Our pain is meant to be harvested, not wasted
Suppose we get a seed that tastes extremely bitter. Just when we are about to throw it away, if we learn that it can be sown to yield a delicious fruit, then we can use it beneficially.
Knowledge can reveal a valuable use for something apparently useless – this principle can be applied even to our painful experiences. When going through pain, we often resent it; and when it ends, we feel like we never want to revisit that chapter of our life. But pain is like a seed that can be harvested to yield empathy. Suppose we were born in poverty but later became affluent. We can either resent our past, or we can use it to empathize with the needy and devise ways to help them effectively in the present.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.32) indicates that such empathy can be spiritualized – saintly seers understand, based on their own experience, that spiritual disconnection causes the greatest distress and spiritual connection provides the greatest happiness. They harvest whatever past distress they may have undergone when they were spiritually disconnected to empathically help others become spiritually connected.
Following the lead of such seers, we too can harvest our pain. Otherwise, we may contrast our present joyful spiritual life with our past distressful unspiritual life and dismiss our past as a painful waste of time. Instead, if we use our past to understand the problems faced by people from our background – culture, education, outlook, community, nationality – then we can customize our spiritual outreach for their needs. When we thus use spiritually all that we have – not just the good but also the bad – we attract divine grace, which further strengthens our spiritual connection.
By learning to see our past as a potential spiritual resource, we can harvest our pain to increase our empathy and spirituality.
Think it over:
- How can pain make us materially empathic?
- How can pain make us spiritually empathic?
- How can we use our past as a spiritual resource?
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