The belief that suffering is working for us, on our behalf, so that we unfold more and more, becoming larger and larger in our own lives has freed me up to ‘handle’ pain with more maturity, more self-love and more confidence.
I’ve been hearing the general theme of this lesson over and over throughout my life, but it only really sunk in when I was sitting in the hospital with my dad as he was dying.
Because I learned this lesson through experience, I am suddenly so much more than I was before; it’s hard to explain.
When pain (emotional and mental) is acute, it’s all-encompassing and the people in it cannot bother to reach out or to be polite or to help someone on the outside who is offering help to feel helpful. The person suffering is completely engrossed in survival of self. What they need is someone who is strong enough to come in without any need for themselves; they need someone to come in humbly (not needing anything from the situation) but not meekly (shyly, unsure, suffering themselves).
That is what I feel like I can do now; it is what I saw and learned intimately while I shared time with my grieving family and friends and while I grieved for my life’s sudden upheaval and for the loss of our family anchor, my Daddy.
Acute suffering shifts us out of the bullshit of our daily stories and into the aliveness of every waking moment of the day.
Being in the hospital when my Dad was actually really dying was the most real thing I’ve ever experienced. We were standing in the room with him in utter disbelief and I remember saying, “This is really happening. This is the most real thing that has ever happened to us.”
Since that kind of suffering entered my life, it’s like my life has accelerated in the right direction (if there is such a thing). I am healthier, radiant, confident, supportive, REAL and deeply contemplative in a more acute way. Again, it’s hard to put into words. It’s like I was called into action; the kind of action that I answered on an unconscious level; the kind of action that doesn’t really need my thinking mind to get involved.
Sweet readers, has this happened to you yet? Have you been shifted into the complete aliveness of the moment? Did it fade, or has it remained and blossomed in you to make you more than you were? I’m curious because I didn’t work to make this shift happen, it’s just like all the inner work I had been doing in the years leading up to last November was all potential energy that suddenly ignited and became kinetic, active real change in my life.