Change Your Mind About Pain

 

Having lived with pain for 6 years, I kept asking myself “what can I do about this pain?!” Then I realized - I’d been asking the wrong question.

It wasn’t about what I should do about it. That belief turned out to be the very reason why my pain was so nagging. 

We all experience painful, unpleasant things in life. It’s a universal part of it. Just like the out breath follows the in breath.

So the question is:

How are we when we can’t alleviate pain?

Well, we're a lot of ways. 

We also prepare our minds for that which we can’t escape. This is hard. I know about the yearning to just find an off switch.

Pain is your monastery, your teacher is with you all of the time.
— Shinzen Young

Here’s How We Get There

There's a Theravada Buddhist teaching that tells us a painful sensation for us is like being shot with a dart in the foot. But when touched with a feeling of pain - we get DISTRAUGHT. So it’s like another dart in the other foot because we’re feeling two pains now - physical and mental.

There's an important distinction between the pain or the sensation and how we relate to it.

It’s a miracle! There is actually something to control, and it’s our relationship to the pain.

Doing this involves investigation and practice because how we see things determines how we relate. If our view is off, everything that follows from it will be off.

 

Changing Mind About Pain

 

1. Feeling or sense that it’s not okay

Becomes "this is natural because if there is a body, there will be pain."

 

2. Being upset about it

Turns into encountering with interest.

 

3. My pain is the worst

 Becomes a deepening of humanity and compassion for all suffering.

 

4. Willingness to touch the pain and everything around it

Turns into tremendous courage and the ability to see what’s supporting the pain.

 

The perspective we bring in mind releases resistance that perpetuates our pain.

Thank you for being willing to look at beliefs. It's not always easy, but we have choices. And not shooting two darts when possible is a huge victory.