Pain can be a prison or a portal to compassion.
It can widen our world or shrink it, open doors or slam them shut.
Pain often feels personal.
Under attack from an omnipresent, amorphous enemy, our natural response is to hunker down and fight like hell.
But personalising pain imprisons us and disconnects us from the truth: pain is universal.
Yes, pain is unevenly distributed, and some bear greater burdens than others, but pain affects every living being in some way.
When we realise its universality, pain can become a portal to compassion, a window to shared experience.
The fruits of kindness grow in the garden of pain. By helping one another, we nourish our common roots. Empathy enriches the soil.
When we can’t physically be present, practicing loving-kindness meditation connects us with the pain of others, keeping the portal open.
"We are all unified and share the same substance. We breathe the same air. We share the same hopes and dreams." - Ryan Holiday, What is Sympatheia?
We live in intricate webs of interconnection. Right now, others are feeling the way you do. You are not alone. You never were.
Pain can be a prison or a portal. Choose liberation. The world needs more gardeners.