"The next time you stub your toe, instead of sending the habitual aversion that so mimics hatred into the already agitated sensations, consider love.

"As the pain is cut loose from its habitual moorings, this opening around pain has been shown to increase the flow of the immune system to the affected area. Because we are conditioned to send hatred into our pain, when we let go of our negative attachment to what ails us, this compulsive resistance, and instead send love where it was never considered possible, we turn the tables on our loathing.

"Healing is to reoccupy those parts of ourselves abandoned to pain; to enter with mercy and awareness those areas withdrawn from in fear.

"Experimenting, as suggested, with a minor cut or burn, we see how an area softened around and used as a focus for loving-kindness may heal days before another that is turned away from. Compare the time it might take a wound met with mercy to heal to one that is not.

"Working with our pain is an act of compassion to others as well, allowing us to stay a bit longer at the bedside of one frightened or agonized by birth and dying. Allowing us to keep our heart open in hell.

"When the compassion we send into our pain begins to include others experiencing this same pain at the same time, a 'reversal of fortune' occurs as we experience not just our own pain but the pain, the shared pain that inhabits the common body. No longer your problem alone, the pain we all share creates a community of interbeing and healing. My pain is a tragedy; the pain is a further teaching in compassion. When we meet pain with mercy, we serve a world of suffering."