Pain Prompts Growth

By Swami Nirmalananda

I remember silently bemoaning my life, in the middle of an intense personal crisis.  The history of my life looked to me like I had been trying to walk across an ice rink on high heels, slipping and teetering from one near crash to another with a few flashy falls along the way.  This was B.Y. (before yoga).  Life definitely wasn’t working for me.  It had never been working.  It didn’t even make any sense to me and I was in despair again.  There were no tears — I was beyond crying.

As I sat there, I experienced a strange sensation uprising within me — a dawning realization that there was something underneath all the turmoil.  It was an amazing inner feeling of continuity.  In that moment, everything changed.  I knew, in all of the precipitous changes I had been through, something deeper had been there all along.  The one constant, in the midst of all those changes, was me — I was there.

No matter who else was involved, I was there and I had somehow found my way through.  Even when life was a complete flop, I survived.  Even when there were scars from what I went through, I kept on going.  I knew something in that moment and it has never left me.  I knew I could trust.  This is not a trust of anything outside of me, not even a trusting that I will always choose the right direction to go, but the trust of this inner something that was and is always there for me.  It was the beginning of the end of fear.  It was the experience of the inner continuity of being that underlies the constant change, life itself happening on the surface of that deeper reality.

I had found what a yogic sage described 1300 years earlier:

The Supreme Reality of your Own Being is inwardly experienced as unbroken consciousness, the unchanging sense that “I am I.”  It is the unchanging Reality within.

-Shri Shankaracharya, Vivekachudamani

Wow!  What if I did the practices that the sages recommend?  Might I find the “more” that they promise?  And maybe even without all the pain I’d been using to prompt my transformations?

The answer is a resounding yes.  It is the enlightened masters that unlock the key to discovering who you already are.  This is not a DIY operation.  This is a path of Grace.


Excerpt from Continuity Amidst Change, published October 2003

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