The Beauty of Pain

How can one call this world a paradise when there is so much pain? Though the planet provides for us abundantly, still so many go hungry. And the same aspects of nature that strike us with awe can wipe away lives and take as much as they give.

Yet even the thorns of the rose hold beauty, in that all of our “negative” and painful experiences are the media of emotional evolution, and thus are in fact the catalysts for the expansion of paradise.

All of our painful experiences, be they circumstantial or self-created, hold within them the power, and perhaps even the intention, to create a positive shift in our lives.

The universe wants to create a shift in us, it wants us to evolve and align ourselves with its undercurrent of forward motion — at the most personal level and as a collective. And when we take a negative experience and allow it to deepen our sensitivity, broaden our perspective, take away some of our ego, and get us to connect with what truly matters, we are rising to the grandest invitation of the universe, which is emotional evolution.

Evolution of any kind cannot take place without the key element of adversity. Without reason to strengthen itself, nature would have never arrived at the dazzling array of colors, spots, stripes, and level of skilled creatures it features today — let alone arrived at the formation of a human being and the level of consciousness that allows you to be reading this book.

In the same way, without negative experiences to challenge us, we would never grow, and emotional growth ultimately allows us to love more deeply and find greater happiness through the clarity it brings us. Emotional growth is what gives us the eyes capable of seeing the paradise we live in, as well as the power to expand its borders even further into the future, all because it gives us precious sensitivity.

Some say ignorance is bliss, but the ignorant and naïve are not exempt from pain, nor are they any better prepared for it. Emotional experience, however, prepares us very well, and has the power to eradicate pain altogether because it begets empathy.

Empathy is the prize of emotional evolution, and the sole ingredient required to take this paradise further and further, little by little. The more empathetic we become, the more hesitant we are to inflict pain on others because we understand what it is to suffer. The more empathetic we become, the more eager we are to reach out to others who are hurting as we have hurt before, and revolt against the recurrence of unfairness we have faced. Thus the hidden, yet blatantly transformative power of pain is what actually gives momentum to planetary peace.

Of course we can reject the power of pain by callousing our emotions, retaliating with the contribution of more pain, or accepting victimhood or shame as our long-term identity. But we can also choose to let go of our desire to have control, allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, and let the universe do its work of awarding us greater sensitivity and a greater paradise.

The rise of sensitivity and empathy within us is the universe’s way of validating every single person’s pain, because it gives our pain a purpose and tells us that it wasn’t all for nothing. In this way there is no suffering that ever goes unwitnessed, no terrible injustice that does not eventually bear fruit for us all. The universe sees us, every one, and all that we have each endured matters beyond what we could ever know.

This perspective on the silver lining of suffering does not promote the necessity for pain or condone acts of injustice. Rather it gives meaning to the aspects of life that would otherwise leave us discontented and blind to the grand and beautiful design of Earth.

Whenever we experience turmoil, we often have the urge to want to push it aside or get through it so that we can “get back on track” and continue with our lives. But the reality is that even when we are in pain we are on track. The feelings, the lessons, the expansion of the mind and heart that are all part of pain is what our real work here on Earth is. The universe is saying, “This is exactly where you are supposed to be.” Not in the sense that you are destined for and deserving of suffering, but in that this is your higher work; this is your opportunity to evolve and become a stronger, softer, greater you that will contribute to and experience the world all the more deeply.

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