Pain is inevitable throughout life, although to carry it unnecessarily fuels suffering. Even though our wounds are not our fault, our healing remains within our control. Healing is a difficult and yet liberating journey of self-discovery. Forgiveness teaches us self-resiliency and self-reliance. It awakens us to a greater love and peace that resides within us.
It is why I am drawn to the words of the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle who wrote on his Instagram account recently: “If you cannot accept what is outside, then accept what is inside. If you cannot accept the external condition, accept the internal condition. This means: Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labeling it mentally. Embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace. This is your crucifixion. Let it become your resurrection and ascension.” Tolle reminds us not to resist our pain but surrender to it in order to transform our suffering. I realize this advice goes against what people want to hear. I equate it to running towards a lion instead of fleeing for your life. Nevertheless, by facing our fears we allow pain to move through us and realize pain is not who we really are; it is an emotional state we have held on to and kept alive.
Beyond our pain lies an ever expansive love which at its essence is our true nature. Even though our wounds may not be our fault, our healing remains our responsibility. To heal means to accept what happened to us and discover our true selves through the healing process. Let me be very clear: acceptance does not mean we like what took place. It simply means to acknowledge the events and work towards healing ourselves of the pain associated with it. People might say: “I wish the event never occurred because I wouldn’t have to deal with the anguish, let alone the long road to recovery.” Whilst that may be true if we believe everything happens for a reason, what if our pain is there to teach us self-compassion and forgiveness? Perhaps the lesson is not so much about the transgression that took place but how we love and nurture ourselves when we are wounded. How do you feel about this? I know it may be difficult to accept especially if your wounds are fresh. Let it sit for a while and try to see your situation through the lens of love and healing.
Dr. Mario Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist, writes in The Mindbody Code: How To Change The Beliefs That Limit Your Health, Longevity, And Success that “When you’re wounded, especially by significant people in your life, your empowerment is challenged, and your worthiness is called into question. The vulnerability your loss of empowerment creates within you allows the wound to damage your worthiness.” To reclaim our empowerment and worthiness once more, we must cross the threshold of pain and let go of our hurt and anguish. It’s essential you understand, I am not inviting you to forget, but to forgive yourself for being caught up in what took place. Through the healing process, we restore any sense of shame, guilt and anger we inherited as a result of our wounds. Dr. Martinez further explains, instead of trying to forgive the perpetrator or minimize the events of the past, we should focus on re-establishing our sense of self which is more important: “Rather than forgiving the perpetrator or minimizing the intensity of the misdeed, you recover the empowerment and self-worthiness you thought had been taken from you.”
What are your thoughts by now? Are you willing to take ownership of the past in the way you process it? There is rarely ever a right way to heal our wounds. Though, it requires courage to appreciate that our emotional wounds are not permanent and exist to awaken us to the loving presence within us. This presence can never be taken away or deprived through physical or nonphysical acts because, at its essence, this is the foundation of who we are. As a result, we lean into this oneness of love, knowing like a net which supports a trapeze artist should they fall, we will be guided through our healing journey. Our priority is to nurture ourselves foremost through the eyes of kindness and compassion however painful our wounds may be. After all, the love within us is far greater than our wounds because it is the greatest purifier and healer there is.