Pain and Awakening

Some of us have had moments of clarity and real awakening…I have shared mine of 5 years ago this June as I jumped a plane to head on a trip and my deep realization I had really fused with the church I had pastored for 18 years.  Others of us have been slowly awakening.  It doesn’t matter which it is. 

This might be conversion in the traditional Christian sense but it also might be something quite different from conversion, which is clearly the situation for me.  My conversion was largely church enculturation, coming to realize my need for something more than Ron, my need for Jesus…but that is NOT when I went through awakening to the imago dei in me.

So that said, what are the portals to …
transformation of our consciousness or
the expansion of our consciousness or
the broadening of our awareness or perspective?

The experts say…

1.    DEEP PERSONAL PAIN

This can be deep brokenness from the loss of a loved one, a tragic accident a sudden or untimely death,
Relational brokenness or betrayal, divorce, loss of dear friend, coming face to face with deep personal limits or disappointment, discrimination, male/female or race.

Personal pain of this sort is usually not something most people experience much of till mid life…which is where for most people a sort of waking up is most likely to happen.

One Franciscan spiritual director says we live on the circumference of our lives and the only things that can move us to get deeply intouch with our true center is pain and prayer (which for him is a way of seeing life not reciting a list of needs to God)

Lets talk about deep pain for a moment…

When we experience deep pain we move from the outer edge of life where we live most of the time and we get deeply in touch with something core and central to us.  There are those that deny pain, push it to a level of unawareness and that becomes a part of their shadow.

Pain is our companion of transformation.  This has been often overlooked in modern Christianity in the West because life has generally and comparatively been so easy in the west. 

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One Response to “Pain and Awakening”

  1. I’m not sure I agree with the “easy in the West” idea, but I do believe that the Western “can do” attitude makes us take a mechanical approach to pain. After all, one of the beautiful things about Western thinking is to not simply accept, but to find the path around and through. The positive side to this is innovation. The negative side is a tendancy to want to “fix” things rather than finding the source of why they are there in the first place.

    Viewing pain as a companion–(maybe as a catalyst?)–doesn’t trivialize it down to being resolved in “seven steps” as in a magazine article.

    It occurs to me that if we short circuit the process by “fixing” the pain through anesthetics like alcohol (or other substances), over working to put things back as they were, unhealthy relationships, etc. then transformation can’t occur. It is like we put our soul on ice and stay where we are.

    Pain causes transformation, but it isn’t pretty. In fact it mostly sucks until you look back on it. Thus the reason “fixing” is sooooo attractive.

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