It’s unfortunate but true that there are many kinds of pain in this world. Sadder still is the fact we don’t have more than one word to differentiate them. Pain is pain, it would seem; except, not really. It’s the same with love; so many wonderful varieties all clumsily contained in a single, unexceptional word: “love.”
We often overlook the true light of many human experiences due to this limitation of word choice, which works in tandem with our limited ability to understand things and our inability to fully experience all life has to offer. In fact, it is these latter limitations that create the limitations in our language.
As with so many things, there is a cyclic process happening here that can lead to either vicious circles—those that contain errors and lead to more suffering until they grind us to a pulp—or benign circles—those that are good and go on and on forever.
In the best situation, we use language as a vehicle for communicating—with ourselves as well as with others—so we can create a wider and more realistic understanding. With a fuller understanding of things, we have a fuller experience of life, which in turn expands our ability to express ourselves through communication; this makes our experience something everyone can comprehend. Then our language organically broadens.
Over time, say across a hundred years, we can see how our language can convey concepts that were previously unknown. If we’d had some of our current words back then, we wouldn’t have known what to do with them. It’s like this with love and pain: over time, we’ll have a larger language pool to work with, because new words will come into existence that differentiate between shades of experience.
For now, let’s explore the nuances hidden in the word “pain.” First we’ll explore a few variations of pain, and then we’ll dive deeper into focusing on one kind of pain we rarely even think of as pain: the pain of injustice.
Part I: The Pain of Injustice
The kind of pain most familiar to us is what we feel when someone hates us and wishes to hurt us with their hate. This pain is distinctly different from all other kinds of pain. The confusion we feel about not quite understanding what pains us—what is going on inside us that hurts—brings about another pain.
Then there’s that vague feeling that we are somehow involved in creating—or at least co-creating—our pain, but we don’t know how or why; hence yet another kind of pain is born that relates to our resistance to being in truth. And lastly, we have the distinct pain of feeling guilty; this is guilt—not real remorse—that no part of us is planning to make restitution for.
Some of these pains are obviously interconnected. Like, if we’re not willing to face and make restitution for our guilt, this will lead to frustration and confusion. What are we always feeling so guilty about? Since this is so hard to pin down, we project our guilt onto others and blame them for making us feel this way—for being in pain. Oh, hello merry-go-round.
While this all feels like an unpleasant mixed menagerie of pain, nevertheless, what’s going on is two entirely different kinds of pain: the pain of confusion and frustration, and the pain of unresolved guilt. These are so completely different, they should really have their own names. And one day perhaps they will, as humanity evolves toward greater wholeness.
So our different kinds of pain have different natures and origins, and lead to different effects. They are as different from each other as any other sequential emotion that arises on our dysfunctional cycle of feelings: guilt leads to fear (of being punished), fear is covered by anger, anger results in self-doubt and self-hate, and self-hate creates self-destructive patterns and behaviors. Each of these are interrelated, with one cascading to the next, but they’re all as different from each other as the different kinds of pain are from one another.
All of this is a preface—a sort of vacuum cleaner for the cobwebs in our mind—so we can move on to understanding the point of this teaching, which is about the pain of injustice.
The pain of injustice contains much more than can be expressed by this word “injustice.” Because our pain is not just about injustice that is happening to us in the here-and-now, which we could essentially classify as the pain of being wounded and hurt. There’s more going on here than just that. It includes a fear that we live in a world where destruction can happen—and there are no safety valves. It’s the fear that there’s no rhyme or reason to anything, and that nothing we do—good, bad or otherwise—will have any effect on the outcome.
One could say, and quite rightly, that this fear—and the resulting pain—is really about doubt; it’s about a lack of faith in a meaningful universe where there is a supreme intelligence, and love, and yes, justice. All this would be true. We could even go beyond this to another truth: we don’t yet realize that all our actions—including our inner attitudes, thoughts and feelings—create consequences, and not knowing this results in a very particular pain. But once we realize this connection, our faith is reestablished; without this faith, we suffer the pain of doubt.
Yet still, this pain of doubt isn’t quite the same as the pain we feel in the face of injustice. They are connected in that one leads into the other, backwards and forwards, but they’re not one and the same.
The pain of injustice is about fearing we live in a meaningless universe filled with chaos. And this pain distinctly results from feeling disconnected and leads to feeling disconnected. There it is. When we can’t connect results with their cause, we panic, and this fear of meaninglessness sets in. The ramifications of this lead to the specific kind of pain we’re talking about here.
