Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (Hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, well hang on
I think there can be a belief on the spiritual path that when you awaken or come to a place of consciousness, nothing hurts anymore. Only good things happen. Life is roses and sunshine. You are above pain or heartache.
The more I study, and the more I deepen in my own awakening, I see that as false. Everybody hurts. That is part of the human condition. My teachers remind me often that as you awaken you feel things more deeply, and see things in a number of ways. I remember a story about an enlightened master whose hand was caught in the rope of a well. He waited for hours for someone to help him. When his student released his hand, he praised him with “Master! You are so above the pain! How wonderful to move past that condition,” to which the Master replied, “Oh, it hurt dreadfully.” In another story, we are told of an enlightened man who begins to weep and must leave the satsang when he is told his son has died. One student reacts with disappointment and say, “Huh! I thought he was enlightened,” and another master says, “How little you understand enlightenment.”
This weekend I hurt. I was in pain physically and emotionally. Earlier in the week, I was run off the road while driving and my back was injured. Emotionally, I was struggling with old patterns triggered by my physical helplessness. I identified with myself as helpless. I felt overwhelmed. I was quiet, sad, and in a state of longing for something. I could not tell you what exactly.
Friends circled around me. One followed up with me every day with words of celebration and encouragement. Another came and just was present with me. A third stayed with me energetically, reminding me of his presence and his love. And a relatively new acquaintance connected with me briefly. In all of that was the knowledge we all had times when we hurt, and they knew for me that it would pass. They knew for me that I would not identify with the pain, and that whatever I was experiencing would lead me to something new and important.
And I did. I learned about what was shifting inside of me. I saw some things about my past with brutal clarity and self honesty. I let go of some illusions and some delusions. I claimed some truths. Today I feel better physically and emotionally. Nothing in my life or my circumstances has changed, but I birthed the insight I needed.
The most important lesson was that I did not continue to identify with what I was experiencing. It was not pleasant. It was overwhelming at times. I slept alot. I gave myself permission to check out of the world all weekend. But who I truly am was none of that. That was my experience and my circumstances. But not Me. Not the truth that I Am.
Today is a new day. It is not better or worse than my weekend. I feel better, that is true. But my essential self is no different. And that moves me one step further to waking up to my self.