While planning a community meetup with the theme ‘turning struggles into strengths’, I got so confused in the middle of discussions when we were brainstorming the ‘transformation’ part.
It’s easy to shine a light at struggle and invite people to talk about it, but how might we empower or enable the transformation into a strength with limited resources we have?
In the midst of confusion, I revisited my past and why this session matters to me.
Where does pain come from
There was a time in my life when waking up every day felt like going to a battlefield. I felt so broken inside when I couldn’t find meaning in the things I do on a daily basis.
Because I lived a ‘good’ life in most people’s standard, I felt guilty to feel bad about life, as if I had no right to suffer when there were many more people living in poverty and fighting for survival.
A few years later, after many conversations with urban millennials, I found that no matter what kind of lives we live or where we come from, the emotions we go through as a human being are universal across all levels in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
We are always striving for the meaning of life no matter what we do.
Running into pain
Looking back, I felt that suffering is a spiritual experience, a riddle of life that our logical mind cannot solve.
Who am I? What am I? Why am I? I used to think so hard about what I can do to find meaning and get out of pain.
Using my head to fight with the current of life, I was suffering and yet attached to my own creation.
From the hindsight, I appreciate the pain I went through because while I was scrambling to get out of it, I was blazing a path towards my true self.
When I embraced pain, accepted that I wasn’t living the life I wanted, I recognized that I needed to change even though it means turning my life upside down and taking a leap into the unknown.
Transform the energy of pain
In the book ‘Sapien’, I was fascinated when I read about how technology progression comes from the conversion of energy. For instance, the breakthrough in transportation happened when people started using the energy of steam to power the movement of a train.
I had an epiphany moment that the same goes to the transformation in life as well!
When I convert the energy of pain into the energy of creation, be it a new experience or a new article, I found new ingredients to see the reality from a different perspective.
When everything is perfect, there is no reason for a change. Only when I feel uncomfortable, struggling, suffering, I question my life and challenge my truth.
At the end of it, I move closer to who I really am.
Powered by pain
“Pain is a phenomenon, suffering is a choice.” Sai Baba
I found that my pain comes from trying to be someone I thought I should be or do something I thought I should do.
When I let go of my thoughts and stay grounded in the present moment, I can hear my inner voice and trust my intuition. I’ll have the courage to take inspired action despite fear.
I learned that to get rid of pain, I have to go through it and leave it behind, trusting that it happens to teach me a lesson and make me a better person.
If we could accept pain and assign a meaning to it, we are not defined by pain but thrive upon it.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” Osho