We often think of ourselves as being oh-so-very broadminded. But in truth, our field of vision is often too narrow for us to see how everything connects. Quite simply, not all of the cause-and-effect dots are visible to us, in this one lifetime; there are gaps in our perspective. Further, we often fail to make the connection that what’s happening on the larger scale—in the world in which we live—is also happening in the microcosm of our own personal selves. Our response to injustice—to meaninglessness—is one place to consider this phenomenon.
When we embark on a spiritual path, turning over the stones of our inner hidden beliefs and defenses to uncover the untruths they hold, we typically run into a truckload of inner resistance. This is our Lower Self not wanting to expose and overcome itself. And then just under this resistance to facing ourselves is this pain that we live in an unjust, meaningless and chaotic place.
If we stated this a bit more accurately, we would say that the Lower Self results directly from our fear and pain of injustice—this notion we live in a land of meaninglessness and chaos. So as usual, this process works in both directions and creates self-perpetuating circles.
Our pain of injustice—of believing in a senseless world—creates a negative spin on things, propagating our joy-killing Lower Self behaviors. And on the flip side, our guilt for our negative and pessimistic attitude makes us feel undeserving of the good life, replete with total justice.
This leads to a perplexing phenomenon: once we clear our resistance to facing our Lower Self traits, working through their consequences and painful effects, we experience profound relief. It’s like a weight lifts off our shoulders; the puzzle pieces fit and fall into place. What’s happening here?
It’s because in that moment, we have a personal experience that life is, in fact, fair. It’s totally just. And our perception of things can be corrected; our impaired vision can be restored. On the other hand, a universe in which evil can win—well, that can’t be corrected, and that’s a thoroughly dismal prospect.
Part II: The Reality of 100% Fairness
Understanding all this does us little good if there’s not a way out. So let’s look at how to unwind the pain of justice, which undoubtedly is one of the most unbearable pains felt in a human soul. We need to go back to considering this point that whatever exists in the macrocosm—the world at large—also exists in the microcosm—our own self. So the first place to look at creating a shift is in our own psyche.
No other way around it, we’ve got to do our own work. Otherwise we’ll spend our lives tilting at windmills outside ourselves, and never see that the distortion of truth must live within us. For if it did not, the outer chaos of the world wouldn’t light a fire deep in our bellies.
So on a spiritual path such as the one outlined in these teachings, we need to peer into all the hidden crevices of our soul; this is the route that brings true security. It wipes out the pain of injustice by establishing connections between cause and effect inside ourselves. Because we can’t believe in a fair and just universe if we can’t plainly see how all our actions—including thoughts and intentions, feelings and attitudes—result in definite effects. Then we’ll shift from seeing the world as a random land of arbitrary events, to spotting how our trivial-seeming daily occurrences roll up into life’s larger processes.
The war we’re really fighting is within, with our dual nature of Higher and Lower Selves at odds. Our Lower Self is all about justifying and rationalizing and projecting and blaming—all of which keeps our negativity snowballing. But any time we get away with acting out our Lower Self, our shallow, momentary triumph will only serve to cover over our deeper despair about living in a meaningless world.
We’ll even fight those who are trying to help us uncover our hidden wrong thinking and evasive strategies, convincing everyone in our path that our cover-ups are valid. But when our spiritual helper, therapist or counselor gets buffaloed by our maneuvers, our Higher Self becomes very unhappy.
Oddly, when they fail to unmask the real cause and effect—revealing the connection of how the world is responding like-with-like to our own negativity—we start to resent them. Because no matter how much we rail against seeing these connections—how our negative intention links perfectly with our undesirable experiences—we feel let down. We want someone to ally with our Higher Self and help us find our way out of the dark.
We want to trust that the universe is fair. And we want to trust those who help us to see these unpleasant connections. But if we can deceive our helpers and “win” by way of our sneaky, destructive ways, we are going to conclude that, dang, maybe this is an untrustworthy place. Once again, we’re back to that incredibly unbearable pain of injustice.
As long as we’re living in these bodily shells made out of matter, we are not going to be able to make all the connections; many will flat out remain invisible to us, even though we may intuitively pick up on some of the links, some of the time. To understand then that connections we can’t see really do exist, we’re going to need to have faith.
But true faith is, at least to some degree, experiential. We come to faith by increasingly uncovering the links that are buried inside ourselves. This expanding movement toward wholeness calms our fear about feeling the pain of injustice; it heals the wounds caused by our own fear.
