Excerpts About Pain
Diamond Heart Book I, p. 232 • discuss »
When our inquiry is open to our pain, our pain will open up and expose itself to the healing agent of Loving-kindness. Furthermore, our pain and suffering will open itself up and reveal the truth that is hidden when we close down the pain. If our inquiry doesn’t open up to our pain, it cannot proceed very far, because the route to our own truth is blocked by our positions and defenses that protect us against the pain we have—the pain that is natural for human beings to experience. Sometimes we can avoid feeling pain by closing down our sensitivity, and sometimes pain is simply unavoidable; we can’t help feeling it. But essential Compassion responds to and welcomes all forms of pain—whether mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual, whether exposed or hidden. The moment the green latifa is present in our inquiry, sensitivity and openness increase and deepen from all sides. Inquiry is more open and sensitive, and the openness becomes more attuned and empathic. This means that the soul is now more open to reveal her suffering and her vulnerability. When we are not in touch with our true nature, the emotional pain of our everyday life can begin to feel intolerable. But the more we recognize ourselves as our true nature, the less significant our emotional pains become.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 307 • discuss »
Let us look at the nature of ignoble suffering from the perspective of Essence. Suffering always arises when you are out of contact with Essence or seeking something other than Essence. If you value anything—husbands, wives, children, girlfriends, parents, jobs, money, sports, cars, anything at all —over what is true in you, there is suffering. Automatically, that movement outwards (seeking satisfaction from external reality) wounds you. It is a wound to your heart. It is not that the factors of our external lives or our human desires are antithetical to our Work. Like everything else, they can be respected and understood for what they are. But if they come before Essence, there will be suffering, pain, frustration, and anger. It is important to understand this; it is not easy to see things this way. When we begin to work on ourselves and to know our essence, we are usually not doing it for the sake of Essence itself, but with hopes for getting this or that—to become more beautiful, more loving, more “spiritual,” to get people to like us. You might believe that if you develop your essence, you’ll get a better mate or have more money. If you’re working from that perspective, who’s doing it? Who’s acting? It’s not Essence. It’s your unconscious, so it will automatically bring suffering. The posture itself is a posture of deficiency, which is always a posture of pain. The body will automatically contract, be wounded. It will lose its joy and happiness.
Diamond Heart Book I, p. 72 • discuss »
There’s another interesting relationship between truth, pain, and compassion. Most of you who have learned to experience compassion have seen that it usually opens when you allow yourself to experience pain, and that pain usually comes by seeing the truth about yourself or your situation. When you see the truth, you feel hurt, and when you allow yourself to feel the hurt, compassion comes. If you don’t allow yourself to feel hurt, you can’t feel compassion. That’s how our organism functions. So there is a reciprocal relationship between truth and compassion, and there is a connection between these things and suffering. The suffering is not the point; suffering is something in between that we go through. From the perspective of Essence, it is irrelevant. The important part is truth—the truth about who we are—no matter how much hurt, suffering, and fear it takes to get there. Sometimes the pain is there so that the person will learn the truth.
Diamond Heart Book I, p. 94 • discuss »
But the real cause of most of your suffering and pain and misery is ignorance. You don’t know the nature of emotions and inner forces or how your mind operates; you act out of a lack of knowledge. Now you say, “Good, let me have that knowledge and that understanding!” But you see the knowledge as a means to an end, and you believe the end is to feel good, to get what you want. This attitude, regardless of how much self-understanding you have, regardless of how committed you are to working on yourself, will only increase your suffering, because it is a result of ignorance about your true nature. It is true that implicit understanding will release a person from suffering, but this is a side effect. It is not the main focus of our inquiry. As long as your perspective is to seek to feel good and not bad, to feel pleasure and not pain, you will reinforce your pain. Now everyone is wondering, “Well, what are we going to do then?” But even this question is coming from the perspective of wanting to feel good. Who is asking the question? The one who is suffering and doesn’t want to be miserable any more! So you’re trapped. You can’t do anything, you can’t say anything, you can’t think anything without reinforcing the basic perspective of wanting to be happy, wanting pleasure and not wanting pain. It’s quite a dilemma: by desiring happiness you tend to create suffering.
