In general, most people are running from some kind of pain, usually an infantile one resulting from needs that were not met in childhood. The pain may have both physical and psychological components. It may have a story attached to it, or it may just be an energy field, such as sense of negativity or dread.
Multiple wounds are part of every life, even among the most privileged. Unless you are successful at dissociating, the whole of human woundedness is somehow present in you. Some people are successful at creating scar tissue over their psyches, over their emotional and physical wounds, and then just getting on with daily life.
But I suspect no one is entirely successful, and this failure is a good thing, because then the wound calls attention to itself just as grit in your shoe won’t let you be comfortable until you actually attend to it.
Of course, we search in multiple ways, both spiritual and worldly, to make that core ache go away. The thrust of most of the mind’s activity is to escape this essential, primal hurt and all of the peripherals of that hurt. Perhaps at some point we even turn to the spiritual life with the hope that a particular teaching or enlightenment will take our wounds away. We try to do what the teaching or the teacher says, and we do it over and over in the hopes that the suffering will leave us.
Surprisingly, a true teacher and a true teaching will throw you, with the greatest compassion and ruthlessness, directly into the center of the wound itself.
The deepest, most essential wound doesn’t even have a name. You can call it “the human condition”, or “conditioned existence”, or “the fact of suffering”, and there is a huge drive to escape it even though it is actually that very drive that eventually brings you full circle to meet the wound. Maturity evolves after you have tried the numerous avenues of escape, only to find that same woundedness still waiting for you.
Many of us have attempted to heal our wounds through psychotherapy, and psychological work can be very useful. Western culture in particular is a psychological culture. Psychological work can be useful in that it fosters a mental maturity where particular patterns and habitual responses can be seen.
But psychological work can only take you so far. While it can generate insights that are amazing and humbling, it doesn’t really touch the true ground of suffering. It may lead you to the recognition that even with all of your psychological or mental insight, the ground of suffering still remains, and in this way, it serves enormously.
It is at this point that you can ask yourself the question, Well, then, what will remove this ground of suffering? Even if you have worked on yourself psychologically for twenty, forty, or fifty years, if the ground of suffering is still in place, there is something essential that is yet to be revealed.
Healing wounds is appropriate. There is treatment for all wounds, and wounds that can be tended are to be tended. The problem only arises when truth itself is sought through healing. While the emotional, physical, or mental wounding is addressed, that which by its nature is whole, pure, free, and at peace goes overlooked. Truth is already here, regardless of the state of your body, your emotions, your mind, or your circumstances.
I invite you for just this moment to stop searching for relief from suffering. The invitation is neither to become oblivious to suffering, nor to give up in despair. It is an invitation to stop searching for something to rescue you from yourself.
~ From: The Diamond in Your Pocket, by Gangaji www.gangaji.org