we really aren’t.
Our easy way out of pain and suffering takes many forms: We blame others for our unhappiness, we seek happiness externally from others or from things, we block it out (consciously or unconsciously) by staying preoccupied with activities that transiently elevate our mood, or we turn to substances to escape being with our true feelings. Yet just beneath the surface, those feelings still remain, eating away at us day by day.
What we aren’t accustomed to is simply allowing it to be. It is uncomfortable to be present with painful emotions. Yet paradoxically it is the only way to transcend them. When we allow ourselves to be present with the bad, we are creating space for understanding and growth. When we learn to listen to our pain and suffering, it loses its grip on us. We begin to find a way through it.
Pain and suffering are a part of the human existence. Without them, however, we would not truly know happiness and love. It is only by understanding and embracing our pain and suffering that we find the strength, courage, and determination to overcome them. Everyone experiences pain and suffering. True warriors do not allow pain and suffering to harden them to life; they allow it to transform them into the caring, compassionate, empathetic, loving souls that they are.