Thrill and Pain
by Robert Bloom
Reports of a huge snowfall drew me to the ski slopes today, and I wasn’t disappointed. The crisp air and picture postcard perfect conditions were breathtaking. Something about the slopes has always appealed to me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have to remain intensely focused and present in order to keep body and mind intact, especially on this day. It was the first time I’d strapped on a pair of skis in more than a decade.
As I considered this fact, just prior to the first run of the day, I was reminded of a conversation I had with myself many, many moons ago. It was during a period in my life when I was experiencing intense emotional pain. I no longer recall exactly what gave rise to this inner turmoil, but I remember the lesson it taught me.
At the time, I was alert and awake enough to recognize that I’d been repeating the same unwanted emotional patterns most of my adult life, which got me to wondering, Why was that? What was I getting out of it? What was in it for me? That’s when I had a stark epiphany. I knew I was alive. As painful as it was, and as unwanted as it seemed to be, there was no mistaking this fact. Dead folks don’t feel pain. The intense pain informed me that I was alive.
Without dwelling on this insight too long, and without really thinking at all, I closed my eyes and began to muse about other experiences that supplied the same feedback. The first image that appeared in my mind’s eye was a pair of skis, hanging over a ledge, poised to take a plunge! The memory was still vivid in my mind. I could feel the cold breeze on my face, hear the crunch of the snow, and feel the excitement flowing through my veins. I could actually feel myself leaning forward. It was just the mountain and I – everything else disappeared. I felt totally present.
That’s when it hit me. The only two moments in my life when I felt totally alive were during moments of intense pain, or intense thrill. Everything else felt a bit lifeless, a bit dull. No wonder I’d been giving myself pain. It satisfied a very basic and primal need within me. I needed, I wanted, to feel fully alive. This was a watershed moment.
Moving forward, I decided to fill in the big blank that existed between thrill and pain. In other words, instead of relying on peak experiences to provide this feedback, I chose to actively welcome and explore all the feeling experiences that arose each and every moment in life, including the most mundane. I became curious about what I’d been missing. For example, whenever I felt cravings for food, instead of making a beeline for the fridge, I sat and explored that feeling state for a while. I did the same if I noticed myself procrastinating. Instead of leaping into activity, I’d explore the inner roadblock first. More and more, I became conscious about whatever I was feeling in the moment.
In time, this decision, this commitment, proved useful. I became much more sensitized to both the world within, as well as the world in which I existed. I began to feel happy in the quiet moments, for no reason whatsoever. My black and white world turned to color. Just as important, I no longer found it necessary to create so much pain.
Live your truth!
Growing Into a Life You’ll Love
Author Robert Bloom is an ordinary guy who surrendered to his spiritual calling and gained a few powerful insights along the way. He believes that the difficulties we face in life aren’t meant to brutalize or defeat us; rather, they’re meant to liberate our spirit. Understanding forgiveness is the key. Learn more about Robert and his book at his website, TheUniversalKeys.com.