Using Pain As Your Teacher

“Stop trying to not be miserable.”

This was a piece of advice I never knew I needed.

The story where I received this advice hearkens back to the time I went to India for a 10 day silent meditation retreat (called a Vipassana retreat).

As a meditation teacher with many years under my belt, I went in with a bit of an ego about how easy it would be for me.

Spoiler alert: it was not easy.

As the days passed, I grew more and more uncomfortable sitting on the floor with an erect spine. I shoved one pillow under my knees… then two. Pretty soon I was sitting amidst a pillow fortress, desperate to stop the discomfort.

A monk came over to me. He wasn’t supposed to be talking either. But he leaned down and whispered in my ear…

“Stop trying to not be miserable.” *Mic drop*

Something shifted. Once I finally felt the discomfort coming up in my body, the whole retreat changed for me. All my senses became heightened and waves of joy flowed through me.

The experience became euphoric. But only once I allowed the paint to teach me something.

Because this is such a powerful message right now, I wanted to pass along a quick audio teaching on this subject.

Using pain as your teacher

Getting comfortable amidst discomfort isn’t easy. It’s also something we should all be practicing right now.

If you’re feeling scared, stop trying to numb yourself of your pain.

Even if feeling the feelings is painful, I want to challenge you to embrace the uncomfortability. To sit with your feelings and let them flow through you.

The most growth occurs when we are challenged.

So here’s my humble request: let yourself really feel what’s going on. Not intellectually. I want you to see what comes up in your heart.

Perhaps put down the weed and the wine so the feelings are raw and real. Then, let them flow through you.

Cry and scream. Take a bath. Pull out a journal and write down what’s coming up for you.

There is healing in this.

And in your rage and sadness, ask yourself if you can extend some love even to the people you may be angry at. Imagine the world leaders, politicians and CEOs who have created so many unsustainable systems — and imagine their hearts opening.

Imagine the healing that is possible. For you and our species.

There is power in this.

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