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The Beauty of Pain

In a mystical magical way­, the pain and struggles of life are good, helping us evolve on this Grand Adventure. The tests and trials are intended to strengthen us and eventually lead us all to AWAKENING. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Our scars should be considered sacred, reminding us of where we’ve been. I used to think of awakening as a gift, but I now understand that it’s really a reward. You have earned this awareness. Don’t waste another day!

As I discuss in my book AWAKEN the Sleeping Giant, this is the ‘School of Life’ doing its job. Like any school, we will be tested. All life experiences are learning lessons and the Universe is a powerful teacher. Some students will take the time to study each lesson and will advance quickly. Many others will race to the next experience without reflecting on the present moment. Unfortunately, this is how most of us live — too worried about the future to learn from the NOW. As a result, we feel trapped in what seems like a never-ending cycle of struggle.

Don’t worry — things will get worse. Seriously, this isn’t a typo. At first, the Universe will give us a gentle poke intended to guide us on the correct path. If we ignore the lesson, that gentle guidance will progressively become stronger. The longer we ignore these clues, the more painful life will become. Eventually it’s like getting hit over the head with a club.

The time it takes for us to evolve and awaken — to become fully human — is directly related to our tolerance for pain. I know this from personal experience. I was one of the stubborn ones. I spent a lot of time stuck in this stage, repeating the same mistakes over and over. I had plenty of lumps on my head! This is what I mean when I say, ‘luckily things will get worse.’ If these lessons did not progressively become more painful, you really would be stuck in a never-ending cycle with no hope for change. The Universe wants us all to succeed. Since life’s experiences were meant to guide us, I now understand that even the painful events should be considered blessing — leading us towards our eventual awakening.

Okay, I think I’m ready. I’ve had enough! But what does it really mean to awaken??

Awakening is a simple process that only requires a shift in awareness. Contrary to what many believe, this is not some hocus pocus idea that can only be achieved by some highly evolved guru. Well, you do need to be evolved, but give yourself some credit. You have reached that point in life, where you decide you’ve had enough. You have put your head in your hands and shifted your focus within, asking that magical question — is there more to life than this? Celebrate when this day arrives! For me, it was like Ali Baba saying, ‘Open Sesame.’ Doors will open and treasures will be revealed.

In a nutshell, I believe the root cause of all pain, suffering, and struggle is our disconnection from Source. We were all born into this world as Body & Soul, both equally important for this adventure. In our early development, the Soul agrees to take the back seat. Call it a temporary hibernation. We have much to learn about human nature. Our survival depends on it. During this process, we become so accustomed to taking instructions from our ‘small self’ that we completely forget about our Soul — the Sleeping Giant. Although forgetting our Divine Nature is a necessary stage in our development, so is remembering!

So, let’s return to the original question, what does it mean to awaken? Simply stated, awakening is the process of self-realization — remembering or reconnecting with our True Nature. Although I’m not a religious guy, I would like to share an interesting tidbit. The Latin root of the word religion is re-ligare, which means to bind or re-connect. Traditionally understood to mean the reconnection of the human and the divine. The same is true for the word yoga — to join, yolk or unite. THIS IS IT! To become aware of your Divine Nature is what it means to ‘awaken.’

When the Soul went into hibernation, an empty void was created. Like an itch you can’t scratch, this subconscious void always keeps us longing for more — craving fulfillment. The School of Life has allowed us to chase external stimuli attempting to fill this void. These are our learning lessons. If we’re lucky, we soon discover that these external solutions (more toys, money, food, power, sex, etc.) still leave us feeling empty. The longer we linger at this stage, the more we will run the risk of becoming victims of addiction. Drugs and alcohol can distract us and temporarily numb us from this pain — only to leave us feeling worse in the end. When we finally have the courage to look within for answers, the Sleeping Giant begins to awaken.

I promise, the process is simple once you understand the basic premise. The Universe isn’t trying to punish you. Don’t believe the adage, Life’s a bitch and then you die. It’s just not true! When did we become so complacent — comfortable in our discomfort? Sure, the School of Life can be a “bitch” at times, but this stage was only intended to be temporary. Why do so many of us make this our permanent home? We evolve by paying attention to these lessons and adjusting. We need to stop treating the symptoms of our dis-ease and look for the root cause of suffering. Treating symptoms will only lead to prescriptions for more Prozac. Life is all about cause and effect. Again, the root cause is our illusion of separation. It’s time to look within and reconnect!

Now you know the secret and you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I’m here to tell you that you have a choice. Free will determines how long you remain stuck. If you decide you’ve had enough — CONGRATULATIONS! This decision represents the beginning of your awakening process. When Body & Soul are reunited and you begin taking direction from your Inner-Guide, life becomes the amazing adventure it was intended to be.

Written by Craig Kolavo, author of Awaken the Sleeping Giant and founder of AwesOm Life. Learn more at

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