Pain is Not Personal

"Unlike in our own culture where we consider illness or depression to be a personal liability or affliction, members of this tribe are not blamed or isolated in their suffering. Rather, suffering is a shared concern."

The more I study ancient methods of healing, the more I realize how essential it is to recognize that our bodies have wisdom that our celebrated 'logical' minds do not. 

And this does not just include our own individual wisdom. The human race has a collective wisdom based on universal emotionjoy, disgust, sadness anger, fear, and more. I believe this wisdom emerges when we work as a whole as opposed to separate beings. 

In the past year, I have been studying the importance of pain. I know it sounds strange, and even harder to accept - but there is a lot to be learned from pain. When we stay with it for long enough, when we take it as part of our human experience and not as something to be rejected, it transforms into lessons that we can use to better understand the world around us. 

I recently read the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, and she confirms the concept that our internal wisdom includes how we live, survive, and move through our pain. Take the story she outlines below as an example of collective wisdom:


With every tragedy in the world - earthquakes, hurricanes and storms, war and violence, rescinding rights from those who have earned them - causes a quickened heartbeat, anxiety, depression, anger, grief - ultimately, the same pain.

That must mean that the ultimate pain is not of the thing we are experiencing.

Our ultimate pain is existence.

To exist is to fear nonexistence. And the way that manifests in the way we are living, whether we are affected by a natural cause or by the hands of others, affects us all. 

That's why when a home is devastated by a hurricane, our homes are devastated too.

That's why when we take away the right to someone's voice, we take away our own voice, too.

We all have the same ultimate pain. Pain is not personal. It is not separated by bodies. It does not affect one body without affecting the other. Pain, although different in each narrative, is the same in everyone.

That is why it is so important to understand when we are afflicting pain on another, in a private or public realm. They are us. We are them.

Pain is not personal - it is universal. 

When to know if you're seeking spirituality for the right reasons

The deeper I dive into my own healing, how people heal, ways to heal, and the healing world, the more I find that a lot of people on a spiritual or healing path are in it for the wrong reasons.

To manifest something, like money or a partner.

To use it as a shiny frame around their life (ahem, social media). 

To deny or run from something. 

Spirituality then becomes about your ego's mission, not sharing more love with the world.

I am not immune to these tendencies. But I have recently become more self-aware of them. And now I want to challenge them. 

So here is She Enlightened's first ever (!!) writing exercise:

1.) Why do I speak spiritual knowledge or enlightenment? Do I want to grow, change something, or run from something?

2). Which spiritual figures do I follow, and what qualities do they have that cause me to follow them?

3). How do I share my spiritual message with the world? Does it feel authentic?

I hope this exercise serves you. 




Passive Resistance is Not New

I hold the belief system that we have no original thoughts.

How could we? Everything that we do and say is informed by our experiences, quotes that we've read, pop culture we've seen, the language(s) we've learned, peer pressure. We take that aggregation and we recycle it. That is why our environment becomes the foundation to what we believe in.

The idea of passive resistance that I suggest we take on in our current political and social atmosphere is not new.

Rosa Parks has been named the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement." And it only took one word - "no." 

By continuing to sit in a seat where others didn't want her, without yelling, or explaining why she deserved that seat, or punching the bus driver, she engaged in an act of passive resistance, which Martin Luther King used to launch the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-1956. 

Gandhi. John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Nelson Mandela.

These are the nonviolent practitioners we can look up to.

We don't take into account that resistance can be quiet. It can be nonviolent.

The anger of oppression is always justified, but we can use it to fuel us, not use it against each other.

We can call our Congress people and talk to them as though they wouldn't know any better.

We can protest peacefully.

We can boycott corporations that refuse to serve the LGBTQ population.

Maybe it could keep us going a little longer.

Maybe we won't feel as burned out, fighting with our anger.

It has also been concluded that nonviolent movements were twice as likely to succeed than violent movements (Chenoweth and Stephan). As Tony Robbins says, all lasting change happens in an altered state. 

Maybe we can make real, lasting change.

So do it. Google successful nonviolent action and see what inspires you.

Then go inward.

It could motivate your next project on your fight for peace.