Understanding our own suffering helps us understand the suffering of the world.
-Thich Nhat Hahn
One of the most compassionate things we can do for the world is to get in touch with our own suffering. It is only by digging deep into the wounds of our broken heart and touching the rawness of our pain, that we can truly hold another’s hand and weep with them.
We are not being weak if we name our pain; we are simply being human. One aspect of being human is to feel pain. Life has many joys and also many sorrows. When we give ourselves permission to feel our pain, we give permission to others around us to feel their pain. And then we can hold each other’s hands and weep together, for each other and for the world. For wars and racism, for the destruction of forests, for addicts and alcoholics, for those suffering from the earthquake in Nepal, for victims of abuse.
There are days when I am overwhelmed with sorrow. Sometimes this is in response to a particular predicament—either in my life or the life of a loved one—and sometimes it is simply a general sadness for the sorrows in the world. On such days, I try to sit for longer periods of meditation. This helps me to get in touch with the sadness, to feel the pain, and to offer it up. I can truly say that I consider it a blessing to bear such sorrow. In these moments I actually feel closest to the Divine.
We are not being negative when we feel our pain. We are being courageous. We are opening our eyes and allowing the truth to touch our hearts and we are actually bringing healing to the world.