Pain “the great awakening”

It’s been said that if our minds are not aware we are a sleep. What does that mean? Well it means we go through life moving from one thing to the next never truly being present. We physically are there but our minds are lost somewhere in the chaos of the untrained mind. It means we experience pain and we cover it up with something that may offer comfort. It means we spend time with our family and worry about what will happen tomorrow. It means we take medicine because our untrained mind is always anxious. Life will be like a dream that we have no control over because we have lost our connection with ourselves and the world.

The beginning of the pandemic I experienced more cravings for alcohol than I had in years, I was scared and anxious. Every cough, or sneeze, made me think I was going to die or my children would die. I’ve battled substance use disorder, anxiety disorder, and anorexia/Bulimia most of my life. This was all ways to stay a sleep instead of leaning in to the blessing that pain was trying to teach me.

This pushed me into the corner and right where I needed to be to become awake. To start investigating what I was avoiding and the beginning of the journey home to my heart and true self.

As humans even at the most basic instincts pain tells us what we need. For example when you eat to much you feel pain in your stomach that signals to the brain “hey you, stop eating.” When our muscles are sore it signals to the brain, “hey drink some water, or stretch.” And yet when it comes to emotional and mental pain we just ignore it or cover it up with some sort of self made experience. We think certain things will save us, maybe a marriage, a diet, material things. When really when looking deeper if we think they will make our life better we are mistaken. Only I can make my life better as I allow the pain to teach me how to respond differently to it.

What pain gives us is an opportunity to become aware. To look deep inside and see what we need and what our experience truly is. We should rejoice in pain instead of covering it.

What is the pain you are experiencing there to teach you? Can you sit with it and understand it? I was told to “make friends with my pain.”

Right now at the end of 2021 we all feel the pain and for some of us it’s causing an awakening to happen. We are returning to our roots and finding healing through the earth, movement, and the most powerful thing we have for healing our breath. For some people it’s doing the opposite pushing them into a sleep like state by taking to much medication, avoiding connection, and living in a fear based mentality. This is causing more painful mind states.

I remember a time when pain was so unbearable because I would not just lean into it. I wouldn’t eat for days, I drank to the point it almost killed me. I didn’t know who I was or why I was alive. Some of you may know this pain too. That pain was a gift for awakening. It was a calling card to look and see what was really going on and where I needed to wake up.

Pain is the great awakening. Lean into it and allow it to teach you.

The Buddha said. “Oh nobly born sons and daughters of the Buddha remember who you truly are.”

Many blessings to you in 2022 and may we all continue on the path of great awakening.

So much noise.

There is a Buddhist Sutta that I suggest all who are interested in Mindfulness or Meditation practice should read called the Satipatthana Sutta. You can even find it on the internet for free at I suggest bringing your practice back to the basics is a great place to start. Sometimes we, I say we because I struggle with this too, I often get stuck in the noise of the world.

What do I mean by this? I have spent my whole life fighting this part of my brain that becomes obsessed with things, ideas, behaviors, sometimes people. So of course when I first started studying Mindfulness, Yoga, Buddhism, and spirituality this became an obsession too. I felt like if I was going to do it I wanted to do it right. To put it bluntly I became so obsessed that I was totally missing the whole point. After years of being angry, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and living a survival based lifestyle learning Mindfulness seemed very confusing. I switched my behaviors but I didn’t yet know how to switch my mind.

On the outside looking in I may of looked great, I was sober, practicing meditation, yoga, and started going to the temple. I was still very much living in a survival state of mind however with my mind constantly swinging from one obsession to the next, one thought to the next, one experience to the next without actually sitting and being present with any of them. This is why I say so much noise.

In the world we live in there is so much information out there feeding our minds, and without contemplation we may believe every teacher we hear, or every book we read, but this is harmful. We forget to just keep it simple. In a world full of “quick fixes” where “Mindfulness” has become a buzz word is anyone really learning how to be “Mindful”? Am I really learning how to be “Mindful”?

The practice is simple and the path is clear, “just be present with all sense experiences.” This is the practice at the heart of both Buddhist and Yogic teaching. However why do we struggle and make it so difficult? Why do we think we need a certain type of incense to be present, or a special oil, or a precious stone.? Now do not get me wrong, I love my incense, oils, and crystals. I have however have gotten lost because I became obsessed with which one will “save me.” Why am I still looking for things outside of what already exists inside me?

This is a question I must admit I do not have the answer for yet, but I do know that after 5 years of practice I am starting to see that the answer may be as simple as just existing in the moment with all beings just as it is. In the Sutta I talked about in the beginning of this post you will find some amazing answers, starting with awareness of the body, then the mind, then the truth of what exists in the now.

I can tell you this, my mantra forever will be “Right now, it’s like this.”

May this benefit any beings who need this reminder today.