#1: What Pain Has to Offer

Pain is not an experience commonly associated with the word, “gift.” But many people would agree that life itself is a gift. And because some pain is an unavoidable part of life, they come as a package deal. Beyond its basic survival function which makes us aware of physical danger, pain plays an important role in our mental and spiritual development. When we have a painful experience - physically or emotionally - that discomfort prompts us to learn something deeper about ourselves and about life. When we’re painfully injured or become very sick, we’re forced to stop everything and pay close attention to our most urgent needs. In those moments, the little things we thought were so important, shrink and fade to the background. In a similar way, when we encounter the pain of things like embarrassment, hurt, or guilt, our life comes into sharp focus as we try to assess where that pain came from and what to do about it. In a very effective way, pain grounds us and demands that we immediately analyze what just happened and why. But whether physical or emotional, experiencing pain only becomes a gift when we avoid playing its victim. The moment we cast ourselves as a victim, the lesson or insight of our pain disappears as we allow that pain to devolve into suffering and blame. To be clear, this point does not minimize or illegitimize extreme suffering in the wake of things like murder, oppression, or abject poverty. The human mind cannot reconcile that kind of suffering from the limited belief perspective that we’re all just physical beings. It is only from a higher, soul perspective that a purpose for suffering can be perceived with respect to a given soul’s journey… an eternal journey that will eventually transform even the most extreme suffering into something meaningful. But thankfully - for most people reading or listening to this episode - we’re addressing pain and suffering in the arena of much less desperate circumstances. So, let’s continue in that vein…

#2: Pain Eventually Results in Progress

Consider how negative judgments about a circumstance negatively affect the experience of that circumstance. These judgments also determine whether we gain any benefit from a circumstance. We can all look back and find examples of how physical or emotional pain taught us to alter our behavior or perspective in some beneficial way. There’s no better teacher than going through an experience we can’t forget. This is the very definition of how we grow wiser and more mature. The trick is to leap over the confusion and disorientation that a painful circumstance can cause. And how do we do that? It’s not easy, but the answer is to work toward a state of mind where you automatically assume that the pain you’re going through is serving a higher purpose… for you, perhaps for your loved ones, and maybe even for humanity itself. This sounds outrageously idealistic, I know… but it’s true. Similar to you, the whole of humanity has the opportunity to learn from its sometimes painful mistakes. Both individually and collectively, we are all part of that learning. And though painful at times, centuries of cultural evolution - as well as many lifetimes of an individual soul’s evolution - are built upon the process of turning pain into progress.

#3: Growing Pains Are Good

Many of us have been conditioned to follow the path of least resistance. And why wouldn’t we? Yet, the smoothest path isn’t always the path to our greatest opportunities. And personal growth is the greatest opportunity we have. It is the very thing that gives us the ability to experience more and greater happiness. It’s so easy to get lost in a mundane pattern of acquiring comforts and avoiding discomforts. But sooner or later, that gets old. At some point along our endless evolution, each soul will eventually yearn for something more… for something else. We will grow to a place where we no longer want more, but rather, we want to become more. That’s the pivotal moment when personal evolution becomes our primary focus. And it’s then that we start tapping into an aspect of life - and of ourselves - that is truly magical. At that stage, we gain access to incredible insights, profound purpose, serene inner peace, and constant joy. Ironically, the first step into that stage is taken by letting pain be our teacher. Life itself is an interactive entity that inherently knows what’s best for us. It guides us using many tools. Pain is one of them. Once we understand the value and gift of pain, we will no longer fear it; we will embrace it. And by embracing it, we will grow beyond it.


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