Is it possible to find truth without pain?
Yes, I believe it is. I don’t believe the truth hurts. I don’t believe that the truth should be painful. If it’s painful then it’s probably not true because the truth isn’t in the pain. The truth is actually under the pain. The truth got buried by the pain, but the truth is not pain itself.
You’ve probably heard people say this and maybe you’ve said it yourself, “The truth hurts, doesn’t it?”. What is that about? It’s a projection of pain. We’re taking our perception of somebody, making it the truth, and then projecting that outward. We’re deciding what the truth of the other person is and then trying to use it as a weapon. That goes well doesn’t it?
We will never know the truth of the people around us, no matter how well we think we know them, we will never know their truth. We can’t because we aren’t living their experiences and having their thoughts and feelings. We aren’t them. For as well as some of us are able to communicate, those words will never be a completely accurate reflection of their truth. For as much as I try to communicate my own truth to you through all the writing that I do, it’s still inaccurate, it’s still not a complete reflection and you will still never fully understand my truth. Your perception of me will always be limited. The reverse is also true; no matter how well I know you, I will never a have a fully clear perception of your truth either. It’s impossible to do.
Accepting that limitation opens up the possibility that maybe we’re not seeing things clearly, that maybe it’s our perception that’s a bit wonky. If we accept that our perception is rather wonky by default, then we can learn how to question it. We can begin to figure out what the truth maybe, as limited as it is. The truth maybe simply that the other person is in pain and they are projecting that pain. That’s it. That’s the truth. We have no other explanation, we just see pain in that person’s behavior. That’s enough truth. We don’t need anymore than that to understand that they aren’t able to do better right now because of the pain they are in. The end.
That’s hard to get to. The ego wants more because it wants to defend itself. If the ego can make up an explanation then it can create stories of blame, shame, victimization, and guilt, all of which allow us to project the pain outward so that we don’t have to take responsibility for it. When we own that our perception is wonky it gives us the ability to shift it so that we don’t have to do this to ourselves. We don’t have to take the pain on and we don’t have to project it outward. When it comes to other people, the easiest way to deal with our perception is to simplify it by just assuming there is some sort of pain there. If we allow that and make that okay, then we can move on and not worry about it.
My truth became really simple: my wonky perception created 99% of the pain that I experienced in my life. I have not experienced the extremes that can come with being human and because of that I am able to heal by simply shifting my perception of what happened. I can look at the behavior of others, see their pain in the action or words and allow that to just be there without needing to change it or do anything about it. This is a hard place to get to if you’ve been through major trauma, but I believe the goal is the same, if not a bit harder to get to. This is the place where acceptance and peace happen because you realize you’re responsible for your own thoughts and feelings regardless of the external experience or the experience the human form has.
If your physical form ends up in an experience where you’re physically overpowered, it’s much easier to tell the story of victimization because of the nature of the experience. My physical form couldn’t control what happened, therefore I was a victim. Here’s the piece we miss when we limit our perception to the physical experience - we maintain emotional and mental control regardless of what happens to our physical being.
You are going to feel pain after an experience like this. That’s totally normal and human. It’s okay to allow that to happen. There’s a point at which we have to put some space between ourselves and the pain; we have to take back control over our thoughts and emotions. If we don’t, we start to tell the stories and then we make ourselves victims of our physical experience.
We’re not going for dissociation. We’re just putting some space there so that we can get some perspective. It’s really important that we do that to lessen the amount of pain we feel and also to limit the stories that we tell. By not creating any space we end up identifying with what happens. The ego gets in there and often causes more pain than it needs to because the ego’s natural tendency is to defend you. The need to defend is what causes a lot of the pain that you feel.
When you stop defending yourself it actually gives you the ability to feel the pain of the experience without feeling like you need to stop it. We go through this thing where we think it isn’t supposed to be that or we’re not supposed to be feeling the pain. But the reality is that we are, so the idea that it’s not supposed to be there puts you in a loop you can’t get out of. It causes you to start defending yourself because now you think there is a problem with how you feel. If you just allow the emotions, then you don’t do this. The emotions are what they are. You feel what you feel. You don’t need to argue with that. Just allow it to be there. Now you’re not defending yourself against your own emotions.
