Harnessing the power of pain to reach new heights
Are you experiencing any physical pain now? How about financial anxiety? Loneliness and depression? Guilt or jealousy? Mired in addiction? Whatever the cause of our pain, it is helpful, illuminating and liberating to understand how to perceive and unlock its hidden potential.
V’afilu b’hastora shebatokh hahastora bevadai gam sham nimtza Hashem Yisborach. Gam me’achrei hadevorim hakashim ha’omdim alekha, Ani omed.
Even in a concealment within a concealment, Hashem may He be blessed is certainly there. And behind the difficult things that stand before you, I stand.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslev
Even in the most constricted times in our lives, the Source is there, hiding behind the scene, standing with us. Revealing and hiding and revealing and hiding Himself – this is what to expect in our relationship with the Source.
Like a roller coaster, every great ascent requires the momentum of a previous descent. We learn that the ups and downs, the “good” and “bad”, the hidden and revealed that we experience are really all connected – somehow, all good – part of the ride.
There is a teaching in martial arts, where we learn to redirect an adversarial force coming at us, and use it to our benefit. Kind of like a windmill, harnessing the power of the wind to generate energy.
This wisdom applies to all that we battle with – we can use the force of what’s sent to us, what we are experiencing, to create spiritual electricity. Once we move beyond the initial shock, fear and pain of the forceful charge, and utilize our intellect to frame it properly, it becomes, not only the fuel to harness momentum for the ascent toward the next rung on our ladder of potential – it retroactively redefines the meaning and sensation of the experience.
Teshuva (repairing and returning to our true self through contrition, and determination to not repeat an act), has the power to retroactively define negative energy we unleash into the world. It’s not just an eraser – it transforms the wild lines into priceless abstract art fit to be proudly displayed over your parent’s fireplace.
When we understand the significance and opportunities that our descents in life provide us with – the birth pains before new life – we can borrow from and experience the joy of the next ascent – right now.
No greater example of this exists than the soul’s descent into this world. What a painful experience – ending, if you’re lucky, with a breakdown of your mind and body – with merciful strangers tending to your most personal needs. Yet, we learn that the soul cherishes the rare opportunity to reincarnate into a human form to gain another chance at achieving its rectification.
So when we are sick, in pain, depressed, full of anxiety and fear – when the goodness of the Source seems concealed – it’s time to elevate to a birds eye perspective and transform the sensation of pain into excitement for what’s to come. Just watch and let the painful force build the required momentum to scale the next obstacle in your life. This process re-occurs again and again – leading up to the final great ascent – the return to the Source.
Sometimes, a positive attitude can even help shorten the duration of the descent. Let’s learn from the wisdom of our prophets and boldly apply it to our life in real time. This is not just radical transformative talk – its eternal truth distilled to spiritual medicine prescribed to perceive with higher awareness and joy.
A spoon full of Emunah (an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason) helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down – so that we can reach even greater heights.