On this planet of ours right now, there is a lot of pain. There is anger and sadness in the hearts of each of us. We are each, it seems, carrying pain in our hearts for different reasons. Some of us carry pain because of heartbreak and sorrow. Others remorse and regret. Some of us know loss like others may never know it. While some of us have feared to ever truly know pain at all, yet in so doing, we hide behind the biggest pain in any life – to deny what is. Right now across this beloved world, we have violence, prejudice, dictatorship and covert agendas being pushed from the shadows. We have flags which mean so much to so many being flown over events which are unnecessary. And we have flags which mean so little brazenly claimed by the crazed to be some enemy of our species. Amidst all of this, we have many things.
Amid all of this, we have confusion arising. And with that, in time, greater clarity will be born. Such is the way of things. With this confusion, fear arises yet that does little but lead us to greater courage in time. With all the loss and heartbreak this planet over, in more place than one, we have apathy. Yet, in time, apathy sows the seed of faith. And with all this, pain is the harbinger of something greater. It’s for this reason that I wanted to share a message with you today:
Do not turn away from the unpleasant. Do not shy away from that which tests the senses; that which puts you in an unfortunate position. A position of “accept and surrender” or “turn a blind eye”. Do not turn away. For, turn a blind eye and you will never see those weeping eyes that need you. Turn away and you will never know those broken hearts that have never differed from yours.
In each moment we find ourselves pitched on the precipice of “acceptance and acknowledgement” and the “easy option”: To remain comfortable yet ignorant. ‘But what good can it do to stare out at the pain and anguish of another, knowing there is nothing I can do do stop it?’
Do you want to know a secret? The magic isn’t in stopping it. If the magic was in stopping it then every problem would be solved in the instant it was created. Every battle, every fight, every war, every struggle would see it’s own untimely end upon its genesis. Each conflict would last only seconds – if that long – because everybody involved would be more concerned with the solution than the endless fighting. So then, if we are not fighting for solutions, what are we fighting for? The magic isn’t in solving it. We’ve all got solutions.
The magic is in the acknowledgement of this pain or pain as our pain. ‘Oh, you suffer? I suffer too.’ So, we turn off the TV and turn our hand to helping instead of only helping ourselves. We turn inward instead of away. We find a depth within us from which comes limitless resources with which we can care more and mind less. ‘And if we can’t help solve the problem?’ Then that’s okay too. Because the magic isn’t in the solution. The magic is in the recognition. It is in recognising that the pain in the heart of another is the same as the pain in our own heart. The pain in the heart of another is always the pain in the heart of a lover.
And we are all lovers. We have all known loss and heartbreak. We have all known struggles and fights and uphill battles. And we have all known the pang of a painful emptiness, of not knowing who will sit beside us from now on. So we can forget about what is comfortable or what “feels right”, we can forget about what keeps us up at night. Because it is all worth nothing if we see another suffer and say, ‘it’s fine because it’s not me and mine.’
Turn into the pain. Face the pain. It will not defeat you. It is within you. It cannot exist without you, nor you without it. Recognise that the pain in the heart of another is the same pain you feel when you suffer. The same feeling, different circumstances. Different person, same pain.
Face the pain. Realise that it’s not the pain of another – it’s not some pained owned by another – it’s just… pain. And pain is pain. More than a feeling or a response or a reaction; more than something personal that might be worth it all, or not… Pain, when it comes to us naturally (when it comes knocking on our door)… Pain is a chance. Pain is an opportunity.
Pain is an open door. Pain is a clear blue sky in which we all know one sun. Pain is an empty path, ready to be walked alone or together. Pain is a chance. A chance to connect with those who seem so different but really aren’t so different at all. Pain is a chance to look into the eyes of another and see your self – your true self – and love it completely. Not to create more pain or double the pain or triple it, but to see it and know it is not the pain of that person or this person. To know that it is simply… pain… And it unites us all.
This is the gift of pain: Compassion.
Together, apart, the same.