Defending the problem looks like caring too much about the problem. You care so much about the problem that you can’t put it down. It’s like a really good fiction book that you can’t stop reading. So you stay in that problem and you defend it vehemently because it’s so important to you. But you don’t see it this way because you’re so tied up in the problem. It’s messing with your perception.
The problem just is. It’s there. It has a story based on reality and that’s just what it is. Your job is to back away from that so that you can fix your perception of it. Remember that novel you couldn’t put down? Okay, here it is. Your perception of that book makes it seem really good. But it’s just a book and a story. It’s fiction so it’s not even real, it’s not happening, but you’re tied in anyway. The book itself is neutral. If I told you I didn’t like the book, you’d tell me I was crazy. Can you shift your perception? Can you see why I don’t like it? Can you understand it from the other perspective?
Being able to argue both sides of a debate is a very valuable skill because it allows you to take anything that’s going on around you and flip it around. Can you see it as good? Can you see it as bad? Can you see it as positive and negative? Can you find the point on which the argument between good and bad balances?
The book is the neutral point. It just is. On either side of that book is both the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. Your job is to see the whole thing not just the book in the middle. But what ends up happening is you defend the book and that tips the balance in one direction or the other. If you defend it as good it tips the scale one way and if you defend it as bad it tips the scale the other way.
Your problems are the same as the book. They are a neutral point in the balance. Your job is to be able to see the whole scale. The problem has both positive and negative attached to it. Can you see that? Probably not because you’re tied into defending the problem. You’re tied into seeing the problem as a painful experience. But is it? Can you learn to adjust your perception so that you can see the whole scale?
The reason you see it as painful is because you’re only focused on that side of the scale. You aren’t paying attention to anything else. You have to zoom out your focus to be able to see the rest, but usually people aren’t willing to do that because they are afraid of what happens if they don’t defend the problem.
As a society we are generally taught that it is irresponsible or somehow wrong to stop paying attention to the problems. We think that the goal is to spend our lives problem-solving. That reminds me of a meme I sometimes see on social media, “The whole point of being an adult is Googling to figure out how to do things”. The translation is that adulthood is all about solving problems, but what if that’s not the case? What if you don’t have to spend your entire life solving problems?
It’s strange to think that we can leave unsolvable problems alone, that we don’t have to be scared of turning our attention away from those things, but it’s true. You don’t have to focus on the problems you can’t solve. Clearly if you can solve it easily then go ahead and do that, but everything else you leave alone. Stop putting your energy into things that aren’t benefiting from your energy. Why are you draining yourself for no reason?
What’s the truth behind all this? Pain causes you to focus on all the things you don’t need to, either because you want control or you’re in avoidance. The reason why those wounds are present is individual to each person. This book would be incredibly long if I tried to come up with all the reasons why people do these things. I can’t really do that, but what I can do is offer you the opportunity to do the inner work for yourself. To do that you have to be willing to shift your focus.
I remember vividly being surrounded by a zillion problems and understanding intuitively that I needed to take my focus away from them so that I could do the work that would solve the problem. I remember emphatically defending the need to pay attention to the problems. I didn’t understand that I could just look away.
When I finally challenged it and started to look away, I realized quickly that nothing happened, it was fine. I remember being surprised by that because it wasn’t what I expected. My mind had made up the story that everything would explode the minute I turned away. I hate to tell you, if you’re telling yourself that story at the moment, the ending is pretty anti-climactic. Nothing happened. I was able to continue living my life, doing the things that I wanted to do and feel better while doing them. I no longer had to hang onto this incredible stress and pain that I was feeling. Suddenly I was free to live my life again without solving any of the problems I originally thought I had to fix before I could be okay.
The truth is very simple: you’re probably focusing on the wrong stuff and that’s what is causing you to be in pain most of the time. There is no pain in that truth. It doesn’t matter that you’re focusing on the wrong thing. It doesn’t matter that you have a screwy perception. It doesn’t matter that you’ve spent your life stressed out when you didn’t have to. None of it matters. The only thing that matters is that you move forward from where you are now differently. It only matters that you change the pattern. It doesn’t matter what the old pattern was.
The truth is only painful when you think that the truth is that you’re the problem or there is something wrong with you. When you’re starting out on the healing journey, this concept is the thing that stops you because it triggers the crap out of you. So just forget about this at first. You don’t need to go here.
