What is pain? Plotinus the ancient philosopher once wrote that “pain was the soul calling itself back to itself.” What do you think pain is? The term means something different to everyone. Pain takes many forms: physical, mental, and emotional. Pain signifies loss of some kind. We feel mentally estranged from ourselves or emotionally separated from our own goodness. We might be in physical pain.
In Spiritual Mind Treatment, when there is pain involved in our suffering, we have a term that works for me. It is “Right where the pain is, God is.” What does this mean? It means if we can catch the notion of God being present right where the pain is, we are opening ourselves up to wholeness. God only knows wholeness. God is perfect; therefore, we are perfect. (By the way, the term God is a Principle and a Presence, not a person on a cloud. God is Love and Law living through us.)
I think that passion will take us out of pain. You might say that you do not have passion for anything. That’s not true. If passion is a “strong feeling or a conviction about something,” then you have plenty of passion for being in pain. What if you could turn your passion around?
Michael Beckwith once wrote that “The pain pushes until the vision pulls.” I say pain definitely pushes us but it is our passion that will pull us out of pain. Passion is our creative power ignited. I am thinking of my own father. He suffered greatly during World War II and saw many atrocities. I can only imagine the pain he suffered. What I witnessed about him is that he was constantly creating beauty in his life. I think he was building back up what had been broken down in his life during the war. He was definitely passionate about those things: music, art, improving his home, gardening. Everything was about creating beauty.
Ernest Holmes once wrote that “the world would soon learn all it could through suffering.” When we allow ourselves to, we do learn through suffering. However, we are not learning very quickly. The world has been suffering forever it seems. We are not like the child who puts his/her hand on the stove and immediately learns it’s hot, ceasing to put his/her hand on the stove again. Why is it then, when we have an experience that we know is causing us to suffer or have pain, we repeat it? I’ve heard it said that humans are the only ones who do this. We are somewhat cruel to ourselves don’t you think? And, we use some crazy excuse that we just can’t stop.
So how do we turn pain to passion. Like everything in life, it is a choice. Some might say that is too simplistic. I say, yes, it is simplistic, and it’s still a choice. What we decide about our lives and how we feel is up to us. My mentor used to have a saying, “If you are not getting fed at that restaurant, don’t keep going back there to eat there.” We pay money at restaurants, and metaphorically speaking, we are paying something for our pain. We are paying with the lack of living the best and highest of ourselves. We are sacrificing a life of joy.
The more I write about this, I can see that I can’t talk any one into moving from pain to passion. It’s a decision, a choice, and it can be difficult. It takes sacrificing all that you might have thought was right about your life. It takes letting go of security and moving into uncertainty. Yes, I have an argument for those of us who hate uncertainty, too. Uncertainty is the way of expansion and growth. Uncertainty means we’ve stepped into the unknown, the only place where new creation can take place. Also, even though it might seem uncertain, there is something that is always there to catch us. I call it a Loving Universe that always has my back.
Shifting our passion from pain to joy will move us out of pain. It’s logical and I’m not sure why we wouldn’t just do it. I know we might say we don’t know how, but I say, there is always a way. There is plenty of help available if we need it. Also, if we can’t do it from a place of saving ourselves by loving ourselves, we can do it to make the world a better place. The world needs more people experiencing joy.
I don’t know about you, but I am not choosing pain anymore. If something comes up that causes me pain, I’m going to take a good look at it and see what gift lies hidden in it. I’m going to trust that the Universe is for me not against me. I am going to be more like my father and think of ways to build my life and bring beauty into it.
To sum it up, No one can do anything for us, really. They can try, but it won’t be lasting. We must do it for ourselves. Moving from pain to passion is an inside job, a choice, a decision and a life practice.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Co-Founding Director CSL Kaua`i and the Institute of Magnificence, Spiritual Coach, and Author of “What Do I Need to KNOW? 101 Thoughts That Changed My Life,” and “This Thing Called Treatment”