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what is pain?

what is pain? i’ve recently started seeing it as a gift that opens us to a deeper understanding of who we are. without pain would we ever take the time to look into the layers below the surface? what other than pain penetrates who we have been and into who we can become? love is brilliant. love is indescribable. however, love only grows us through pleasure. of course this depends greatly on ones definition of love…

i could go on for pages about love being an action rather than a feeling. we have loving feelings, but love by divine design is god and all that we know to be god’s goodness for our lives. therefore, love is a state of being and not truly a feeling. however, for ease of writing an essay and staying true to form of a blog let’s assume that love is what we know as pleasure…those desirable feelings associated with romance, friendship, affection.

if that is the case then those pleasurable states can only grow us so much. loving feelings and pleasurable states of being don’t challenge us to dig deeper into who we are. only pain brings us to a halt. only pain stops us dead in our tracks to ponder what the hell is happening. only pain brings the pause to look within. and the pause could potentially be the single most important moments in our lives. those pauses of pain, if not quenched quickly by replacements of more pleasure, push us deeper. they are the moments that demand us to know our greatest selves. they push the questions, “who am i?”, “what am i made of?” “what am i supposed to do now?” “what the fuck is happening in my life?”….etc.

the pain gifts us to face our darkness. and our darkness is just as much a part of us as our light. however, if our lives are designed for pleasure and constant avoidance of the pain then we miss the opportunities to truly know ourselves. it’s an odd truth, but a truth nonetheless. simply put, pain breaks through our present realities so that we can evolve into expanded forms of who we are. our hearts break, open, stretch…our minds shift, neurological pathways reform, confusion turns into greater understanding and expanded perspectives of what life means. these are but a few gifts found in pain.

i’m learning so much through pain. and one of the greatest of these gifts is not to rush my way out of pain, but to let the pain speak to me. to invite it in. don’t get me wrong, this is not in some martyr sense of hurting myself, but the reality of what happens as you give pain it’s space. it’s opportunity to work out in you.

pain is having it’s way with me and as a result i am opening to greater capacities to love, a more compassionate view of the world, an expanded perspective of grey and letting go of the black and white. pain is becoming my friend. it still doesn’t feel good. pain still equals the opposite of pleasure in feeling, but in regards to states of being pain brings with it an abundance of beauty.

may the pain unfold before you and shower you with it’s beauty as we discover who we are.

big love,


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About the Author

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Zane Wilemon is the Founder and Executive Director of Ubuntu. Zane discovered his life’s calling after purchasing a one-way ticket to Kenya in 2000. After living in Kenya for a year, Zane’s life was changed as he recognized that our lives are inextricably tied to God and one another. UBUNTU’s core value is to create opportunities that empower each other to lift ourselves beyond our perceived limitations. Zane is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and his Masters in Divinity from the Seminary of the Southwest.

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