Think about how it feels to witness some cruel event in which the perpetrators seem to get away with it. Or maybe when a good deed—such as genuine love and giving—are met with some undeserved blowback, or fail in some way to produce just rewards. From time to time, we’ll be able to ferret out deeper connections that reveal the perfect justice we are witnessing. But often this requires time. The unrolling of time will make the connections obvious, eventually bringing more truth to the surface.
But in the immediate moment—and this is equally true for big issues and little ones—we are in the dark. And the unrolling of time may extend beyond us. This is what spiritual scriptures refer to when they talk about the reality of ultimate justice—we may not see the whole story until after we’ve left our bodies behind. Often, there is “time” referred to after death when everything will be revealed.
We’re typically not crazy about this idea, because it conjures up a punishing eye-in-the-sky deity—an unmerciful ruler who will bring justice down upon our heads. Where did we get this notion? Basically it came from ancient beliefs that confused God with the kind of cruel leaders we found on Earth. The true meaning of the “final judgment” though, is that we will finally see how all the puzzle pieces—of absolutely everything—fit together to form one beautiful picture. Then we’ll see the faultless justice embedded in each of God’s spiritual laws.
So yeah, it sucks that we each have some negative karma to burn off; these spiritual laws are totally going to hold our feet to the fire. But any price we must pay for infringing on God’s laws is far outweighed by the joy of discovering that, wow, this is a fair place after all. Once the wool falls off our eyes, we will joyfully undertake whatever we must go through, because living in a trustworthy universe has so much more value than skipping out on paying off a debt.
Our relief over seeing cause and effect will more than offset having to pay the piper. Although, sure, we’re still going to resist being accountable for our infractions. But on a deeper level, we’ll be profoundly relieved to see the bigger the picture: every teensy weensy particle of consciousness creates effects that come back around. This can go one of two ways: we can create positive circles that work in a life-affirming way, or we can create negative vicious circles that deny life. In either case, it all goes like clockwork according to the cause.
So how exactly does this work that everything gets accounted for—including our secret intentions and less-than-noble attitudes—even decades later? How can a person be judged for how they lived their life, after the fact? Turns out, there is an important principle at work here, and understanding it will help us open the inner valves on our intuition.
People are made up of an inner substance—sometimes called a soul substance—that reflects every bit of our life. Nothing gets glossed over; no aspect gets lost in the corner. So everything that has any significance—our thoughts and feelings, our intentions and actions—gets imprinted onto this substance, along with all the ramifications. The upshot of this is that everything’s available for review.
As such, a person’s whole life can be looked at every which way; we are an open book. So each of us has this built-in recording device, which drives a hole through our grand illusion—one of our many—that as long as we keep our thoughts to ourselves, they won’t hurt anybody, including us. No dice. We go so far as to resent others if they react to our unspoken intentions, thinking our secrets are safe with us and shouldn’t count. But no, the recorder is always running, and it’s capturing the whole ball of wax.
How about the timing of effect-follows-cause? Surprise, surprise, there’s a bunch of other laws regarding that. Suffice it to say, sometimes it happens quickly and sometimes it happens slowly. But it always happens. Generally, the more highly developed an entity is, the faster will effect come after cause. Those who are still quite in the dark, well, they are in the dark a bit longer in this regard as well. Often, the less developed will only make the missing connections after their bodily garment has been shed.
As explained earlier, what happens in the microcosm also shows up in the macrocosm. So the planet has a soul substance too, and everything that’s ever happened on Earth is imprinted there. Our history can be read as one immaculately kept record. Certain clairvoyant people, in fact, have special gifts for tapping into parts of the world record, although keep in mind that the limited consciousness of such a person can allow misinterpretations to cloud their vision. And since this whopper world recorder is outside the bounds of our 3D time and space, certain future possibilities—what’s most likely to manifest—can be found there as readily as transcripts about the past.
Just like our personal soul substance, the world substance is infinitely malleable; they are both made of the same stuff, and nothing gets past it—nothing that has already happened, nothing that is currently happening, and nothing that will ever happen. It’s automatic that it all gets imprinted. The recording includes the raw event along with any hidden motives and secret intentions; it even registers the precise balance of ambivalent feelings and the truth behind any decision we make.
It notes the alternatives we choose to act on—as people and as a planet—so there can be no obfuscation of what went on. On the surface we may be confused and in the dark, stuck in arguments and dissension, while deep below, our hidden levels of awareness are running the show. Nothing is missed.
If we could see all this with clarity, it would eliminate our pain of injustice. We would see, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that we live in an infinitely just creation where no error is possible. But such awareness can’t come cheap. We have to work for it, through our struggle of doing our work of self-knowing. This means we have to get over our resistance to looking within and discovering what is hiding in the cracks. And we will need to take responsibility for what we find.
