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There is a force that exists in everyone’s life and it is universal to people across all cultures, social stations, and the progression of time: Pain. We all have it, and we all spend most of our lives dancing with it, trying to figure out how best to deal with this monkey on our back. It is a fixture, inherent. As much as we might like to, we cannot mitigate it completely or remove it outright. It abides and always will be. Thus, we should not waste our time.
We should instead seek to make it as beneficial to us as possible. In this manner, we transmute something “fixed” and dissolve it, reshaping it to serve our purposes, becoming more powerful. Our pain can be unlocked.
Solve et Coagula, brothers and sisters. But, in order to do this properly, there are some pitfalls we must avoid…
Error: Idolizing the Pain
In this way, having some pain, you are not special. There is no pain in your life that is unique to you and only you. Somewhere, somehow, someone else has experienced it. This is critical to keep in mind. If we fail to recognize this, then we will use the pain to define ourselves. We have then locked in the pain and celebrated it. Meditating on the Collage Exercise will help you to see this in action, if it is present in your makeup. In this state, we have elevated the pain above our own will, to a degree — we are serving it rather than the other way around. It is steering our life. Find these blocks and clear them by reflecting on their lack of unique identity.
Error: Erase Pain with Forgiveness by Default not Insight
Society teaches us that the secret to transcending pain is to forgive, be it forgiving ourselves or by forgiving whatever wronged us, or both. This is pragmatically false. What one must understand is that forgiveness is born from insight, which has three components. First, we understand why we did what we did. Second, we come to understand why the other acted as it did (be it a person, an accident, a disease, a natural disaster, etc). Lastly, we see how the pain had an overall purpose. When all of these components come together, that is when true forgiveness is achieved.
This is all fine and good. However, there can be a herculean gap in time between point A (the painful event) and point B (all those factors coming together) where true forgiveness is achieved. And, people can go through their entire lives in a true effort of attempting to forgive, but never hitting that point.
Instead, existing in a state of “false forgiveness”.
This false forgiveness, which must be substituted in the interim, is a poison. The reason is because when the above components are absent — the person must do something internally by default. In short, they must diminish their own value. They have to, at some level, write off their pain and what they are feeling as not important in the grand scheme of things. Inside, their value, thoughts, and feelings, must to some degree be wrong and of a lesser value, in lieu of a trust that those components are out there somewhere in the ether. Basically, my personal experience is not as important as the grand design.
This auctioning of the soul happens because they are forcing the pieces to fit before their appointed time. And, their effect is cumulative. Over enough of this, and the individual becomes subsumed, a mere vehicle of expression for some nebulous transcendent reality. Sadly, the pain is still there. But, this appears effective to the person because a portion of the original pain was swapped out. They simply exchanged it for the hollowness generated inside by this empty mental sacrifice. One out, another in.
This creates an illusion of transcendence, which becomes a cage of the spirit.
Error: Avoiding Pain by Instinct
It has been said that all living things seek to minimize pain and maximize pleasure. On a certain level, this cannot be disputed. However, it has also been said that if you want results different from what others are doing, you cannot replicate their methods — it is insanity to do what they are doing and expect a different result.
Unable to find a symbiotic relationship with pain, the majority of conscious life simply goes into avoidance mode. Their life becomes a dance of trying to head it off at the pass, and soaking it ineptly when it arises.
We get this from our animal nature, and it springs from their facing the reality of pain reactively, but with limited capacity to shape their inner and outer environment. The problem is, this is a crapshoot that ends up shaping us into a box. In personal development, we call this a comfort zone, and we only break it when the pain of not breaking it appears greater than the pain of remaining inside of it.
The end result is stagnation and decadence.
We become zoo animals in the game of life. Pain, has become our master, and inevitably, others will reach inside the cage and leverage our dependencies for their own advantage. We, as humans, have far better options. Our Path is one of fundamental rebellion, in the deepest level of the psyche.
We can do what no others dare to do: Use pain positively.
Solution: The Gem Inside Pain, Find the Mistake
The primary step one takes should be to reframe pain entirely. It should not be perceived as a force with which to be dealt. This frames things in an one-against-the-other, war mentality, which the Darkworker is destined to lose. Remember, pain is fixed.
Instead, let pain reveal its true face to you. Make it animate and conscious — it is a teacher.
Pain is feedback — telling us how we need to alter our mode of operation relative to our desires. For example, if stabbed in an alley by robbers, we could ask: Did my lack of vigilance cause this? Was it unwise to walk there alone? Could I have had more self-defense training? What could I have done differently?
That, is the key. We must suspend our emotions long enough to ask — how did I contribute to this and how can I adapt to prevent it? It is important to do this from a place of stern self-love. You may indeed have caused it. Other times, perhaps not — some things are random. Rarely, but it does happen. You should try to find personal fault, erring of the side of caution. Almost always, there is a personal responsibility component to all pain. In this inquiry, be gentle, but firm.
The one exception to this can be disease, and it takes a hard look. Did your health or dietary habits contribute to the arising of the disease? Did you take unwise risk in how you contracted it?
