Why Do We Inflict Pain?

Posted by Sarika Jain on May 14, 2015
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Through my personal inquiry, and also by working with my clients on Leah Pearlmanuncovering some of their deepest blocks to experiencing love, I have encountered a profoundly interesting thesis.

Do we inflict suffering in order for another person to ‘see us’?

Ultimately, the pain body wants to be seen… and as it flows through us, our visceral, and almost subconscious desire, is to have ‘someone’ see, and acknowledge it. It allows us to ‘handle’ the pain better, if we know that we are ‘sharing’ it with someone else.

I imagine the pain body as an ocean of water. All beings are part of the ocean, all feelings, all needs. We are intimately tied, and flowing together, but our egoic mind wants to separate – put into separate vessels – human form, or otherwise. Why is it, that during meditation, when we observe that emotion, or sensation, it dissipates? It begins to fizzle out, not wishing to be labeled or described. Or, the other may happen – where it wants desperately to be seen, and fully felt. It wants the observer to acknowledge its existence, to accept it, love it for what it is.

Who and what is this pain? Where is it derived?

Is it always a story, a memory that persists? Is it something we couldn’t handle, at some point? What does ‘handle’ mean? Perhaps it means – not desiring to ‘give’ it to someone else. Maybe it’s even the process of overcoming the desire to ‘give’ it to (or share it with) someone else. To be able to have the capacity to ‘own’ it. To come from a place of acceptance that one is ‘mature’ enough to handle it.

Is enlightenment really – the lightening of the load? Sometimes we do this, without consciousness, by ‘sharing the pain’ with someone else. By using our reptilian brain to judge, say/act/do something to have someone else feel what we feel – and it’s an animalistic form of ‘empathy’. It’s a sense of connectedness.

I have found that through the practice of empathy (if practiced correctly) we can ‘hold the other’s pain’, and connect with each other – feel the oneness of the ocean, without actually absorbing pain. It can be one of creating a container, for the pain to be shared, to be seen, heard, understood, felt. Embodied, in a safe way.

We all really yearn to not be ‘separate’ from each other. We wish to merge with the ocean of humanity. We wish for that re-connection, or rather, ‘know’ of that true connection that never got severed. To our higher selves. Of the other angelic realms we knew about. About unconditional love.

Is inflicting pain, a way for us to not feel ‘separate’, for even that one moment, however fleeting?

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Comments (2)

  • Aryae Coopersmith wrote ...

    An interesting thesis Sarika. Having worked for a while as a family therapist many years ago, I learned that this issue -- of pain as a way of seeking love -- would often come up for people. Healing seems to be about learning to find more conscious and direct ways of doing this. :)

  • Terry Koch wrote ...

    A useful phrase I once heard and have remembered since is "detached compassion."