Why (Sometimes) It's Okay To Feel Pain

We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering (that) we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is: we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated. We experience ourselves as separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us -  a prison that restricts us from our from our personal hopes and fears, and to caring only for the people nearest to us.

Curiously enough, if we try to shield ourselves from discomfort - we suffer. Yet when we don't close off and let our hearts break, we discover our kinship with all beings. When we protect ourselves so we won't feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart. We do everything we can think of not to feel anything threatening. We try to prolong feeling good about ourselves. Looking at color pictures in magazines of people having fun on the beach, many of us earnestly wish that life could be good.

When we breathe in pain, somehow it penetrates that armor. The way we guard ourselves is getting softened up. This heavy, rusty, creaking armor begins to seem not so monolithic after all. With the in-breath, the armor begins to fall apart, and we find we can breathe deeply and relax. We don't have to tense up as if our whole life were being spent in the dentist's chair. When we breathe out relief and spaciousness, we are also encouraging the armor to dissolve. The out-breath is a metaphor for opening our whole being. When something is precious, instead of holding it tightly, we can open our hands and share it. We can give it all away. We can share the wealth of this unfathomable human experience.

 - Chödrön, P. (2016). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times.