Diamond Heart Book II, p. 33 • discuss »
However, for many reasons, things don’t generally go that well. Sometimes the child has gas or pain and the mother doesn’t come in time, so the pain or tension is not released. The baby is still dependent on the mother and the environment to help release these charges or tensions. Sometimes it is not that the mother isn’t there, but that the baby gets sick or constipated or can’t keep food down. Then there is pain that is not discharged when it needs to be. Things are in fact much worse than that; if this were the whole story, it would be wonderful. However, the truth is that the baby usually lives in an environment in which the parents are not the most wonderful beings on earth. The child is very open, and can feel the pain and suffering going on in its immediate environment. The child is aware of its own body and can also feel the tension, rigidity, and pain in the mother’s body or anyone else it is with. If the parents are suffering, the child feels it. If the mother is suffering, the baby suffers too. The pain never gets discharged. We are not even considering the acts of cruelty that so many babies endure. Some parents take their own conflicts out on the child in physical abuse, neglect, or emotional rejection. All these things affect the child in the same negative way—there remains pain that is not discharged. So the natural movement is impeded, and the child doesn’t return to its natural harmony. There might be difficulty in the body of the child. Sometimes even when the mother acts in a loving way toward the baby she is feeling anguish, or self-rejection, or other negative feelings inside herself. The baby always feels this pain, and the mother isn’t discharging it for herself or the baby.
Diamond Heart Book II, p. 84 • discuss »
AH: Yes. Rejection is also based on memories. Not only is there activity in going after what you hope for, but there is also activity in avoiding or rejecting something. This pattern involves an alternation between pleasure and pain. There is something that we call pleasure and something that we call pleasure and something that we call pain. From this distinction comes rejection, hope and desire. But you can see that when you’re rejecting the present, you’re pushing against it, you’re rejecting it. That very action is a contraction. At the deepest level, that action is a frustration. The heart of contraction is always a state of frustration. And the more you reject, the more you feel the frustration. And the more you reject, the more you feel the frustration. The more you feel the frustration, the more desire you have to release the frustration. But it’s a vicious cycle, as you can see. The more you reject, the more there is contraction, the more frustrated you become. Then you want to do something that will release the frustration. But you do this by hoping for something in the future and rejecting the present, which creates more frustration, which makes you hope even more to release it. So you hope some more, you push, and more frustration is created. This cycle generates the personality, and it is the experience of the personality itself. This cycle is what we call ego activity. When you really feel it, the actual substance of the personality is a feverishness, a lack of stillness, a lack of contentment. When you feel desire, it’s that frustration, too. Part of the desire that we feel is a rejection of the present and a hope for something else, which brings frustration. The very movement of the personality is frustration,
and the existence of the personality is that movement. The very existence of the personality is that reactivity.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 179 • discuss »
In contrast, during the first journey, you usually identify with one image or another—most of the time with an image of yourself as a child. When intense feelings arise, such as pain, it can be too much to stay with, and self-awareness is easily lost. Essential presence, on the other hand, doesn’t feel pain. There can be a great deal of pain, but essential presence makes the experience of pain secondary for the soul. So the totality of the mandala is always secondary to its center, which is essential presence. The contact with our true nature is essential presence, which in time becomes more powerful, more grounded, more solid, and pervades the mandala more and more as it moves toward the third journey. The essential presence, moved by the force of its optimizing intelligence, reveals more of its qualities and the understanding of those qualities, moving you to deeper and deeper dimensions of presence. This is a very organic, interconnected, synergetic process. The mystery that is our ultimate nature—inexhaustible in its possibilities—guides us by means of this dynamic force of intelligence, affecting our experience in a way that eventually reveals the original mystery.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 170 • discuss »
