Let’s face the simple truth, almost all of us suffer to a certain degree. There’s not one person I know of that doesn’t suffer throughout their life. Suffering is perhaps the most common human state, it is a state we all share and know very closely. It takes many forms from anxiety, depression, emotional loss, death in the family, accidents, mental illness, war and much more. It is so widespread that in a way suffering is a very powerful connecting point for us humans, it’s what makes us similar and potentially closer to one another, more empathic. However, it seems that although we share suffering and we all know it’s part of our lives, we live and pretend as if we do not suffer, as if suffering is strange, peculiar, out of the norm. We try to hide our suffering, deny it and play it normal in society.
Society denies pain
Our society (which we create) lives in denial. We try to live an image of ourselves that doesn’t reflect the truth of our life. We pretend to be ok while conflicted inside, to seem relaxed when there’s emotional turmoil and to appear confident when we are shaky from doubt. It has become so important for us to have a “good” self image instead of conducting a truthful way of being. We will do so much just to cover the fact that indeed we are not perfect, nor do we have all the answers to our pains and confusions. This is partially understandable, as we need a certain social code of behavior in which we don’t all constantly vomit our pain and suffering on one another, but manage to contain our inner world and deal with it responsibly. This would have all been ok unless we took it to the extreme of creating such a feeling of loneliness and alienation from one another when it comes to suffering. As long as someone feels good, we see them as normal, while the moment they are in a time of crisis or experience deep suffering they become outcasts all of a sudden. Why is that so? What are we so afraid of? Are we perhaps afraid to admit our own suffering?
Should I be special or should I love?
I often ask myself why is it so common that people who suffer feel outsiders, deeply judged, alone? How come that the one thing that could bring us together, make us help one another actually makes us feel distant and alienated? In my understanding the reason we allow it to be so is that we still mistakenly prefer being special and unique over being kind and loving. We don’t know yet how to bridge these two aspects of our humanness. And in order to feel special in a society where everybody tries to be special, we need to push and fight and pretend and manipulate. Pretty harsh, isn’t it? We need to make the other seem weaker so that we can seem stronger and better. We need to make the other seem strange in order for us to seem ok and accepted. But deep down by doing this to another we do the same to ourselves, because the day we will be on the suffering side, the same judgment we have used against another will be waiting for us around the corner within our own being.
The Solar plexus and the Heart centers
In terms of chakras, we give a lot of significance to the solar plexus chakra as a center of identity, which revolves around status, individuality, personal power and too little significance to the heart center which truly knows what’s true and important in human life. The solar plexus chakra teaches us the true meaning of individuality, of having a strongly defined personal presence which has its place in the world. But it doesn’t teach us the lesson of love and compassion, of sensitivity to another, unless it blossoms and connects with the heart center. The heart center is like an inner compass that simply knows what’s real and valuable, it recognizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of all human beings and sees the common within every day experiences. Therefore the heart center teaches us how to feel for another and how to see the similarity between me and another. This allows us to feel deeply intimate with other human beings and relate to their suffering in the same way we relate to our own. Therefore the heart center is extremely important in terms of human development and maturation and in terms of supporting one another on this journey of life.
Instead of being alienated we can be there for one another
I deeply believe that recognizing and admitting our suffering in front of ourselves and others is a key to intimacy and closeness. I believe that it can help us feel so much less alienated and have great support available to us from one another. The very fact that we all know what pain and fear is can be such a catalyst in helping us understand another suffering friend and be there for them when they are in need. This would also eliminate the feeling of being not ok when I’m suffering, of being somehow strange – a feeling that produces a lot of stress in all of us. It would eliminate the need to put so much effort on being perfect – an impossible task, but train us to dedicate our energy to embracing all parts of our human existence and thus living much more at peace with what we are as well as what others are. If I don’t deny my own suffering and I’m willing to be open about it, it actually makes me a strong human being. It also enables me to be open to other’s suffering and understand them much better.
Love your suffering
The uniting of the solar plexus with the heart center in our own consciousness allows us to move from a reality of violence and separation to one another, to one of cooperation and unity. You don’t need to feel alone in your suffering, in your pain and fear, because we all experience the same suffering, we all share this experience. It is a great relief to know this because one of our greatest sufferings is that we feel so separate from one another, so alone, so unsupported. Almost every suffering person will tell you how lonely they feel, how much they feel not part of society. A friend once told me, as he was suddenly suffering from a nerve problem which for a few months limited him very much, that this world belongs to the healthy, that if you’re not healthy there’s no place for you in society. And I can say that when I had my times of crisis of intense anxiety, I felt the same. All of a sudden you feel so not belonging and that’s truly an unpleasant feeling. And since we create this reality in our own minds, only we can change it – starting with ourselves. We can start by accepting deeply our suffering, loving it, embracing it, learning to listen to it.
Bottom line…choose love
We need to accept ourselves with the pain and suffering, we need to learn how to expand our embrace in such a way that we can see pain and suffering as a normal part of human life. The more we do so, the more we can feel relaxed in front of people, in society and relieve much of the anxiety and stress that are produced as a result of our resistance to suffering and our need to be special in society. Bottom line – we need to choose love more than being special. We can still be special and unique but not on the expense of love and humanness. After all, everything in life has it’s place, also specialness, but only when it’s not receiving the central stage.