To be liberated from pain is to surrender to it completely

words & design by Brian Thompson

For the past couple of days I experienced an incredibly intense, piercing pain in my neck and shoulders from a pinched nerve, that radiated throughout my entire body. It was absolutely paralyzing, I could hardly move.

The more I clenched up however, the more intense it became. So, rather than resist the pain—I dove straight into it.

Thankfully I woke up this morning with the pain having mostly disappeared. While the flare-up was quite brief, it provided some important insight into truly understanding what it means to suffer... which I'd like to share it with you now.

★ Approximate Reading Time: 6 ½ mins. ★


Resisting your pain—whether it be emotional or physical—will not resolve your pain, it will only deepen its despair.

You must give yourself to your pain—fully. You must surrender yourself to it, without any hesitation or reservation. Don’t deny it—allow it. With resistance comes tension, and with tension come stress, and with stress comes emotional suffering and psychological unease.

Resisting is not the way to be liberated from it.

In order for suffering to happen, however, pain must happen to someone. But in truth, you are not a someone whatsoever. You are not what you imagine yourself to be, your personhood is a dream of mind within consciousness. It is a manifestation of collected thoughts and memories to which you’ve become identified with, including the body they appear within.

No, you are not a someone, your true Self is Awareness. This is your essential nature. This is what illuminates your sense of beingness, your feeling of, I Am. Consequently, you can never be anything you are aware of, for all apparent "things" are only appearances within you, consciousness.

In other words, all of life is a dream within consciousness.

And this is perhaps the greatest teaching there is, that you are not as you appear. You are not the person who things happen to, rather, you are a presence of awareness within which the multitude of all phenomena becomes known.

You are not a someone, nor a something. You are an undefinable, formless, and limitless presence of consciousness; empty of ego, empty of a personalized story, individual predicament, emotional attachment, or existential quandary.

But you believe otherwise. You believe you are a person who thinks, feels, and experiences the manifest world. You believe you are precisely as you appear. But, no thing is as it appears—including you.

So, the answer to being at peace with any pain you suffer from, is found in the form of a question, Who do you presume yourself to be?

Who am I?

Do you believe you are an independent self who is separate from everything else in the world, who all things happen to? Or, are you a presence of conscious who is merely dreaming itself to be a person, who the appearance of a body, mind, others, and a world appear within?

The falsely imagined “self” suffers because it personalizes everything. It believes that everything either happens to it, or because of it. And since the false self can never truly know itself (because it doesn’t exist), it identifies itself—and every emotion—with the “outside” world that it perceives it is always relative to.

Your true Self of Awareness however, is simply aware of whatever pains appear to be happening. Know yourself as the conscious observer to whatever is happening, and not as the sufferer, who is only a self-concept that is falsely imagined and is projected onto every experience.

Remain only in the awareness of your awareness, not in any of the conceptual stories that mind is trying to personalize your perceptions into.

Perceive the all-too-real sensations that appear both within and without, but remain detached from them completely. Remember, they are not you, they only appear to you.

Do not clench up or cling onto anything that is sensed, felt, experienced or perceived. Focus on your in-and-out breaths, ignore all thought, and merge your entire beingness into awareness itself.

Be free from the sort of suffering that only comes when you identify as a someone who something is happening “to”; who suffers only from a thought they can’t let go of, who has personal problems, who is lacking this or that, or who somehow feels wronged by the world, by God, or by life itself.

Your suffering is found only within your story. No story, no suffering.

So let go of all the stories you endlessly wrap your experiences in—they only limit, constrict and confine your perception of reality.

Be free of false imaginings. Simply let all things be as they are.

In truth, the only thing you can suffer from is the delusion of your imagined personal identity. It is only the perceived self, the thought-form the ego has created for you, that suffers.

Pain happens, but it doesn’t happen “to” anyone.

Pain simply appears within awareness, and so too does it dissolve into the nothingness from whence it came. You needn’t suffer from it, as there’s nothing personal about it in the least.

Just like a violent storm that rages outside your window, it happens, but you remain free of it. You remain aware as its witnessing presence—quietly observing—but you remain untouched. As the storm wreaks its havoc, for you, all is well.

This isn’t to deny the existence of pain. Yes, the body will certainly twist, writhe and cry as it decays. It will bleed and break. Disease will come and it will get old and eventually die. And yes, the mind will certainly be challenged by its environment, it will experience happiness and sorrow, and at times it will be confused as to how it should best proceed.

But none of what appears to the body is actually true. What I mean by this is, while whatever happens to the body may certainly be a fact, it absolutely isn’t real.

Only You are real—Conscious Awareness—all else is a dream within it.

You are the awareness in which all happenings appear—including the appearance of pain and suffering. In other words, you are the source of it all. You are the happening itself; not what has happened, nor what “it” has happened “to”.

In truth, all happenings appear for you. Every perceivable thing that arises within your life is an opportunity for you to awaken, to transcend your humanity, and to realize your Self as awareness.

Merge your awareness into the pain itself. Become the pain, rather than its experiencer. Become the actual energetic vibration which is perceived. Realize that you are not separate from it, you are it.

All things are the creation of consciousness, and you are that. As consciousness, you are both the creator and the creation, unified together into a universal presence of infinite and eternal creating.

Transmute your pain into awareness. Become the pain and watch as it loses any relevance or significance to you, its witness.

You are not here to suffer. You are here to awaken from the dream, and is there no better way than through pain? Without pain, you would languish in sleep, forever dreaming you are something you are not, never aware of who you truly are—infinity itself.

This is your spark to awaken.