When we first start out on this journey, we just don’t have the ability to get to there yet. That’s too much of a leap. That’s too hard. We don’t need to do that yet. I can from where I am today say that I was in fact the problem. But I couldn’t have started there. There was a whole journey I had to go through before I could legitimately admit to being the problem in my own life.
If you’re not there yet, that’s totally okay. To get there you have to understand where your focus needs to be first. You have to be able to stop defending the problems. You have to be able to stop arguing with it. You have to be able to find acceptance of everything, including yourself and others. You have to be able to see the value in the journey, even when the thing doesn’t work out the way you want it to.
Then once you’re okay with all the things and you start to see the value in the journey, only then do you start to realize that you were the common denominator in all those things. Then once you realize that and it doesn’t trigger the hell out of you anymore, then you can comfortably admit as I can, that you were the reason for that season. It’s just something you come to over time. Don’t force this on yourself.
It’s this concept that triggers the “blaming the victim” story that we hear so often in spiritual circles. Why do we hear that? Because people see this concept of us being our own problem as a form of blaming ourselves for what happens. Here’s the truth: there’s no blame in anything that I wrote. None. Not a drop.
I don’t blame myself for being the problem because I fully accept what my wounded self did. I fully accept that my wounded self could not do any better than she did. I’m not arguing with that and I don’t blame her for that. It just is. Acceptance means the blame is gone. It’s only when you haven’t accepted it and then to try to do this that you tell the story of blame.
Blame becomes a protection mechanism because you’re not in a place yet where you’re ready to accept it all. I wasn’t ready to accept it all when I started this. It was a truth I worked toward slowly over a long period of time. It was a realization that came much later. Now that I have the realization and I have acceptance, I see the struggle with the story of victim shaming. I see the problem in the concept and why it causes people to actually defend their pain. The usual defense in this scenario is that people feel entitled to their pain and they defend it when necessary.
Honestly yes, you are entitled to your pain. Who am I to change that? If you’re happy being pain, knock yourself out. It’s fine because the pain is actually an awesome place to hang out. You’ll learn a ton in that space. It’s only once you finally get tired of hanging out in the hot tub of pain that you get out, you find acceptance, and you stop defending the pain.
The thing is that the pain doesn’t need you to defend it. Pain is perfectly capable of defending itself. It really doesn’t need your help. The reason why we defend it so strongly is because we’re afraid of what happens if we lose it. Who am I if this goes away? The pain is like having a pet dragon. The dragon threatens to toast you like a marshmallow on a daily basis, but you keep dragging it around on a leash anyway. There is something about dodging those flames that’s appealing to people. What else will replace my pet dragon if I don’t have it? What else will I put on the leash?
Something that doesn’t threaten to turn you into dust, maybe? I don’t know. It’s just a thought.
You worry more about having an empty leash than you do about being turned into dust. It’s absolutely fascinating what pain does to our perception. It just messes with your focus and makes you think the bigger problem is the empty leash. It makes you hang onto the pain longer because you don’t know how to fill the space. It makes you defend the problem because then you decide it’s better to have a problem than an empty leash. You don’t see what that does because you’re too focused on the pain.
Shifting your focus away from the pain allows you to see these things clearly without needing all the other stuff that goes with it. You don’t need to trip over it because you see it right away. You don’t need to argue with it because you understand what the argument is about. You don’t need to defend it because you get why that’s a problem.
This doesn’t instantly. You don’t learn this in a week. This is stuff that takes time to figure out. But once you get good at it and get some mastery around it, then you can do it easily. You can shift your focus quickly because you understand the value in the doing that. What is the value in doing it? Internal well-being. Life is no longer a problem. The things that used to be problems no longer bother you. Life happens and it can’t ruffle you so easily. Life gets simpler. Dealing with challenges gets easier because you understand how to do it. The whole thing improves. Your ability to do that comes from your ability to control your own focus.
The truth isn’t painful because you understand how to control your focus. You don’t immediately jump to defending the problem or yourself. You just get it and you’re okay with it. The truth doesn’t have to be painful because it just requires you to fix your focus. The truth isn’t painful, but your focus mostly definitely is.