Pain & Empowerment

You will fall sick, experience pain, and encounter many adverse circumstances. At such times do not think, ‘Although I am practicing the Dharma, I have nothing but trouble. The Dharma cannot be so great. I have followed a teacher and done so much practice, and yet hard times still befall me.’

Such thoughts are wrong views. You should realize that through the blessing and power of the practice, by experiencing sickness and other difficulties now, you are purifying and ridding yourself of negative actions.

By purifying them while you have the chance, you will later go from bliss to bliss. So do not think, ‘I don’t deserve this illness, these obstacles, these negative influences.’ Experience your difficulties as blessings. When you do experience such difficulties, you should be very happy and avoid having adverse thoughts like, ‘Why are such terrible things happening to me?’
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Pain is inevitable in this world of time. Certainly, we are bound to experience it at some point or another. Pain may be prolonged and obvious, or it may be hidden. Pain can show up physically or psychologically. According to Karol K. Truman, feelings which are not acknowledged and worked through become ailments within the body and cause physical illness. Cayolyn Myss also talks about this factor in her book, Anatomy of Spirit. She says, “Our biography becomes our biology.” When energy, feelings, and emotions are blocked or misdirected, physical illness arises. 

How does one work through this?  We must first get comfortable with the idea that the pain may not go away. When we abandon all fruit of fruition, we land in the quality of presence that allows for unfolding and understanding.

What happens when we face our feelings and express them fully?
The common question is, how? What if there’s a fire of anger?
I highly recommend the book, Feelings Buried Alive, to explore this topic more.

When we work with anger, it’s valuable to ask the question, how can we harness and cut through it? It’s not obligatory to get rid of anger, it is far-reaching to do some somatic work. It’s important to move it through the body and not allow it to remain stuck.

This is also where self-regulation becomes key.
This may look like meditation, the physical practice of yoga, maybe something else. When faced with the question of, how do i self-regulate, there are infinite options. Body-based practices are best to integrate healing. Whichever you choose, can you be fully present to the process of self-regulation? Often times, meditation or any practice becomes the platform where one completely checks out rather than sits with what is arising. We create excuses, stories, and anything else so that we don’t face the truth. The inquiry then becomes, am I being dishonest with myself? This question becomes a blessing in the unfolding of presence and compassion.

When great uncertainty hits, it may be necessary to reach out and have a conversation with someone. This can look like a dear friend, counselor, or life coach. Sometimes the greatest gift we receive is when someone comes in and cuts through our nonsense.

May we each integrate our experiences through healthy self-regulation and care. May we find meaning, purpose, and the lessons we are meant to receive within the container of a safe space.

May we live as healthy and empowered human beings.  

Thank you to Naropa University staff for the inspiring conversations which triggered the writing of this post.

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