Pain speaks. And often it doesn’t use nice language. The one who recognizes pain’s voice and does not react negatively toward it, is the one who carries peace.
Recently, I observed part of a very nasty Internet exchange between two women whom I know to be otherwise very warm and witty. However, on this evening one of the women was passionately spewing such vitriol toward the other until I couldn’t even bare to read all of her messages. While I don’t know this woman personally, I do know a little of her life story, which is filled with unimaginable pain.
My first reaction, like many others who witnessed this, was that this woman was carrying on like a feral child in her brash and energetic verbal lashing of the other. I wasn’t privy to the entire conversation and so I don’t know exactly what set her off or, more specifically, what she perceived that the other woman had done to deserve such insulting language. I am not taking sides here when I point out that, by the time I logged on, it appears that the other woman was backing away and had stopped responding to the tirade.
It wasn’t long, however, before others began weighing in and stroking the embers. In one of these additional exchanges, the woman with the fiery tongue said to another that she was in deep pain. In that moment the truth of what I was seeing began to crystallize. Where I’d originally been turned off by her behavior and assigned my own mental judgment, which labeled her as childish, a troublemaker and even slightly insane, I realized my error at the same time that I realized her true motivation. Her pain was speaking.
I thought about this for most of the evening and into the next day. How often does pain speak to us? And how often do we respond in kind? In his book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle speaks about the pain body and never was it so evidently in the driver’s seat than in the battle that waged on my computer’s screen that evening. I suspect many missed it and, instead of ignoring the wails from the pain body or offering comfort, several encouraged the pain body to continue. I suspect it was their own pain bodies, which so willingly joined the fray in those moments.
The bottom line is that when we are faced with conflict, we need to be aware of pain’s ability to speak. We need to tune into and recognize its voice within ourselves and we need to know how to respond to our own afflictions with peace and love, instead. Or, at the very least, we need to know how to ignore it much the way that a mother ignores a petulant child during the throes of a temper tantrum.
The next time you are tempted to fly off the handle with someone or the next time that you are the recipient of someone’s biting insults, pause for a moment and look who’s talking. And then choose who will respond: Peace? Love? Or Pain? When you only allow peace and love a voice, not only will your own pain body begin to quite down and fade, but you will join the ranks of peacemakers around the world who serve as healing instruments. You will become the one that offers to others what we all long for. You will deliver to the world what we cry out for on a daily basis. You will also be one who is used to unlock the peace in others.
NOTE: For a brief illustration on the pain body, check out what guest blogger Valerie Saurer has to say over at Horizons Magazine (http://horizonsmagazine.com/blog/?p=5487)