There are many reasons why in the human world, we create pain. Much of it comes from our need to survive against big odds, but not all of it. Some of it is created by mistakes in how we have approached problem-solving.
Control And Pain
The easiest way to create problems and to be in pain is to try to control that which cannot be controlled or should not be controlled. Unfortunately, humans have been using control as our objective for a very long time.
Control had its benefits. When you have good control, you can focus on your pressing and immediate concerns. You can be present to what needs attending to. It is a skill that lets you get things done. However, it can become a problem when it becomes something else.
Control as a strategy is used when it is perceived that there is not enough of something. It can apply to material needs as well as personal characteristics. Certainly, for early humans, there were huge needs, and not enough knowledge and resources to meet them, so control was an important way to set limits or boundaries, as we would call them now. The vulnerability was great, as you can well imagine if you tried to put yourself in the shoes of early humans who had little in the way of food and other resources to survive.
Control has also been used as a social agenda when certain aspects of our human nature are seen as dangerous. or to limit groups perceived as dangerous. The key is the perception of danger. For the longest time, the feminine has been treated as dangerous. Women have been treated as dangerous to men, a distraction and a burden even – since men have been encouraged to develop hard warrior skills, suppressing their softer qualities.
All aspects of ourselves have value and serve us. However, when we reject them, they are unavailable when we need them. We lose so much when we compartmentalize inappropriately. We lose connection with all of our natural intelligence that shows up in emotions and sensations as we go through life. We lose our adaptability and our ability to participate in an ever-changing world. We lose our roundedness also. These are all a very high price to pay to have a specific identity that we inhabit.
How Identity Messes Us Up
Identity has been one way we have created control in the human world. When we assign identity, we get a kind of order. The problem lies in the reality that the natural world is not designed to mirror our imposed narratives about identity. Every creature in nature, of course, has a place in the scheme of things. There is a difference in the way nature does this, and we do. Animals, let’s take a cat, is an animal first and then has the function by its species. By virtue of being alive, it is a part of nature and at home in nature. Its function is simply to do its part. In the human world, we are not so generous toward each other. We have a strong rejection dynamic that makes it hard for people to be and feel accepted, and often, we do not.
So the first issue is the acceptance of other beings as having a right to be here. Each of us has a right to live, express ourselves, and thrive along with everyone else. What we have done is deny that and created hierarchies where the lives of some are valued more than others. These status arrangements cause great pain for people whose well-being is devalued and also a loss of the talents and wisdom of people deemed “different” in some way.
Hierarchy creates huge distortions in how we assign value, merit, and resources and causes much pain for so many people. Now if hierarchies meant that wisdom prevailed in the leaders of our societies, that would be great. However, as we can all see, wisdom is not what we are getting because if it were, then we would have started working on environmental issues a long time ago.
Hierarchies that protect status and insulate members so that they can transfer risk and responsibilities to those who are lower ranked do not serve the common good and therefore do not serve the well-being of the people. Too often, we see that excesses of the hierarchically privileged cause a lot of damage to the strength and resilience of our natural resources as well as the important trust that makes human cooperation possible.
Unfortunately, that brings us to our 3rd source of pain, the denial of reality, which, when prevalent, makes it difficult and even impossible to solve our problems.
Can We Stop Treating Reality As The Enemy
Reality is our friend. Really! Our connection with reality is how we can say whether we are grounded or not. What has happened in our rigid hierarchical systems, is that reality is not really the consideration in making many of our decisions. The social hierarchy, who gets what and why, and who is in or not overrides important reality considerations, our environmental issues being the obvious manifestation of our refusal to deal with and even acknowledge reality. Reality is not just a figment of our imaginations. There is a physical world that is organized in interdependent and ecological ways to serve the aliveness of this earth, which also supports human life.
When we treat this amazing support for our lives with so much disrespect over as long as we have, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Because the natural world is interdependent, when we mess with one species, we affect all of the species that depend on it doing its part. We now hear of various species starving because of the disruption in natural migration patterns and the loss of the food sources they have depended on for eons. We are hurting nature and ourselves, and unfortunately, when you destroy interdependence, you cannot easily restore it because many factors go into creating a healthy ecology.
The Key To Ending The Pain
One of the most important things that we can do – all of us – to minimize unnecessary pain now and in the future is to become very grounded in the reality of the natural world so that we work with it rather than against it. We will gain so much when we do:
- We will connect with the physical realities of the world and the ever-changing nature of things so we can turn change into our friend rather than treat it like the enemy it is not.
- We will discover that having our feet solidly on the ground means we do not need to get stuck in social competitions that drain us. We can work together to make our world beautiful for everyone.
- We can dispense with the rejection games or hunger games dynamics that hurt so many people unnecessarily. What a waste of time, energy, resources, and talent. What would happen if we put all that energy and attention into healing the earth and our people?
- We can welcome all aspects of ourselves, realize how strong and complete we are, and use that to make working together easier for everyone.
Life does not have to be as painful as we have made it. All of the social competition and rejection in our cultures are harmful and counterproductive. When we shed these false ideas about how life has to be, we free ourselves for the nourishing and delightful world we deserve.
Thank you for watching this video. I hope you have enjoyed learning more about how joy can transform your life. If you found this video helpful, please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends and loved ones. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos on the transformative power of joy. I will be back soon to give you more information about how joy as a practice and compass can transform your life. Stay well and joyful until then.