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Words by Malidoma Somé: is pain good?

Malidoma Patrice Somé bridges paths between the ancient tribal world of the West African Dagara culture and modern Western society. His book Ritual: Power, Healing and Community is written with wild imagination, careful critical reflection, and intuitive insights that will forces us to encounter the world anew.

An excerpt from Ritual: Power, Healing and Community

Is it possible then to say that pain is good, primarily because it is a call to growth? The Dagara elders from Burkina Faso would say yes.

They believe that a person who has suffered is a person who has heard pain (won “Tuo”). The person hears the pain as a creative action, connecting that person with his or her highest self, which prescribes an alternative to spiritual death.

So pain at least teaches us something. It is commotion, e-motion and a call for a rebirth.

It teaches that one must return to a mode of living that began with life itself. And it draws from nature and the cosmos life-essence that seeks to align itself with the existing powers.

Artwork via @weheartit / Words @malidoma_patrice_some from the amazing book Ritual: Power, Healing and Community


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