The True Cause of Pain

Consider the circumstances of your birth.

You slept in a cozy, pleasant bath for 9 months, food was constantly available to you, and the sound of your mother’s heartbeat was always there. Waste was carried away with no trial. Everything was easy, predictable, and perfect. There was no waiting, no fear. There was only you. This was the world as you first knew it.

Then, suddenly, without warning, your world was taken from you. You were dropped into a cold, hard, bright, aggressive reality that made absolutely no sense to you whatsoever. You didn't ask for this. You didn't know what was coming. All you knew for sure was that you did not belong in this new place.

Imagine the desperation you must have felt, not knowing how to express it but craving nothing more than the comfort of your mother’s womb. Pleading with the large, alien beings around you to send you back, having no words, no physical control, only able to yell and cry, imagine your frustration when no one complied with your demand to go back to your source. Imagine the homesickness you must have grappled with, the confusion, the loneliness, the desire to return. Of course, your mother was with you a lot of the time, but a lot of the time she was not. And it wasn't the same! You wanted that cave of warmth and security you unwittingly left behind. You wanted to go home.

Imagine your anger, your grief, your jealousy. Imagine your irritation as you were moved from place to place, forced to sit in your own waste, knowing how much easier it could be if you could just go back. Memories of that other place haunted you. No one could comfort you, because what you wanted was a complete impossibility, and, even if it was possible, you had no way to coherently communicate your need. You were left to contend with a searing, aching wound created by the most grievous loss that we face as humans, the first and only real loss, the loss of who we truly are, without the tools required to do so.

Needless to say, we have all been through this. Every single last one of us carries the exact same core wound, and every painful feeling that we have in life arises from it. What makes it unique is our tolerance of it, our sensitivity to it, and our experience of pain as a result of that sensitivity. There is no gray area; it's that black and white.

Currently, we are ill-equipped to process the pain of the wound. We cross our fingers and hope that it will pass. We blame, judge, deflect, and push it away, all in an effort to escape it. We say no to it as soon as it shows itself. We are terrified that it will engulf us and never let us go. Here’s the truth: we are already engulfed. We have been engulfed since we first came here and learned that avoidance is the only acceptable way to deal with our pain.

We can, however, surrender. In that act lies our redemption.

The wound is triggered by events that are reminders of the long dead past. It uses life circumstances to demand our attention. It uses pain to wake us up to what ails us. When we respond with patience, breath, and love, the wound is comforted. It dries up and becomes scar tissue. Eventually, it disappears. External events no longer trigger us in the same way, because our wound, finally exposed to the air, has been integrated into who we are, with all our strength and hope. We are no longer confused. We no longer blame. We love. As we were always meant to.

Our pain is our Moses. It leads us to freedom. It never gives up on us. It always returns, and gives us another chance to heal and grow. Our pain loves us unconditionally. It’s time for us to return the favor.