That’s very hard to comprehend. We all know pain and suffering. We want the suffering to end. We want to reach a Promised Land where the suffering doesn’t exist anymore. In working with those who are dying or facing their inner demons, Stephen Levine observes that true healing happens when we go into our own pain so deeply that we see it is not just our pain, but also everyone’s pain. We are all damaged. Once we really get this, it becomes life changing because we understand that each person has their own inner demons. After years of personal growth work and living through a cancer diagnosis, I see that the whole world is in pain.
It has been said, that our relationships are similar. We tend to believe they begin, they last for a period of time, and they end. Yet we are always in relationship and always connected to one another. Our relationships manifest and grow in unique ways, but before that manifestation, they already existed, and after it “ends,” those relationships continue. We remain in some sort of relationship even with those who have died. Former friends, former lovers, former relatives continue to live on in our lives and are part of who we are. The visible manifestation may end, but the actual relationship never ends. Our lives were joined and we are never separate from one another. Once we face our pain and experience it, a shift occurs in our view of others and how we begin to live our life.
The everyday tedium of our lives is the desert we wander, looking for the Promised Land. Our relationships, our work, and all the little tasks of life are all part of the gift. Even happiness can be painful because as we move through life, we learn we may loose it.
Life is very short. The moments that we experience are quickly gone forever and we’ll never see them again. How will we choose to spend the little space in time left to us? Will we waste it spending our time about thoughts of how difficult life is? Or will we break away from the “wanting” and come into openness? The openness comes from finding joy in all that surrounds us. Joy includes the suffering, the happiness, and everything that is our life. Acceptance is the kind of healing worthy of our struggle.
So our relationships never end. We can walk out, get divorced, but we can’t end them. Such an ending would require us to be something we’re not, which is separate from others. When we try to become separate, the suffering begins again. Maybe Stephen Levine was right when he said, “we are born to heal into life.” For each of us the healing is different, but the purpose is the same. Stop the madness of the ego, which says, look out for yourself. Connecting on a deeper level within our relationships opens us up to love and realizing we are already in the Promised Land.