The questioner touches on her difficulty in dealing with and taking on other people’s pain. John explains that taking other people’s pain increases their pain, and that the only real way to end the cycle is to first address the cycle of pain and guilt in herself. The dialogue deepens and unfolds into the following topics:
Q: Good afternoon, sir. My problem is like I feel when I go into a negative environment or people, or people with a lot of pain or ego, I feel all of it and then I try to stay away from those people or environments and it’s not always possible because some are friends, family members, and so I don’t know how to deal with it. I might have some of it in me, too, but I see it more clearly when I see it in other people, so I think I need help because that’s a big challenge for me.
John: Your being pained by other people’s pain makes their pain worse. For you to be free of your self you need to be deeply, quietly okay within concerning other people’s pain. If you’re not okay with someone’s pain you can’t see that one. It’s only your deep, quiet okayness with the pain of others that lets you see them. Okayness sees. Not-okayness is blind.
When you’re deeply okay with others being in pain, then when someone who is in pain comes to you, they are seen by you despite their pain. They experience being seen regardless of their pain.
Q: I have been dealing by sometimes staying away from those people, by hurting people also by saying “I can’t handle your negativity” then even after saying, I feel guilty. I have hurt somebody, then I feel all their pain again. I don’t know if I’m feeling their pain or I’m feeling my guilt, so I go in this cycle again and again.
John: The cycle isn’t real. The cycle ending in you is real. The cycle doesn’t need to end in anyone else – just you.
Q: Yeah, it has to end at a deeper level. I ended it at that intellectual level and so that’s why it never ends.
John: You try to be okay with pain and you do that for pain relief, so your okayness with pain isn’t authentic. When it’s authentic you are okay in it, without any focus on results. It isn’t about the results. You are warmly okay, deeply, quietly okay in the midst of pain because that okayness is what is most deeply real to you. That’s what’s true for you.
Q: Yes. How to move out of it?
John: By deeply, not needing to get out of it. Pain is your prison and you are, like love, okay in prison. You have no fight in you about prison. You’re not separating from it, you’re not giving up in it, you’re just sweetly, deeply, quietly, open. Being that open is your deepest reason for living.
Q: Most of the time I feel like I have to resolve everything with people I have hurt, so I have to just let go of those feelings?
John: Which means deeply, quietly, letting go of listening to your self, listening to what you think and feel to tell you the truth. It’s only what you deeply, quietly, know within that tells you the truth.
Q: Because that’s what I don’t know: if it’s the truth or just a mixture of truth and my intellect. That’s where I get stuck.
John: What you most deeply know the truth of is openness and softness of heart. What you deeply know within is to be like this (open-handed gesture) instead of being like this (closed fist gesture) and that’s your life – your real life.
Q: Yes, yes. So I don’t know how to open, so far.
John: You know how to open. You open when you lie down. You open when your head reaches the pillow. You open when you’re hungry and you eat, you’re thirsty, and you drink. You open when someone smiles to you. You open when someone’s kind to you. When you feel good in your body and in your self you open. When you don’t feel good in your body and in your self, you don’t open.
It isn’t because you’re not able to. It’s because you live taking to heart what you feel instead of taking to heart beingness that you most quietly know within.
Q: Thank you.
What begins as a wish to know where uniqueness belongs if we’re really all the same, opens into a detailed explanation of how consciousness confined to experience has us living in a doped-up self. John takes us beyond this into a greater depth of oneness, new for the universe, coming into us now.
Questioning the truth of an awakening experience she had, the woman in this dialogue wants to know how she can be sure it was real. John gives a somewhat surprising answer and explains the difference between certainty in your self and real knowledge.
This man believes that his physical pain is a symptom of having carried his mother’s depression following the miscarriage of his baby brother. In this delicate meeting and before our eyes, John shows him how to enter his heart and connect with his little brother now.
This woman finds her self behind a shield of protection, separating her from the intimacy she knows lies beneath. But how to get through? John shows her how to drop into the most delicate touches of love and realize her intimate connection with everything and everyone.
In this dialogue a man shares the difficulty of having social anxiety, a state that has him wanting to avoid social situations altogether. Revealing the true source of his anxiety, John describes how it’s possible for him to replace the tension he experiences with joy.
John’s response to this woman’s call for help with what to do with her anger goes straight to the point! His warm, pithy answer is followed by a full explanation of what’s really happening when we’re angry.
While the common wisdom of today suggests that self-empowerment is the key to success and happiness, John explains why this unintegrated form of awareness is not at all up to the task we’ve given it. And in fact, is the very reason many of us feel anxious, uncertain, and filled with a sense of lack.
“I’m haunted by my abusive past. How can I let it go?” John shows us how our beliefs are embodied in our nervous system, creating experience we make our reality. He shows how real healing doesn’t come from understanding but from something much simpler: unconditional openness and softness of heart.