Kensho Vs. Satori: The Difference Between Growing Through Pain And Growing Through Insight

I want to share with you an idea that had a big impact on my life.

It’s a concept that I learned during a conversation with spiritual thought-leader and founder of the International Agape Spiritual Center,  Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith.

And it’s called Kensho vs Satori.

Michael said that we can choose to grow in our life through pain.

Or we can grow in our life through insight.

Pain or insight.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But both of these elements dance with us throughout life.

And they’re designed to help us grow as individuals, as souls, and as human beings.

As you read through this article, pay attention to the difference and ask yourself, in the past few months, have you been growing by Kensho or Satori?

Now, Kensho is growth by pain.

It’s when pain enters our life to prompt us to make a shift.

You start a business.

But it fails and you lose a ton of money.

It’s painful.

But you look back at what may have gone wrong and learn what to do and what not to do the next time you attempt your next business.

You may be extremely ambitious at work.

But stress takes its toll and you fall ill.

It’s painful.

But once you recover, you make a commitment to take better care of your health.

You’re in a relationship.

But it ends.

It’s painful.

But the experience makes your heart more resilient and you learn to love and appreciate yourself more.

This is growth by Kensho (or pain).

Growth this way is often gradual and slow.

So slow in fact, you might not even notice it at that current moment.

But I’m willing to bet that if you just think about who you were three years ago versus who you are now, you’ll see that you’re a completely different person.

Because these Kensho moments, as small and as subtle as they are, build up over time.

Now, there is a second way we grow.

It’s far more pleasurable. But happens far less frequently.

It’s called Satori.

Satori comes from moments of sudden awakening.

It’s growth by insight.

And they can seem to come TO you almost at random.

It’s that “A-ha!” moment we’ve all felt when something just clicks.

An idea you picked up from a personal growth program.

A revelation you get from a retreat or a seminar.

A new form of wisdom you may gain from a book or a meditation practice.

Satori is pleasant. It’s pleasurable.

But best of all, it levels you up in a way where the things that used to scare is just a distant memory.

You operate at a completely different level and you can take on new life challenges (challenges that you wouldn’t have taken before) with confidence and courage.

And here’s why understanding these two concepts had such a profound impact on me.

The idea of Satori made me realize just how important it is for us to fully embrace personal growth.

Yes, Satori moments happen infrequently.

But by immersing ourselves in our personal growth, we put ourselves in the best position to receive inspiration

And life becomes an ever-growing unfolding of new ideas, insights, and awakenings.

The idea of Kensho on the other hand, made me see and experience “painful” moments in my life in a completely different light.

“Pain” was no longer something that would pull me down.

Instead, pain became an indicator to me that I was on the cusp of new growth—It was just a matter of course-correcting the direction of my life to find that path to level up.

So the next time you experience a painful moment, as we all do in life, ask yourself this…

“What have I learnt from this and how can I grow?”

And when you do, you’ll quickly realize that pain is nothing more than the Universe’s way of directing you to take the next step in life.

Below is an image taken from my book that I want to share with you, which shows how Kensho and Satori moments affects our quality of life over time.

So back to my original question…

  1. Which way have you been growing in the last few months? Kensho or Satori?
  2. What were the Kensho (pain) moments that hinted to you that to change?
  3. What Satori (insight) moments did you receive and how did it shift the way you see the world?

Share your experience with me in a comment below.

Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder of Mindvalley, the education company behind many of the world's top apps, festivals, events, courses and more in the field of human transformation and personal growth.

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