What Pain, Guilt and Shame are Trying to Tell You
A painful physical experience has woken this man up to his body and the power of love in healing. He's shocked to see how he's neglected his body and wants to change, but how? John encourages him to let his feelings of guilt create a love-relationship with his body starting with the simple enjoyment of being in it "in the little things".
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With John de Ruiter from the March 3, 2018 Netanya, Israel Event
Q: About two weeks ago some great pain entered my life. It began in my leg and I could not walk. I had to crawl. Then I reached the hospital and I spent a week there. And after my pain had already faded I started seeing other people’s pain and realized how much pain is around me. It brought me to thinking “why do I harm myself?”: the food that I eat, the cigarettes that I smoke, and with other harmful activities that I do to this body. I truly felt love for it and actually asked this wound to heal – and it did. I realized I had to connect to this power of loving this body and that I am limited. That is my question: how can I connect to this power?
John: In relationship to your body, start with really liking being in your body. That makes you, through your beingness, a goodness to your body, that you are alive to your body, that you are able to see your body – not in the way that you see your body when you look at your body, or when you look at your self in the mirror – but that from a deeper level within, through your enjoyment of being in your body, you’re able to see, really see, your body.
Q: Would I be able to do that when I’m very old?
John: Very old, and even very sick: a love relationship with your sick, old body; that your body, despite being sick and old, is still gracefully seen.
Q: By my being?
John: By you, a being.
Q: Isn’t it natural for me to have a loving relationship with my body? Why do I need you to tell me this? Why isn’t it clear for me? Why don’t I have it already?
John: Because you’ve lived covering all of that up, because you’ve lived for what doesn’t matter, forgetting all of the goodness that really does matter. You’ve lost perspective.
Q: When I think of how far I’ve gone from my natural harmony, I see pain. It’s very painful to watch how far I’ve gone.
John: Let the pain be really short-lived. The pain of it is only as good as it, as it directs your attention. Your pain helps you to realize, realize quickly, not to alleviate the pain, but that so you don’t lock in the pain and make much of the pain, adding layers of illusion to the pain, giving interpretation to the pain.
Pain is like guilt, or shame. There’s goodness in guilt and in shame, only for some moments, enough for you to realize from within your relationship with knowledge. You realize something that you know. When you register the lack of what you’ve been in your self, that touches in on guilt because you haven’t lived being what you knew. If you make that guilt or that shame about your self and reference it to your self, then you’ll be exploiting it, using it to give you a sense of self just like the pain, using pain so that you can register your self instead of just realizing and learning really quickly.
Q: Realizing what?
John: What the pain tells you, right up front, before you start to give it an interpretation. When you’re shocked in seeing that you’ve lost perspective in your life, when you realize that you’ve been blind, that causes pain in your self. That’s good. It registers what you are newly seeing, and instead of staying in that pain, respond to your new seeing. When you are real in that pain, ‘real’ as in you are letting in the intimacy of being, and you’re letting that intimacy of being have feeling and have thought, have your seeing, then your pain soon turns to joy.
Q: You mean I can inflate and give meaning to the pain and it is endless if I look down. But then if I decide to look up it is bright; it is joyful to look.
Q: How can I start this loving relationship with my body? How can I remind myself?
John: Within the really little things of your day, don’t hold abstractly being in your body. Give it delicate feeling by, in the little things, liking being in your body.
When you brush your teeth, like being in your body. Don’t do anything just because it needs to be done. In whatever you do, particularly in the little things, like being in your body. When you are walking to get somewhere, instead of just walking for a practical purpose, while you’re walking, like being in your body. It will do more for you to be well in your body, than for you to do what’s good for your body. What you are being in your body matters more than what you feed your body. That doesn’t make it not matter what you feed your body, but that what you are being in your body matters most.
Q: Thank you.