Most of us avoid and run from pain. Our habit, as we were taught, is to run from pain and to seek pleasure. Most of us accept this as the way to react and perform. Commercials add to this tendency of ours, portraying pain as something horrible to avoid; additionally, they tempt us to go after exotic vacations, possessions, and fancy (though polluting) automobiles. The relationship that a truly intelligent and wise mind has to pain may be quite different than the relationship that most people have (or do not have) with pain. As long as it is not too unbearably intense, the intelligent mind may not merely detest it, avoid it, and flee from it. The intelligent mind doesn’t come to pain with all of the prejudices, judgements, and ingrained reactions that so many face pain with. Similarly, the intelligent mind doesn’t just approach certain races, ethnic groups, and certain classes of people with (and through) all kinds of preconditioned prejudices and judgements; they are seen simply as they are (without a mere separative viewpoint). There is much beauty in that; even pain can — and often does — have elements of beauty to it if one looks without mere condemnation. One can come to terms with pain in an intelligent, harmonious way.
We avoid pain so readily, so quickly, so mechanically. Avoiding pain goes back eons into our evolutionary past and does have its place. However, remaining in thought — and the limited (which is what thought is) — as so many of us inevitably do, is (in a big way) a real form of suffering and pain. It is like a man clinging to shadows and wholeheartedly taking the shadows to be what reality truly is. It is also like an organism taking a mere tool to be the essence of what it is. Very many of us cling to concepts, mental images, beliefs, and to our authoritarian leaders (who themselves are as lost as we are). So many of us have a central authoritarian leader whom we each call “me” or “I.” Yet this so-called central figure (purporting to be some sort of central authority) is what was conditioned into us (from others with the same syndrome); we continue, day in and day out, to look at the world with separation (yet we think we are healthy). Distortion isn’t healthy. Even though it may claim to be fine, it causes suffering and causes havoc in the world (directly or indirectly). You can’t intelligently come to terms with pain if there is not proper relationship to it and to other aspects of life, both psychologically and physically. When one is separate from what is experienced or thought, then fear, distortion, and suffering take place. (Very many think that they are separate from their thoughts, fears, and from others who are suffering.) When the mind acts without mere dependency upon what others have taught, then physical pain (personally) isn’t always so bad; and then the mind isn’t merely immersed in the pool of psychological suffering that so many accept as normal. Such a mind transcends (and helps to transcend) suffering. Such a mind doesn’t mind undergoing a lot of pain and discomfort (and lack of pleasure) in order to help others. Compassion negates pain (not necessarily in one’s so-called personal self). If wholeness and integrity aren’t there — they’re not two separate things, by the way — neither is true joy, deep intelligence, and profound bliss.
Thank you, sixrosesplusone! 🙂
Good points re pain. Lots to ponder.
Thank you! I’m so glad that i got you thinking more about it, Jean! 🙂
Re the photos – isn’t the world a fabulous place!
Yes indeed! 🙂 We need to do much more (for the environment) to keep it that way!
Well said, Tom. I have suffered much in life over pain… injustice and my perceptions of how things should be. I suppose going through that long, dark journey was necessary in order for me to evolve to where I am today. It’s highly fascinating how marketing and tribal influence either helps to keep us in pain (victim) or encourages us to escape (pleasure, medication), instead of allowing it to work its magic.
Yes… tribal influence! 🙂
I know how very close to nature you are, Lori; that can tend to make one not only feel one’s own personal pain but also deeply feel the pain and struggle of the many animals and plants. That makes evolving a lot tougher… but that is really what true evolving entails. Keep doing it! (… as we know you will.)
Lovely snail, and interestingly I believe there is a sea snail that has been used to develop a really good pain killer, useful for those of us allergic to morphine! 🙂
Very interesting! Well, the right photos were chosen then! 🙂
haha Apparently so 🙂
Your words are wonderful and true and I feel the same like you about pain. Thanks for a little philosophy on Sunday, Thomas. Regards Mitza
Thank you, Mitza! 🙂 I’m glad you feel the same re pain. Too many were programmed to react to it in a certain way… and to chase after pleasure in a certain way.
during my public health career
i should have had a campaign
run, don’t walk
towards the pain 🙂
My parents and relatives, from Polish ancestry, would “brag” about their pain. To them, you were a “saint” if you had to bear a lot of pain. In a strange way, it’s true; those with a lot of severe pain are carrying the burden for us all regarding the pain that exists (and must exist) in the universe. Pain is universal… not personal.
Pain is a powerful messenger at all levels. 💛
Yes, Val! 🙂 As I said to smilecalm (David) up above, pain is universal, not just limited and personal.
Well, I do declare, you are not just Buddha Tom, you are Vipassana Buddha Tom! …see, the thing that gave you away, was discussing: clinging and aversion (“run from pain to seek pleasure”), however, cloaking the concept of clinging and aversion with different words did not work, Vipassana Buddha Tom! I saw it right away! But then, maybe it was your fab pics, either way, you most certainly are the above *new* name!
Thanks, Genie! You are too kind! 🙂 One thing is for sure: Pain is universal; it is not just my pain or your pain… it is our pain (that all of life shares). When someone suffers, he or she is making a payment for us all.
very thoughtful post. as a runner, pain is very important to me, it’s how my body tells me when i’m risking or experiencing injury, it’s my warning to back off before i do major damage. what is difficult is not the pain, but the the extrapolation from the pain to what it means for my ability to achieve important goals, that is raising questions about the current run, future training schedule, and races. that’s not pain, that’s anxiety, and it’s why veteran runners like Huraki Murakami say, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”
Your body, if one listens to it correctly, has an intrinsic, organic intelligence that tells you when enough is enough or when to slow down and take it easy. I like Huraki’s saying. Be sure to wear excellent running shoes and, personally, i feel that one is asking for knee surgery later in life if one runs a lot on concrete. Concrete is not natural and it will gradually cripple your body.
i pick my running shoes carefully, but even more fun is running barefoot (depending on surface) – this weekend 30 miles barefoot (at the track), 16 on roads in shoes!
Wise words, there is definitely a lot of truth in that.
Thanks screamingmummy! One certainly hopes so! 🙂
Great shots Tom, and a fascinating insight into pain. Is that last shot the underneath of a snail?
Thanks, Karen! 🙂 The last shot is just some special-effects distortion, which is a bit of an artistic manipulation of the actual snail photo. Oftentimes these distortions are not meaningless, as they have a bit of an Escher-like dimension to them.
Very true.We always try to escape from pain and that keeps our pain alive as long as we live. For that reason, we cannot enjoy the bliss. So nicely you explained this hard truth of life with the amazing photos.
Yes, thanks, Shine! And, in another way, it can be seen not merely as something we have… but as something that is a fundamental part of what we actually are.
I like the kaleidoscope snail. I think pain is subjective, relative and can be lived with and ignored upon occasion.
Thank you, Sherry! 🙂
Some of us have better tolerance than others; it is all too easy to be conditioned to overreact to it.
Wonderful shot Tom ! 🙂
Thank you much, Marcela! 🙂