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The Gift Of Unsoothable Pain: Darkness Can Lead to Light

The Gift Of Unsoothable Pain: Darkness Can Lead to Light 86

by Jill Gross tiny buddha

“Blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light.” ~Groucho Marx

In 2008, after ten years of marriage, my former husband and I decided to divorce.

It came as a shock to those who knew us. We were living what most would consider the American dream: two healthy children, beautiful home, great friends, strong careers, two incomes—the works.

Though my ex-husband and I got along well, the marriage was missing an intimate, heartfelt connection.

Loneliness and longing grew with each passing year until I could no longer ignore them. I knew the kind of intimacy for which I yearned was not possible in my marriage, so I asked for a divorce.

Because my ex-husband and I led mostly separate lives, I assumed the transition through divorce would be fairly smooth. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

Divorce, like most significant losses, takes the safe and familiar contour of our lives and blows it to smithereens, leaving us vulnerable and unprotected until the new shape forms. It is easy to underestimate the comfort we draw from what is known; I sure did.

Shortly after the separation, much like a Ficus tree seems to all but die when moved from its familiar spot, I went into a state of shock.

It was as if my nerve endings were relocated outside my skin, perturbed at even the slightest agitation. Once-routine tasks, like getting out of bed or going to the grocery store, seemed barely doable.

I spent the days toggling between two modes: “about to cry” and “full-on blubbering.”

I told myself it was not okay to feel the pain because it was a consequence of my own choices. My emotional suitcases were so heavy with fear, shame, and self-doubt, I thought these feelings defined me.

One night, the struggle reached a crescendo. Sadness and dread filled my entire body, from the inside out, until I was heaving with sobs and howling like a trapped animal. I was convinced the pain would either not stop or that it would kill me. I secretly wished for the latter.

It was in this moment I realized that some pain is, quite literally, unsoothable: there is no one, no place, and nothing in that moment that can make it better.

The only way out of unsoothable pain is to go straight through it. Even with this awareness, however, I still wanted to run.

At first, I tried to numb the pain with limerence. The new relationship went about like any would go between two wounded people lacking awareness; like a train wreck. What’s more, I convinced myself I needed that train wreck to work to prove I wasn’t a failure.

When we tell ourselves that we need something, we inadvertently look for it in places we are guaranteed not find it.

This is life’s clever way of showing us, again and again, what needs our own loving attention. If I kept numbing the pain of loss with romantic love, I would keep choosing unsustainable relationships.

At the base of every true heart connection is acceptance. We cannot offer acceptance to others until we can accept ourselves, wrenched heart and all.

Three years and two failed relationships later, I decided it was time to stop trying to soothe the unsoothable, to face grief, and to build a solid life on my own.

I eschewed romantic relationships for well over a year, devoting that time to friendships and long-neglected passions, like skiing and music. I felt lonely and frequently got scared, but fear was outmatched by a deeply held conviction to stay the course.

Though I once hoped it would, I am happy to report unsoothable pain did not kill me. In fact, the willingness to push through its contractions has increased my confidence to handle life’s loss and uncertainty. The same can be true for anyone willing to face his/her own darkness.

If you are experiencing unsoothable pain, you may be tempted to reach for something or someone to numb yourself.

Avoidance is a way of inviting into your life more of the very thing you are attempting to banish; resistance is futile. Your feelings are intense because something important is happening, so keep going!

Sometimes unsoothable pain presents itself as fear, telling us the struggle won’t end.

Sometimes it assumes the voice of self-doubt, convincing us we can’t do it.

Sometimes pain is accompanied by shame, which cajoles us into believing there is something fundamentally wrong with us because we are hurting.

Fear, self-doubt, and shame are the normal, temporary emotional byproducts of significant change. Do not believe their stories; they are untrue. Unsoothable pain is the threshold over which we must cross to access more love and more light within ourselves.

While masking its symptoms won’t cure the disease, taking good emotional, spiritual, and physical care of yourself goes a long way. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Slow down and breathe.

It may feel like you are dying when you pause for a bit, but I encourage you to do it anyway. When we slow down and sit with hard feelings, we are taking a brave step toward showing ourselves that we are stronger than pain.

2. Create small goals.

During the darkest times, the idea of getting through an entire day felt like a lot, so I broke the day into small chunks to make it more manageable. My goal list looked like “Shower and put on makeup” or “Make it to lunch time.”

3. Celebrate achievements.

When I reached each milestone, I would sometimes say, out loud and in my goofiest cheerleader voice, “Woot! You made it to bedtime! Another day is history!” (Sidebar: always laugh at yourself—the alternative is too unpleasant to consider).

It may feel silly to celebrate events that seem otherwise unremarkable but, when your nerves are inside out, even the simplest of tasks can feel like a big deal.

