We all have experienced hurt from life experiences: rejection, failure, shame. This may cause us to hide and protect ourselves, but this prevents us from truly showing up in the world. How do we overcome hurt? Dharma teachers Doug and Catherine Sensei share some of their thoughts on why it’s important to reach out, despite the pain.
Protection Against Hurt IS the Hurt
Being hurt by others is painful. It’s natural for us to try avoiding feeling hurt again. What we tend to do is shut down our life force, which prevents us from having wonderful experiences. Although well intentioned, this strategy doesn’t work in overcoming hurt, and it ends up making life less joyful and interesting. In this case protecting against the hurt is actually what hurts in the end.
“To live a joyful life, there’s a certain courage we need to have.
Protection is isolation. We are not meant to be isolated as human beings. We have mirror neurons that allow us to empathize with each other. We’re meant to connect and to communicate. To live a joyful life there’s a certain courage and openness that we need to have. We also develop resilience so that when the hurt inevitably happens, it’s okay, we can roll with it.
We don’t work so well together if we get isolated. It makes us less creative and it dampens our energy. We become less joyous and fundamentally it stymies our growth and our potential.
We’ve all experienced trauma and we hold this in our being in various ways. We hold it in the body, emotional patterns and thought patterns. It is important to start with the body when overcoming hurt, because it is the most tangible level of ourselves. Once we have a bit of experience with that, we can start looking at the subtler levels of our emotions and thought patterns.
“We only know who we are in the context of others.
We only know who we are in context of others. All social animals, including humans have an abundance of mirror neurons, which make us interdependent. Our interdependence with others informs us who we are, how to behave and how to interact. Even if we choose to rebel against it, we’re still in the context of all those other people who rebel.
Embracing the idea that we are interdependent makes life a much more joyful journey. By embracing others, we don’t lose ourselves. We actually find ourselves.
What might that look like?
“Even now, we’re breathing the same air.
This is called the teaching of nonduality in Buddhist philosophy. It’s very natural to get into a binary system, where we think there’s me and there’s you. With nonduality we realize, there’s a lot more fluidity between this alleged binary system than we realize. Even now, we’re breathing the same air. We’re sharing the same space. When we can embrace that, we realize that by supporting you, I’m also supporting myself. Finding courage and connecting with others despite our pain; this is what overcoming hurt truly looks like.
The pain of over protection is one of the many life topics discussed in the upcoming book, ‘Wasteland to Pureland.‘ The book contains teachings from Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, and will be launched on September 21, 2018. Learn more here.
Dharma Teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat supports others through an integrated spiritual path for the modern individual. This includes a practice of study, meditation, action and shadow integration, based at Clear Sky Retreat Centre in Canada. They both received lay ordination from the Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, and have shared teachings worldwide for decades. To learn more about their activities and the Dharma teaching visit Planet Dharma.