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How Compassion Turns Pain Into Strength

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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How Compassion Turns Pain Into Strength

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Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about how

compassion turns pain into strength.

So one of the things that I think

we all realize as we grow up is

that no matter how fortunate we

happen to be, we all face suffering.

And although we may wish to be able

to control all the circumstances

in our lives, we're all going to

endure things like loss, illness,

pain and personal struggles.

And when pain and suffering inevitably

arise in the flow of our lives,

often our first instinct is to fight

with it, push it away or run away.

But when we fight with pain

and suffering, we actually only

prolong it and make it worse.

In fact, fighting suffering is a

lot like struggling in quicksand.

So you might remember those

old Western movies, right?

With the cowboys, and in those

movies, the cowboys never wanted to

fall in quicksand, but when you're

a cowboy, sometimes it just happens.

So when a cowboy used to fall in

the quicksand, of course, he would

always have that first instinct

to struggle in the quick sand.

But then of course he realizes

that the struggle is futile

and only makes things worse.

In fact, he knows he's going to

completely be swallowed up by

the quicksand if he struggles.

So he gathers himself and remembers

that the best thing to do in

quicksand is just relax and float

there on top until help arrives.

In the same way we never choose

suffering, but it just happens in life.

And we too will probably have that

first instinct to resist or run from it.

But if we can gather ourselves

and become present, we can meet

our suffering with compassionate,

accepting, and kindly awareness.

And therefore we end the struggle with it.

And in this way, we can learn to

gently be with our pain and work

through whatever's causing us distress.

And when we can face pain and suffering

with compassion, we can move through it.

We can learn from it.

And our hardship can actually be

a source of incredible personal

transformation and growth.

There's an old proverb,

no dirt, no flower.

And what this points to is the

fact that although it's hard to

recognize when we're in the midst of

our painful moments, the adversity

actually offers often our greatest

opportunities for deeper wisdom, higher

awareness and greater inner strength.

As William Butler Yeats once said,

"Every trial injured and weathered in

the right spirit makes a soul nobler

and stronger than it was before."

So in the days ahead, see if you

can meet your pain with compassion,

courage, and gentleness, so it can

transform your pain into strength.

So we're going to practice this

skill in today's meditation.

So I invite you to settle in for that.

And as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

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