“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ~Isaac Asimov
There are certain moments in life that can transform us in a tremendously positive way. Those are moments when an insight dawns in our minds that creates a big shift in our consciousness, making us experience reality from a whole different perspective. Those are moments that help us to grow out of our pain and mature into the best version of ourselves.
In my journey, I have experienced quite a few of such moments, and here I’d like to share with you three of the most mind-opening, profound insights that I’ve come to realize throughout the years which have immensely helped me to live a more peaceful and joyful life:
Pain is a wake-up call
For the majority of people, pain is the most dreaded enemy, and so when they experience pain, they try their best to fight against it or run away from it, as if it’s an evil monster that’s after them. The reality, however, is that pain is there for our good, if we pay close attention to it and understand why it’s making its presence in our field of consciousness.
Pain is there to remind us that there’s something wrong with our lives, and that we need to take action in order to correct that wrongness. Pain is urging us to alter our way of living so as to stop further experiencing it, and as long as we repress or neglect pain, we won’t be free from it.
Unfortunately, most of us are trying to silence our pain or numb ourselves to it using quick-fix methods. We take expensive medications, we indulge in mind-altering drugs and alcoholic drinks, we surf for hours upon hours on the internet clicking aimlessly here and there or mindlessly watch TV in our desperate efforts to forget our pain. But no matter how much we try to avoid experiencing pain, it’s always there, hidden yet alive, waiting for the right moment to manifest in our mental space once again.
If we’d really like to overcome pain, we first need to understand what it is and why it’s there. Then, we need to address its root causes, and not merely avoid it or treat it on a symptoms-level.
True love can’t be hurt
When people love, they usually place conditions on their love. When those conditions aren’t met, they feel disappointed and hurt. Then, they perceive love as something painful to be avoided and mistrusted.
True love, however, doesn’t place any conditions. True love gives to anyone without asking anything in return. So even if love is not reciprocated, it doesn’t matter to a person who truly loves. He or she keeps on loving, and that’s the only thing that matters to him or her.
Just like the sun radiates light, whose rays fall upon each and everyone without discrimination, in the same way a person who is loving radiates rays of love, and whoever comes in contact with him or her can experience the loving energy that emanated from his or her heart.
Nobody is evil
When, let’s say, a person performs an act of violence on another, we’re quick to call him or her “evil”, based solely on our disapproval of his or her behavior. But what if this person is living in harsh conditions of shame and oppression, and reacts in a violent way as a result of that, just like you and me would if we were in his or her shoes?
There’s no person alive who is “bad” or “evil” — people can behave in ways we consider aberrant, like in the above-mentioned example, due to numerous reasons, and to just call them names without exploring why they act the way they do doesn’t help us to understand them at all — in fact, it distorts our perception and creates a psychological barrier between us and them.
When we’re judging people, we’re basically projecting on them an image that has little to do with who they are and more about our own psychological conditioning and perception of the world. To better understand them, we need to let go of our prejudices and take a honest look into the life circumstances that lead them to think and behave in certain ways.
By doing so, we’ll be able to see things from their own perspective, and this will awaken our empathy towards them, which in turn will allow us to treat them in a more compassionate way.