If you can find no personal fault in pain — with a real scrub-brush applied in your mind, these scenarios are far more unlikely than we would think — then step back and ask yourself about adaption. What does this event force you to do now? How does it serve to make you stronger? How must you adapt?
There is always an answer to the above. Always.
It is important to note that this process is self-centric. At this stage, you don’t give a damn about anyone else involved in the situation, or how they contributed to it. That’s blame. Until you have harnessed the pain, blame is a waste. First, dominate the pain and bring it into submission, then turn it outwards.
Otherwise, it will rend you from the inside.
When you have identified your previous or current mistake(s), you are ready to continue.
Solution: Turn the Pain, Forgive the Mistake
If you’re doing this correctly, identifying the mistake should piss you off. Often, you can encounter significant resistance. The more you fight inside, the more you know you’ve hit paydirt. That’s the good stuff that leads to real power. And, if you want power, you’re going to have to find the fortitude inside of yourself to run directly at that wall.
You should understand, this part of the process is painful because dissolving the fixed is painful.
This, is where self-love becomes your liberating broadsword. Most of the time, all this inner-thrashing in the face of our mistakes is because of cultural conditioning. We are trained to equate mistakes with death in many ways, even when the two are completely unrelated. Sure, making a mistake with a weapon pointed at your head is fatal, but looking stupid in front of your peers is simply not. Yet, we feel the same way. To make a mistake is not simply a natural process of learning — we have an inner lie that it diminishes us, makes us weaker.
Frankly, this is probably the stupidest part of our culture, collectively. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you open your eyes, the person that is identifying their mistakes, hugging them with open arms as opportunities, and adapting accordingly is the one who is ascendant. It’s all the other cowardly schmucks who are playing the blame game and drowning in their own fear.
To get around this — 90% of the time — simply ask yourself the question, “How could anyone have made this mistake?” An answer will surface, process accordingly.
Keep in mind, if others were involved, don’t worry about them. You may ask, “How can I get my team to stay on top of deadlines better?” But, that is concerned with you and your operation. At this stage, other people are their own damn business.
When the resistance is no longer present, you are ready to proceed.
Solution: Harness the Pain
Allright, so we have identified our lesson and accepted both our error and what needs to be learned. Obviously, we want to take steps to adapt as we have deemed necessary. But, there real treasure still waits to be unlocked.
That pain, is a gift.
Beyond the lesson itself, is force and momentum. People teach us to leave the past in the past, and while we don’t want to define ourselves by pain, they are looking a gift-horse in the mouth. Our mind has the capability to do future association and projection. We can use the present as our canvass and toss it out into the future, using our imagination.
In the case of pain, we have found a powerful ally. We can look at our current pain event and pretend that we have done nothing. We can see the event happening to us again, or what will occur if we leave things as they stand. Our boss continues to humiliate us, or we keep eating the doughnuts without an exercise regimen, or we waste away from the heart disease.
If one faces this boldly, this causes a tsunami of motivation that rends obstacles with a cthulu-like power that is breath-taking when expressed in an individual’s life. Remember to keep your self-love hat on though, kiddies.
But, it goes deeper. We can go broad with this technique.
In this manner, Darkworkers can unlock lessons proactively, running towards pain that has not yet occurred. We can project hypothetical pain with a ruthless inner scalpel. What if someone were to attack me right now, and I was alone, could I stop them? What if I am bullied at work, would I know what to do? Most powerfully of all, if I died right now, how would I feel?
The only cluster that occurs is when people flirt with this with current pain events (things that are actually causing pain right now, not hypothetically), but have not identified the mistake and adapted, nor forgiven it. If you do that, you end up like Elliot Rogers. Don’t do that. If you project your current situation into the future, but have not set up your focus to be around your personal responsibility and contribution to the event, you will be unlocking that motivation from a state of external blame. In short, if you put the power outside, the results will be negative, because this is not something that “works”, hence, not truth.
Solution: Under Your Will, Transcend the Pain
Now, you have done something very important. The pain has become your servant, and your relationship to it is positive. From this place, you are in a beneficial relationship to the pain as you wait for the above “three components” (mentioned above) to become apparent.
The trick is that the over-arching purpose, required for forgiveness and transcendence, usually needs some time to become apparent. However, having unlocked the pain without sacrificing yourself, and dominating the pain to your purpose, the amount of time this requires becomes irrelevant. Importantly, you are responding proactively, creating and shaping with the pain, rather than reactively as the servant of the environment. As your Descent unfolds, one of two things will occur:
- You will “avenge” yourself, by overcoming the obstacle or meeting punishment to those who wronged you.
- You will see the purpose of the pain and forgiveness will arise naturally. Thus, you will be grateful for the event, and no longer seek revenge.
In this manner, pain becomes a friend, but it does take time as our relationship to it shifts. The soreness of exercise becomes a reminder of the lesson of staying fit, and the benefits being fit provides. Angst from blowing off a night to party to do the work for a project which will yield reward becomes exciting rather than a drag. This inner shift is one of the key cornerstones of becoming elite. Now, we can truly say we are actually minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure, because the reigns are in our own hands.
Ultimately, our enemy is the false self, and in this fight, to the victor go the spoils.
And them be some good goddamn spoils. Earn them, and enjoy them.