4. Trust more and confide often.

Make a short list of the people in your life you feel safe falling apart with and let yourself fall apart with them.

There is nothing shameful about unsoothable pain—it is our vulnerability that allows us to create meaningful bonds with other humans. Sometimes a supportive comment or gesture from a trusted friend can be the encouragement you need to keep going.

5. Move around.

You don’t have to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but please do move your body at least once per day.

Whether your preferred movement is yoga, walking, running, dancing, hiking, or biking, remember that emotions are physical events—we can literally move through them sometimes. If this idea seems like too much, start with your mailbox and work your way out from there (see #2).

6. Do something that scares you.

Keeping health and safety in mind, figure out two or three small things you can do that are outside of your comfort zone.

I wanted to reconnect with my musical side, so I joined a group of singers and songwriters. It wasn’t easy (I cried in the car all the way to the first gathering), but it eventually got easier and the strangers in that group eventually became friends.

7. Speak kindly to yourself.

We are more likely to advocate for people we like so, when you are in pain, speak to yourself as if you are a valued friend. It is when we are hurting that we are most deserving of tenderness. Gently remind yourself that you are doing your best to take care of you.

8. Be patient.

Building a new life shape takes time, so give it the time it deserves. Acting hastily merely increases your chances of having to start over later.

Building a friendlier relationship with discomfort can eventually diminish its strength and frequency.

In the meantime, it may help to remember that unsoothable pain is often the sign of a well-lived life—it proves you were courageous enough to risk, to love, and to be affected by loss. After all, it is when the shapes of our lives are wide open that the most light can get in.

Spirituality

Why does Satan’s name mean “light-bearer”?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 99

In modern languages, Lucifer is one of the names of Satan. However, from Latin the word lucifer literally translates as “luminiferous” and comes from the words lux (“light”) and phero (“carry”). What kind of light is this that the infernal ruler carries?

Franz von Stuck.  Lucifer
Franz von Stuck. Lucifer

The ancient Romans called the planet Venus by the word Lucifer, that is, the “morning star”, which is better than all other celestial bodies visible in the morning (as well as evening) firmament. By the way, this name is “tracing paper” from ancient Greek: the ancient Greeks called this celestial entity Phosphorus (from Φωσφόρος – “carrying light”).

Lucifer means ‘that which brings light’. From φῶς (phôs, “light”) +‎ -φόρος (-phóros, “bearing”), from φέρω (phérō, “I carry”).

Venus in the morning sky in January
Venus in the morning sky in January

Why did the name of the star become the name of Satan? This happened as a result of “translation difficulties”. The Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, contains a prophecy about the death of the Babylonian king – a terrible enemy of the ancient Jews. It looks like this:

“… You fell from the sky, morning star, son of the dawn! He crashed to the ground, trampling on the peoples. “

“Morning star” and “son of the dawn” here are nothing more than magnificent oriental titles of the ruler. When Jerome of Stridonsky, the first translator of the Bible into Latin, translated this passage, he translated the Hebrew word הֵילֵל (“heylel”, “morning star”) as lucifer, because that is how the morning star was called in Latin.

Caravaggio.  Saint Jerome
Caravaggio. Saint Jerome

However, Christians, contemporaries of Jerome, associated this passage not with the king of Babylon – the embodiment of evil for the ancient Israelites, but with their enemy – Satan. And the word “lucifer”, which was just the title of the Babylonian king, began to write with a capital letter. So the innocuous name of the star became a terrible hellish name.

Jerome’s other translation error led to an amusing misunderstanding. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European artists and sculptors depicted Moses – the main biblical prophet … with horns on his head! Why?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 100
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 101
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 102

The Bible says that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face was radiant. In Hebrew, the words “ray” and “horn” are similar. So Jerome got it: “His face became horny because God spoke to him.”

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Spirituality

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 103

Everyone has their own hobbies. Some are passionate about collecting, others are gardening, and still others are passionate about sports. But the hero of this article has a special passion. Ra Paulette is an American sculptor from New Mexico who burrows into hillsides and caves to create intricate artistic spaces within mountains. Maybe he is now the only one in the world.

You might think that he is a professional architect or sculptor, but no, it’s just that this person has a hobby. Although talent is undoubtedly present, he creates real works of art, sculpts caves like shrines, like sacred places.

He describes his places of work as “a sanctuary for prayer and meditation,” while others describe his caves as works of art. The caves are decorated with “scallops, patterns, smooth curved lines, smooth cornices, crisp ledges and inlaid with stones”. Its caves attract tourists from all over the world.

He has been hiding in a cave in New Mexico, USA for 25 years and has now decided to showcase the interior of his home.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 104

What he did to the inside of the cave is almost impossible to describe in words, as if we are entering the world of fairy tales.

