To get some distance from this, you first need to get some perspective. Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than a trillion stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it. You're just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car? Do you really need to feel embarrassed if you forget someone's name? What kind of life is that? It is a life of pain. You may not think that you feel pain that often, but you really do. To spend your life avoiding pain means it's always right behind you. At any point you could slip and say the wrong thing. At any point anything can happen. So you end up devoting your life to the avoidance of pain.

Once you look inside yourself and start to own this, you will see that you are back to the same two foundational choices. One choice is to leave the pain inside and continue to struggle with the outside. The other choice is to decide that you don't want to spend your entire life avoiding the inner pain; you'd rather get rid of it. Few people ever dare to turn the process inside like this. Most people don't even realize that they are running around with pockets of pain inside that need to be worked out.

What would your life be like if it wasn't run by that pain? You would be free. You could walk around this world completely free, just having fun, just being comfortable with whatever happens. You will then be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before. You will begin to have truly beautiful experiences rise up within you. Eventually you will understand that there is an ocean of love behind all this fear and pain. That force will sustain you by feeding your heart from deep within.

The Untethered Soul Michael A. Singer is the author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself from which this excerpt on pain was taken.


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