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pain is an ally that lets you look within


In the end of this series of looking within, I want to talk about an unusual ally that aids you to look within yourself. In fact forces you to do so. –Pain.

As I work with people and also with myself, I am more and more convinced that emotional pain is actually a friend. Unless we are pained, helpless, sorrowful, we never really question or look for answers from life.

And only when we look for meaning, do we really find it. Often people who come for therapy are those that struggle for a while with some kind of emotional pain and then approach a therapist. The therapy process-while it is supportive and relieving- is also painful at times; especially when one needs to confront their long standing patterns and habits of thoughts and behaviour that are the real cause of pain.

As contradictory as it may sound, the way to happiness is through pain. Happiness isn’t a butterfly sitting on a distant flower that we need to capture, to then be happy forever. Happiness is there, in every breath, in every moment, right here. We aren’t happy most times because we have difficulty realizing that happiness is within us. But when we are truly pained and we keep struggling with it, we begin to ask questions. We begin to wonder why we are actually so pained and that is where our real understanding of ourselves can truly begin.

As the first line of the poem expresses, pain is actually the breaking of the shell that encloses our understanding. So I leave you with this beautiful poem to do the rest of the talking…

Do read it maybe a few times. And then sit silently for a brief while and ask yourself a question. What is this situation, that I am so pained about, trying to teach me? What is it asking me to be or do? The insight will definitely come. It maybe a painful realization, but that’s what you need to focus on.. not the painful situation, but the learning.


Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

– Khalil Gibran


Do share with us how emotional pain has helped you question and heal yourself, how it has helped you understand things better

Image Credit: Reza


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