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.