The Pain Collectors

Attack and judgement are fueled by an unconscious belief that it is possible to eliminate pain by holding others responsible for it. We distract ourselves from the inner ache by lashing out. Playing a game of hot-potato with pain, we believe that throwing it at another will rid us of it for good.

Our pain is not caused by others. It is revealed by others, and it is an integral aspect of who we are. When we feel any form of pain (defined here as an emotion which brings about physical discomfort), it is because there is a part of us that is suffering and must be tended to. Blame only serves to distract us from this need. When we choose to believe that another person is responsible for our reactions to things, we refuse to hear our own cry for help. Rather than answering that call, we pursue avoidance techniques which wreak varying levels of havoc in our lives. We throw tantrums in the face of our feelings and judge others harshly when they challenge us in any way. We spread gossip about them. We excoriate them. We attack them. We neglect ourselves by ignoring the ancient call to process emotion, forgive, and transform.

Our hurt/irritation/anger/sadness/rage etc. have nothing to do with the way another person behaves. We know this because our responses to things are purely subjective. If I didn't believe, for instance, that another person was ignoring my email because I don't matter, or because I did something bad, then I wouldn't believe that another person was ignoring my email because I don't matter or I did something bad. I would simply accept the other where s/he is at and I'd move on. It may even be true that s/he is behaving in a passive aggressive manner, but because I don't believe that I don't matter or that I am bad, I would have patience and forgive the other's mistaken belief that I am somehow responsible for how s/he feels. However, if I DO believe that I don't matter or that I am bad, pain will arise. If I then choose to respond with retaliation, gossip, sabotage, or any other form of attack, then I am ignoring the opportunity to explore why I believe I don't matter, or why I believe myself to be bad in some way.

We are merciless when it comes to pain. We will not let it in. We do not accept the gift it gives us, and instead seek out gurus and substances and jobs and trinkets that hold the promise of escape. We spend our lives trying to figure out ways to transcend it. We work ceaselessly to convince ourselves and others that it is unnecessary at best.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Pain is a part of who we are. It is a component of our humanity. Who do we think we're kidding when we pretend it's not? We're not kidding the grocery store clerk whom we treated poorly because s/he didn't move quickly enough. We're not kidding the friend who doesn't behave in exactly the way we expect. We're not kidding the co-worker whom we dislike. We're not kidding the partner who left us. We're not kidding the person s/he left us for. We're not kidding Donald Trump. We're not kidding Hillary Clinton.

We're fooling no one.

We have become pain collectors. Ancient pain is gumming up our cells because it has not been granted the freedom to expand and become a part of the light of love and acceptance. However, we can choose differently. We can say yes to who we are. In this act of care, a miraculous truth is uncovered: there is no such thing as pain at all. There is no such thing as joy. There is no such thing as separation of the senses. There is only the warm and fiery heart, embraced in the security and adoration of the self and of others.