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Physical pain. Mental pain. They’re the same thing.

This notion would have met much skepticism within me not long ago.

After more than five thousand cases during my practice as an acupuncturist and Chinese medical physician, I’ve been given the honor—not to remove anyone’s suffering for them—but to allow my patients to open up to their experience, naturally releasing suffering in the innumerable ways the body-mind wants to.

A recent patient cried the moment we sat down to meet one another. His wife and I, both of us understanding without speaking, knew he needed this space to release his pain this way. He surprised himself. He and the rest of his family were oblivious to the level of pain he was dealing with every single day.

In an era where we have our own living space, our own car, our own schedule, the idea of community seems almost antiquated. We’re left to sift through our own pain, making it very easy to believe we are alone in our suffering, which only serves to compound our pain. These days, community has been replaced with the social network. We, sitting behind our own computers, select digitally who are our own friends, and become digitally oblivious to our pain.

It’s time to let go, to disown what we own. Cast off the idea that our environment would rather have us deal with our own problems by ourselves in the confines of our own life. Release into a world knowing that everyone is in pain. Everyone. And that this is normal.

We can stop blaming our past, our families, and ourselves for life’s follies. It’s up to each of us to embrace our pain. Each and every one of us is alive to move through these challenges. I find that those who cower from this truth find their pains return, and bigger, and often bringing “friends.” Do not push pain away. Do not curse your experience. Welcome it in and love it—for it is you.

Overcome any bitterness that may have come to you
because you were not up to the magnitude of the pain
that was entrusted to you.
Like the mother of the world,
who carries the pain of the world in her heart,
each of us is part of her heart
and therefore endowed
with a certain measure of cosmic pain.
You are sharing in the totality of that pain.
You are called upon to meet it in joy,
instead of self-pity.
The secret: offer your heart as a vehicle
to transform cosmic suffering into joy.

—A Sufi Teaching as elucidated by Stephen Levine in “Who Dies?

 

Jason Moskovitz, LAc, DiplOM is a board-certified acupuncturist, national diplomat of oriental medicine, herbal physician, nutritional counselor, and Tai chi coach at Tao Of Wellness. Jason has administered thousands of successful treatments in areas of women’s health, infertility, elder care, and joint pain. At his practice Jason offers his patients friendship. He teaches them acceptance of their ever-changing condition, allowing the body to heal itself and the outlook to widen. Connect with Tao Of Wellness on Facebook and Twitter.