This is what is meant by the Judgment Day talked about in religious circles. It hints at this notion of ultimate justice, but in our limited and negatively skewed view of things, people have taken this to imply an unfair, arbitrary rejection of who we are, instead of a fair and grand assessment. That’s humanity’s typical state of affairs, projecting our unloving attitude where it doesn’t belong.
In the end, divine justice is nothing more and nothing less than the sum total of everything an individual expresses. Then the inevitable consequences are both the measure and medicine for helping a person heal and expand into wholeness—that is to say, holiness.
Our struggle stems from the fact that our will is trying to go in two opposite directions. On the one hand, we duck our heads in the sand, fearing and resisting this grand accounting that overlooks nothing. On the other hand, it is our deepest longing to have exactly this piece of knowledge—to experience the truth of this full and fair reckoning; for only in this way will we heal this intense wound of believing that this world is totally unreliable and there really is no justice for all.
So what we ardently oppose on the surface, we vigorously long for within. When the outer self wins, our inner selves are in despair. We may feel this only vaguely or at other times quite keenly, but without awareness of what’s going on, we’ll never understand it clearly. In misinterpreting our despair, we blame everyone but ourselves for our pain.
Job One is to feel this pain caused by the belief we are puppets in an unjust world. Once we hone in on this specific pain, we can face the struggle against healing this pain—that push-me-pull-you inside attempting to go in two opposing directions. The only relief we’ll find comes from doing the thing we resist the most: linking up the causes we ourselves have set into motion with their effect on ourselves and others.
Once we remove this inner wall of resistance, it will seem foolish to have erected it in the first place. And it will be such a relief to see the orderliness of creation—the infinite mercy and justice woven into all that is. Plus, we’ll get a renewed sense of ourselves as an integral component of the fabric of life. All we do and desire and strive for and accomplish—it has an impact, whether we realize this or not.
We don’t need to fear or resist this reality. We only do so because we think our destructive bits are the whole pie—our ultimate essence and final reality. If that were true, it would indeed be unbearable. But that alternative is what the dark forces whisper into our ears. They want us to remain in pain and confusion, disconnected from the greater reality of life. For if we stay in the dark, we’ll rail against the pain of an unjust universe; we won’t see the beauty of God’s creation and the justice that permeates it all. We won’t see the truth that—really and truly, Scout’s honor—it’s all good.
And so we need to pray. We need to find faith in our ultimate goodness at our core, which will show itself only when we are able to see the darkness that is covering it up. Over and over, again and again, this is the step we need to take; and this step requires courage. We’ll find the strength to have the needed courage if we become aware that we matter. By simply existing, everything we do makes a difference.
Our thoughts do not befall us. We are the director of our thoughts. And with our thoughts, we create. They direct the flow of our feelings and choices. It’s a total illusion to believe that by not deciding our own thoughts or deeds, we don’t make a difference. Heck, we often think our choices have no impact even when we do make an effort. So then how much more do we doubt the effect of lukewarm withholding, or of not taking a stand, or not seeking out the truth.
The reality of the situation is that all our non-actions have just as much impact as what we do. It’s all registered in our soul substance, including our hidden motives for having no gumption. So all our attitudes and feelings that accompany any decision to not act are noted and recorded. Every thought sends out rays of energy that create according to their nature. We are already co-creating our current reality.
This new vision of ourselves as constant creators can lend a new dignity to our lives. It can motivate us to choose to be an agent on behalf of God, searching for disturbances inside ourselves that block the beauty and wisdom and truth that are ready to flow through the instrument of our being. Or we can do the devil’s work. Whether we consciously know what we are doing, matters not a lick. We’re still doing it, and it is no less harmful.
Life is all about changing, and we can transform the worst in us to the best in us, forever and always; our soul substance is infinitely malleable. We can overcome our Lower Selves, and find new self-esteem. By harnessing the courage and maturity to face whatever negativity is still in us, we restore our faith in Christ, in justice, and in goodness. Our souls can be restored to their original vibrant condition.
Our key is always to look at our level of fear and anxiety. To whatever degree we feel these, we will feel the pain of injustice. And to that exact same degree, we are unaware of the effect of our Lower Self and its consequences. Conversely, to the extent we are able to name our fears and look directly at the pain of injustice gnawing at our insides, we will overcome our resistance to seeing how we disconnect from the turmoil wrought by our Lower Self. This is the doorway through which we can remove a crazy-big burden from our backs caused by the pain of injustice. We’ll gain a new security that all is, indeed, very well.
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