This morning as I was making breakfast, I thought the words, “I am in a universe of pain.” As someone who deals with chronic pain, I have previously thought, “I am in a world of pain” on days when it has been really bad. But today was different. For even though I was experiencing the most pain I’ve had in recent memory, I wasn’t using those words to mark or measure it. Instead, there was an immense spaciousness around it, a comforting endlessness . I didn’t feel trapped in my “world of pain”. I felt like a part of some larger truth.
To be alive, we must all experience pain at some point, be it physical or emotional. To be a part of nature is to be in pain. Not all the time hopefully, but it is a common experience, a thread that binds all living things together in our remarkable web of life.
Being in a universe of pain means that there is space to experience whatever is being felt. In the past, I’ve sometimes thought of pain as being “bad”. But in the spaciousness of the universe, there is no “bad”. There is just space for the sensations to exist. A space to be held. A space to simply be.
To those friends and loved ones who might be reading this and feel inclined to send me condolences or well wishes, let me say that there is no need (although, of course I appreciate any such intention). I am at home in my journey. Instead I ask only this: look inward at whatever pain you are feeling, be it physical or emotional. Crack your heart open, even just a little bit, and surround that pain with love. Trust that there is a place for it in the universe of pain.
Incidentally, the words “universe of pain” came to me as I was making toast. I guess you just never know what is going to pop up in life! Get it? Pop up? Toast?! Hahaha! I love a good pun. Wait, is that an oxymoron? Oh well, I guess that’s something to ponder another day.