the moment when pain transforms into redemption

when rocks take the shape of waves... (photo by me)

there is truth to be found in our suffering. it’s our struggle itself that is the very path out from it.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” — Buddha

for anyone who’s inexplicably caught in the downward spiral of a crisis, or who’s suffering through some deeply personal struggles, there’s a pivotal moment that occurs when your pain has the chance to transform into redemption. it offers hope in even our darkest of moments.

nothing lasts forever, not even the harshest of our miseries and pain, and no matter how far you fall, there's always a bottom you can bounce back from.

when you embrace your inner defeat, an opportunity for clarity emerges, and it gives insight on how to climb out from the hole of your problems. when you accept the reality of your circumstance — and the truth of what caused it —and you surrender to it, you enable your relief to finally begin.

if we train our minds to be the watcher of our selves, we can recognize these moments when they occur. when the nature of a once indecipherable problem suddenly becomes clear, the solution appears.

how much suffering are you willing to take? when’s the breaking point for you? when have you had enough?

to be clear, this isn't about reacting in the heat of the moment when your emotions are flaring off the charts. this is about accepting responsibility for the part you’ve played in creating your own pain.

but how does the moment of redemption appear?

perhaps it’s in the midst of an intense fight in an intimate relationship, when you suddenly realize you’re of equal blame.

maybe it’s when you can no longer bend over and tie your shoes, because you’ve gained too much weight.

maybe it’s when you realize that you're always running away from all the things that are good for you, because you're simply too scared to try something new.

you’re too scared to get hurt, but you realize it’s too late, because you already are.

it’s when you wake up with a spinning head, bruised knees and bloodshot eyes and can’t remember how you made it home, and you decide to never feel that way ever again.

it’s when you realize that your bad habits have consumed you, that they've isolated you away from happiness, and that they've caused far more problems than what they've ever solved.

it’s that moment when you come face to face with your self-sabotage and you realize that not only does it have the upper hand, but that it’s already won.

it’s that moment when you suddenly feel as if the whole world is out to get you and you can no longer bear the weight of the burden you’ve somehow saddled yourself with. it’s when you think everyone knows your secret as if its stamped indelibly onto your skin. it's when you can hardly show your face to friends for fear they'll see the burning radiance of your shame.

it’s when you can no longer defend yourself with any more lies. it’s when you look in the mirror and all of the excuses you've told yourself suddenly become transparent. it's when you finally become sickened by your own inability to take decisive action.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." — Marcus Aurelius

in this chrysalis moment, fear rushes in. you panic. your heart beats fast and you break into a cold sweat. paralyzing anxiety overwhelms you. you shake, you cry, you scream, you gasp for breath under the tightening of your chest. you don’t think you’ll ever be able to recover and all you can think is, “why me!”

but then something transcendent happens, if you allow it. this is the moment when your pain has an opportunity to transform into redemption — if you don’t resist the wisdom that truth ushers in.

it's when you finally stop hanging onto your pain, when you let go and say, “ok, ok, i give in”.

this is the moment of acceptance. use your suffering to fuel your personal and spiritual growth.

turn your pain into a spark of awakening.

when you no longer hide from your problems you can begin to see right through them, and when you accept the follies of your ways, you can see that your suffering has been your own doing all along. it’s your choices that are culpable for the pain of your predicament, nothing else.

how you choose to react to all of life’s events will either create inner peace, or cause emotional unrest.

we tend to become addicted to our suffering when we don’t yet fully understand its nature or source. we feed it with the intensity of our attention and focus, and then it grows even larger. but when the moment of clarity strikes us, when we’ve finally had enough and are able to accept responsibility for our actions, we can finally offer our pain a knowing wink and nod, and say, “ahh, i see what you did there”.

by seeing our problems for what they truly are, we can turn them inside out. we can transform our pain into peace and well-being.

brian thompson