When our inquiry is open to our pain, our pain will open up and expose itself to the healing agent of Loving-kindness. Furthermore, our pain and suffering will open itself up and reveal the truth that is hidden when we close down the pain. If our inquiry doesn’t open up to our pain, it cannot proceed very far, because the route to our own truth is blocked by our positions and defenses that protect us against the pain we have—the pain that is natural for human beings to experience. Sometimes we can avoid feeling pain by closing down our sensitivity, and sometimes pain is simply unavoidable; we can’t help feeling it. But essential Compassion responds to and welcomes all forms of pain—whether mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual, whether exposed or hidden. The moment the green latifa is present in our inquiry, sensitivity and openness increase and deepen from all sides. Inquiry is more open and sensitive, and the openness becomes more attuned and empathic. This means that the soul is now more open to reveal her suffering and her vulnerability. ......... So if our inquiry is going to invite openness in our experience, it must be open to the possibility of experiencing the pain, hurt, and suffering. It not only has to be open in the sense of allowing the suffering to surface in consciousness, but the openness has to embody a gentleness, delicacy, sensitivity, softness, and considerateness. Only this will truly invite the soul to open up her pain.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 307 • discuss »
We need the kindness of Guidance in order to stay with the suffering of the soul; without that, it is too painful to tolerate the difficulties in our experience, and inquiry would be impossible. Frequently, for example, we close our hearts with our anger and rage. In order to open to the pain that is there, we have to go through the rage and anger. To do this, sensitivity is needed to recognize that the anger is our outrage about the pain. So if we inquire into what the outrage is about, it will reveal the hurt. Otherwise, it will stay hidden. Experiencing the hurt will then reveal the underlying truth, and also open our hearts to the essential quality of Compassion, the green latifa. The intelligence of Compassion allows a kindness that does not try to get rid of suffering but creates an openness to whatever is happening so the truth will have the opportunity to reveal itself. In this way, inquiry goes counter to the tendencies of the ego. Ego doesn’t want to experience pain. It wants to protect itself from pain; Guidance wants to open up the pain. It wants us to feel the pain as fully as possible, for without that willingness to feel whatever is there, we won’t be open to ourselves or our experience. That is why getting in touch with our Compassion requires us to feel our pain and hurt—because our hurt is what invites the Compassion. Compassion comes out as a response to pain. At the same time, we need the Compassion in order to be attuned to our experience so that we can inquire effectively. Without our pain, our kindness would be limited, which would limit our attunement, which would then limit our inquiry. Human beings get used to believing that emotional pain is bad, but emotional pain is mostly an invitation for Compassion, an invitation for sensitivity. That is how human beings learn to be sensitive—we get cooked, and by getting cooked, we soften. We become delicate and sensitive.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 309 • discuss »
The way you look at reality determines how you experience it. If you look at it from a subjective point of view, a mental construct, it will appear dark, and will for the most part feel painful. If you look at it with a fresh mind and a fresh heart, you see that it is good and feels wonderful. The sense of goodness is more real and fundamental since its existence is not dependent upon your point of view. It is only when you don’t have a point of view that you perceive that that’s how reality is. This is why the inherent goodness of reality is considered to be abiding and more real than any perspective. The sense of reality as filled with pain and suffering, on the other hand, is dependent upon your beliefs, and while they exist as part of reality, they are incidental to it. So we are differentiating between what is fundamental and what is incidental to the nature of reality. The perspective of Holy Love is that if you don’t try to see reality one way or another, you will discover that it is wonderful, and it will actually become wonderful. You don’t have to do anything to make it that way; it is like that on its own. All you need to do is relax. If we tighten up and get scared, things look negative and become painful. That’s how reality works. Eventually, we learn that it is more skillful to see reality as it is
because doing so makes our lives easier.
Facets of Unity, p. 213 • discuss »