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“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” — Carl G. Jung
As we go through life on Earth — pain is something that is inevitable. It is a part of human experience and for a good reason. This is a world of duality where opposite energies compliment each other and are both crucial parts of the existence — light and dark, feminine and masculine, good and evil, and well — pleasure and pain. On a soul level, there is no duality but instead, unity. However — we come into the physical world with a purpose to evolve and for that we need to experience the contrast, the ego and the illusion of separation, which is why duality is present.
Going back to pleasure and pain — a healthy balance of both is an essential ingredient for our evolution. On a purely physical level, pain teaches us about our survival and our bodies, it’s the feedback we get so we know what exactly is going on with us biologically and what we should pay attention to. This article however will focus on the emotional pain, which is way more complex and way more unbearable at times. Yet it’s also there for a reason. The thing is — as much as we enjoy experiencing pleasure, if that was all there is — we wouldn't grow. I speak from my own experience as despite me not liking it — pain always pushed me forward, made me look for the answers in order to make significant progress, eventually. Ideally human beings should be committed to self-development even when things are going well but we tend to get complacent after a while. I guess — there are individuals out there who are so evolved that they don't need bumps on the road to keep them going in the right direction, yet for majority of us — painful experiences are Universe’s way of saying, "hey, wake up and be true to yourself."
The origins of emotional pain usually have roots in our past experiences and are often hidden in the subconscious mind, hence why it takes inner work to get them to the surface where they can be released. Occasionally they come up by themselves, uninvited — when we are being triggered by something in the present that is energetically somehow similar to the original source of discomfort. The intensity of these experiences varies from person to person, they don’t feel pleasant and so our first response is to suppress the feelings that accompany these experiences. Despite this response not being very healthy for us in the long run, I believe we are all guilty of this. It often feels like we are going in circles, being affected by the same dynamics year after year and yet we carry on. Why is that?
I believe that the problem is that the society we live in considers pain to be something we should avoid at any cost, showing our emotions is considered a weakness and sensitivity is something for us to be ashamed of. The result is evident — we turn to countless distractions: TV, alcohol, shopping, overeating, sex etc. as a way to avoid what we feel. Even activities like work, exercise, socializing are often done in excess in order to avoid facing ourselves and our demons. I am not saying that we should abandon our jobs and instead focus on whatever is causing us pain. However I would encourage to have a balance in life and that means having time for introspection and self analysis, be it: therapy, meditation or other ways of getting in touch with your real self. Avoidance of feeling discomfort does not make it go away in the long run, in fact it amplifies it, so don't kill the messenger — acknowledge what you feel, learn from it and let it go.
I am acquainted with people who on the surface have a "good" life: successful careers, relationships, they travel to exotic places and other "dolce vita" ingredients. Yet, when I take a closer look — there is very little growth and a lot of avoidance of the inner work. How do I know this? Because when I look in their eyes I notice pain, and they can’t fool me with their smiles. When they are triggered — instead of acknowledging what is going on, they run and pretend that nothing has happened. Self-awareness begins with honesty, brutal honesty with oneself. From a very young age our society teaches us to look outside of ourselves to find happiness. Looking within then proves to be one of the most difficult things we will ever do.
People chase: money, status, good-looking lovers, and so on and so forth. This excess, too much of a good thing then becomes a distraction rather than enjoyment. We all need to enjoy life and all the pleasures it offers but not at the expense of our souls. For healing to occur we need to be able to hear our soul and follow its lead. Life can and will present us with significant challenges such as: illnesses, accidents, or other painful wake up calls in order to push us back into an alignment with our soul’s true values and purpose. Wouldn’t it be much less painful and by far wiser if we didn’t wait for those wake-up calls and instead made conscious choices when it came to our lives?