In 2020, I spoke a lot to my clients about pain, and our desire to get rid of it. We’re all afraid of pain, and sadly, the more afraid we are, the more pain we have. Pain is darkness, while joy is light.
It’s important to understand that pain is not the enemy. It’s only a messenger. And in 2021, I sincerely hope to see more joy.
I was 25 years old when I first encountered the concept of the body sending us messages. If you’re a spiritual person, you might think it’s God, or some other universal force. But no matter what you believe, paying attention to these messages helps greatly in maintaining your health.
Many years ago, when Eden was 18 months old, she had pneumonia several times in a row. We were worried sick, of course, and didn’t know what to do.
Our good friend Sharona told us to stop giving her antibiotics and put her on a dairy-free diet instead. As much as I trusted her knowledge about health, I thought she was a complete lunatic.
I remember saying, “But she has an infection in her lungs. She can’t breathe!” But we still changed Eden’s diet, and she recovered
So I called Sharona and said, “I’m ready to listen”. She gave us a book about health and healthy food, which we followed, and still follow today, in some ways.
At some point, Sharona presented the idea that “sickness is health”, which blew my mind. She said that when something is wrong with our body, it sends us messages to say “Hey, something’s wrong”.
That’s when I understood that when we have fever, we should be happy. Because our body is doing what it’s supposed to do to fight disease. So we should stop trying to get rid of it. That was almost 30 years ago. Since then, fevers have been welcome in our family.
Fevers, rashes, coughs, stomach aches and joint pains are all just messages. All our skin problems, like acne, are messages. Taking anti-symptomatic medication and putting on creams just “shoots the messenger” and covers up the problem.
Later, when I started focusing on emotional health, I realized it works exactly the same.
Emotional pain works just like fever. The body sends a message to the mind that something is wrong, and if we take the time to allow the pain to do its job, it’ll go away by itself.
Putting so much energy into fighting emotional pain, and forcing ourselves to feel differently, uses up the energy we need to recover from the real problem.
Can you see the cycle?
Emotions are signals our body sends us to help deal with the world. Therefore, the therapy process in Buddhism focuses very much on these two concepts:
- We don’t try to move the pain. We breath it in, until the body is convinced that we’ve received the message and it dissolves by itself. Darkness is not the enemy.
- Everything is temporary – good and bad, sun and rain, light and darkness.
It’s not easy to accept those concepts because pain is so real, and we are so used to fighting it, that fighting has become the first response. We are afraid of being afraid, which guarantees, that we’ll be constantly in fear.
The idea is that we need to embrace darkness and find good things about it. Dark moments are the body’s way of taking a break, re-evaluating and rebooting. Without the darkness, we wouldn’t be able to see the light.
So we need to learn to feel whatever we feel, until we’re done feeling it. If we continue fighting, it’s the same as taking medication to get rid of the fever that’s only there to help.
In our bedroom, we have hundreds of star stickers that glow in the dark on the ceiling and the wall. Every night, when we go to sleep (before I take my glasses off), Gal and I lie in bed and look at the stars.
It’s stunning! When our 3-year-old granddaughter comes to visit, after she showers in the evening, she wants to see the stars too. She eventually figured out that we could only see the stars when all the lights were off. Darkness is necessary to see the stars.
Be the light
In good times, we need to take in every second. And in bad times, we must find the good that comes of them and remember that “This too shall pass”. Just like our glowing star stickers, light overpowers darkness.
- Love is stronger than hate
- Hope is stronger than despair
- Compliments are stronger than criticism
- Kindness is stronger than evil
- Happiness is stronger than sadness
- Respect is stronger than judgment
- Courage is stronger than cowardice
The list goes on. Even in nature, we have more hours of light than darkness. Understanding this concept can bring peace to our mind and body.
About 3 years ago, I went to a health and wellbeing festival. There was a group of people in one of the stalls who gave wrapped cards to the people passing by. They told me to choose one, and said to everyone, “The card you choose is always the right card. It’s your message. It will tell you what you’re supposed to do in this life”.
When I opened mine, it said, “It’s a dark world. Be the light” (you can see it below). I stuck it to our fridge and every day, when I pass it by, or open the fridge, I see it.
I think every one of us can be the light. We can light up our own darkness and the darkness of others. We can help each other overcome struggles, heal pain without fighting and know that we all need darkness to appreciate the light.
This year, in 2021, be the light. Every day, do something kind – give a compliment, show gratitude, appreciate what you have, dream, take risks, be generous with your time and your skills, share your money, speak kindly, respect yourself and others, and remember you are light.
Happy New Year!
May 2021 be full of light,