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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lets Talk about Pain...

When I started writing this entry, it started raining. Now, the rain seems to have stopped and I expect it to rain again in a few minutes. I Love this weather but I enjoy it most when I am indoors.

Yet, even if I usually enjoy being indoors listening to an audiobook in bed, for example, when it’s raining, my positive experience is dampened by a persisting pain in my back muscles. I have meditated during these moments of pain but I still need more practice in effectively accepting the experience of pain. However, while meditation does help address the suffering caused by pain, it’s a misconception to believe that “it’s all in the mind”.

Indeed, Buddhism doesn’t deny that there is a biological factor involved in the experience of pain. However, Buddhism makes an important distinction between pain and suffering (or more accurately “dukkha”). In this sense, while pain is real, discomfort itself or how we relate to this pain causes the real suffering. Thus, by choosing to reject or deny our experience of our present pain, we give this pain control over ourselves. We become slaves of an idyllic past and mourning a future that never was. By resisting pain, we don’t change and, if there’s no change we are bound to wither and die.

This may all sound defeatist, but I’m not saying that one shouldn’t take any action to reduce pain. However, an experience of pain can teach us about what it means to be human. It reminds me that I am limited. I am reminded that I share with others in a human experience,.

I discover that, in spite of any pretensions, my body is no different to that of other living beings. Pain is an invitation to appreciate how precious life and how life is impermanent and how it could end at any minute.

With all its unpleasantness and discomfort, pain awakens us to the present moment.

And, the only moment that we can truly change is but now.

For, like the rain, our lives can end at any time.

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