In ancient times, people made dwellings in caves or dug new rooms in the sandstone, but only for the purpose of living. The works of this artist are more for soul resting.

All this beauty is made in white sandstone cliffs just an hour from Santa Fe. Has anyone from you seen this beauty in real?

Tired of the whims of his bosses and customers, the artist, who was bored with art, began his personal and independent project.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 105

The results of the project, as well as the process itself, are very impressive. Ra Paulette, who spent the last 25 years in the cave, completely alone, apart from his dog, away from society, spent time carving out walls.

He spent his time carving the sandstone cave he found, transforming it into a wonderful underground space full of light.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 106

Paulette created different designs and styles for each cave, giving each one a distinct quality and texture.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 107

The goal of this gigantic piece of art is to create an environment that inspires “spiritual renewal and personal well-being.” It will also serve as a venue for artistic events when its project is completed.
Ra Paulette works exclusively with hand tools, a pick and a shovel. First, he digs in various halls and vaults in any form, not forgetting about ventilation. The artist himself called his style – “dances of the digger” . When he likes what he gets, then he proceeds directly to creativity: decorates the halls and vaults with mysterious carvings and patterns.

In some places, his works look like real natural caves, and in other – like a completely civilized housing

Ra Paulette Cave
That is, you can wander and relax there.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 108
When Ra Paulette made his first cave, it attracted connoisseurs of beauty and tourists. But it was made on state land and, in addition, he could not guarantee the safety of visitors. The cave had to be filled up.

Only later, when he began to make safe projects and all legal issues were met, it was possible to create endlessly. At the moment, 15 underground palaces exist for sure.

A documentary film “Cave digger” was even made about him and this man became even more famous.

In the video below, you can virtually take a trip through one of the caves decorated by the artist.


We can only be surprised by such people who just alone create beauty with which, we become kinder and better beings.

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Spirituality

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe 109

According to Hindu records, Christians believe that the earth is the center of the universe. In contrast to this belief, the Hindus consider Mount Meru as the universal center and home of their gods.

In the eyes of the Hindus, Mount Meru is quite large, its height is about 84,000 yojanas (about 1,082,000 km). Since Hindu and other Eastern religions idolize Meru, it seems to them that the sun and all the planets of the solar system revolve around it.

According to Jain mythology, Meru is surrounded by two suns, two moons and two “sets” of stars. When some of them are in sight, others hide in the shadow of a mountain, which they believe is about 100,000 yojanas wide.

For the Hindus, Meru is the axis of the earth. Without it, the planet will not be able to rotate. In addition, they see the mountain as the home of the gods, with their kingdoms spread across all of its inconceivable height.

Followers of each of these important gods travel to these heavenly realms to rest and await their next reincarnation.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe
A fresco depicting Mount Meru (left) and a painting (right) from Jain cosmology

For the Javanese, Mount Meru contributed to the origin of the island of Java. According to their legends, Batara’s guru ordered Brahma and Vishnu to fill the island with people. At that time the island of Java roamed and was not tied to any solid land. To stop the movement, the gods moved a part of the sacred mountain from India and attached it to Java. This new anchor was Mount Semeru, now the highest volcano in Java.

For Buddhists, the importance of Mount Meru also lies in their belief that it is the center of the universe. Unlike the Hindu version, Buddhists believe that the mountain was surrounded by a body of water and believe in 31 levels of life on Meru.

Since Mount Meru is the ecumenical center and sacred site, many mythological characteristics are attributed to it. First, it is so high that the mountain touches the sky, and the pole star shines directly above the mountain, giving it a sacred appearance. Secondly, it is said that the Ganges comes to the mountain as one river, and, having reached Meru, is divided into 4 separate rivers.

Third, there are 4 cities filled with residents, one on each side of the mountain. Ancient myths say that these inhabitants constantly see the sun at its zenith, and they always work. The sun rises and sets only for those who do not live on the mountain.

In addition, there is one lord of the heavens, God Indra, and he lives at the top. There are also four heavenly kings on Mount Meru, one on each side. The mountain extends to Jambudwip, which itself is divided into 4 continents. The southern continent is where Buddha was born and his teachings are followed here.

Many famous Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples were built as symbolic images of this mountain. The basis of the style is a characteristic feature of Chinese pagodas.

Although ancient Buddhists believed that the mountain was real, European visitors began to express other thoughts about the earth, which contradicted the Buddha’s teachings about Meru. Modern Buddhist scholars have decided that this is an allegorical story, and not a description of a real mountain.

However, many Buddhists still refuse to change their beliefs about the sacred mountain. For them, belief in the existence of Meru is the same as belief in Buddha.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

If you plunge into reality, Mount Meru is a volcano located 70 kilometers west of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, 4562.13 meters high.

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