michael stone on the gift of our wounds

Lately, my wounds feel so gaping and oozing that I can hardly imagine them serving any purpose beyond causing me pain. But in this short video, shot and edited by Ian MacKenzie, Michael Stone reflects on the potential of our wounds to be tools of compassion.

What if I can use the ways that I’ve been scarred? What if we can use the ways that we’ve been wounded? As the springboard for action? What if our wounds are actually tools. What if somebody who suffered from an eating disorder, or someone who suffered from depression, or someone who suffers from anxiety, recognizes that the way they work with their anxiety, the way their practices help them overcome depression — what if they see that that process of working with their woundedness actually gives them real tools to take positive and creative action in the world? ~ Michael Stone


  1. Personally i believe that life without pain is impossible. The transfer of life from one being to another is violent and requires the complete destruction of one thing so its life force can be carried on in another. It doesn’t matter if it is a tomato eaten by a child or a mouse eaten by a snake. Even the body of a human being buried in the ground. I look at “wounds” I think it would be very easy to mis-understand and discuss this video in error as different people might have different definitions of the words he uses especially wounded. To me I initially think of a wound as something that I am carrying with me from my past and i have a negative reaction to it however I understand what he is saying. If i look at wounded as the actual definition in its most literal way like I am cut open and bleeding. I am damaged and in need of healing i can especially agree with him. The call for action to treat the wound. A fish never discovers water because it spends its entire life submerged in it. LIkewise these wounds of society can go undiscovered and untreated. I think a book could be written here. Anyway thanks for getting me thinking about this stuff.

  2. Ooooh – I am hoping to do a workshop with him in Feb next year – this has made me even more excited!

    It’s amazing the power that a shift in perspective can bring. While I would not necessarily embrace the word “gift”, I certainly agree that in the long run if we can learn from our suffering and use it to change our perspective on the world, it can bring us closer to our authentic selves.

  3. A life without pain would be a life without signals of limitation. Would we want to live a life without pain? What would that mean? What would it look like and how would it feel? It sounds so tempting, but it does not bear up well on close consideration.

  4. I tend to agree. Wounds can be sharp points to build armor in the illusion of protecting yourself while keeping you apart from others. Or skilled tools to build empathy in dealing with others.