In watching the way people respond to pain, difficulties and challenges, there is one thing we all have in common – and that is aversion to sitting in an uncomfortable place. When the going gets tough we simply want to run. Perhaps part of that nature is related to our limbic system and the fight or flight reactions we display when we feel threatened. But as spiritual students this cannot be a justification for our behavior because – if we know in our souls that there is only one – how is it possible that we can be threatened by anything or anyone? In other words – at some point in time, our spiritual consciousness must supersede our reptilian brain's dream of separation.

The truth is that no one has died of emotional pain or difficult circumstances. Yet, we often feel so uncomfortable that we’re compelled to put into action dozens of habit behaviors that we have cultivated over the years to make ourselves feel safe. Some of those actions might be: busying behaviors (burying ourselves in work, repetitively cleaning the house, keeping the TV on to not hear ourselves think, etc), addictive and zoning-out behaviors (drinking, drugs, sex, etc), and/or defensive behaviors (blaming, accusing, pushing people away, seeking friends to align with our point of view, etc).

When we take the time to simply sit with the way we're feeling, with all our anger, fears, resentments, frustrations and angst, we come to a place of acceptance of what we are experiencing. We recognize that it doesn't feel pleasant – as no fear-based emotions feel “good” – but at the same time we see that our feelings are not bad things, they are indicators of the point of view we are approaching life from, how we are thinking and perceiving. Armed with this realization we can look forward to our pain as it is the perfect alarm system to alert us that a change has to be made in our lives. First and foremost the change that needs to be made is inside of us, and second, we make external changes if necessary.

It’s about cultivating a new relationship with pain – learning to not be afraid of it - to appreciate the value it has in our process of self-growth and awareness. If we can shift our point of view to see pain in this way, we'll avoid many harmful behaviors that we sabotage ourselves with and we’ll be able to have more clarity around difficult situations. If we avoid sitting with our pain, then we avoid sitting with the situation and we’ll never have clarity or truth about the causation of our suffering.

It’s critical that we develop the ability to sit still deeply within our feelings, honoring our process - and at the same time being able to have a sense of humor about the intricacies of life. Without a sense of humor, our spiritual path and life becomes dour, heavy and a burden to bear. In addition, if we always see our pain as bad – we will feel guilty and punish ourselves for feeling that way, and that is not the place we want to be coming from. As spiritual beings I feel we are meant to be happy, live authentically and fully, and to explore who we are through our creative expression.

I encourage you to embrace your pain and stop suffering it. Perhaps from this point of view - no pain, no gain has some truth! See it, learn from it, move through it and finally - have gratitude for it!

As always, I wish you the best on your path.

With all my love & blessings. Sheri Rosenthal

Author's Bio: 

Sheri Rosenthal DPM is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Toltec Wisdom and Banish Mind Spam!. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements®, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys - works with personal apprentices, and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at or and