Pain is an inseparable part of life, and so everyone experiences it to one degree or another. Only a few, however, understand what pain truly is and how to best deal with it when faced with it.
Below are three of the most important, hard-hitting truths about pain that people tend to forget, which I’ve learned the rough way from painful experiences that I had to go through during the course of my life, and which helped me to better understand pain and experience it far less in times of trouble.
You Can’t Have Pleasure Without Pain
Most people are seeking to maximize pleasure and minimize pain, not realizing that pain and pleasure are actually two sides of the same coin — you can’t have one without the other.
But why is that so, I can hear you asking.
Because pleasure, just like pain, is a temporary feeling. Like a wave that rises very high above the surface of the sea is bound to soon fall and disappear into the waters, in the same way pleasure arises in our consciousness and soon afterwards dissolves and disappears into nothingness.
Pleasure comes quickly, and goes as quickly as it comes, and although it feels nice while it lasts, after it’s gone the lack of it can be very painful to those who are attached to it. Think, for example, of the intensely pleasurable experience of sexual orgasm. It can feel amazing while it’s there, but once it’s gone its absence usually leads to emotional discontent.
Pleasure and pain always go hand-in-hand, so the more we seek pleasure, the more pain we’re attracting into our lives, which in turn makes us thirsty for even more pleasure, thus creating a never-ending cycle of suffering.
Pain is Necessary for Growth
Pain is, in a sense, a wake-up call — it awakens us to the fact that there’s something wrong with the way we’re living and urges us to take action in order to correct that wrongness.
The more we choose to neglect pain, the more pain we’re going to experience, until a point will come when it’ll be unbearable and we’ll feel forced to do something about it.
Pain, therefore, isn’t a bad thing, as most people believe. On the contrary, the truth is that pain can be quite helpful, if we pay attention to it and learn from it. In fact, as Carl Jung once said, “there is no birth of consciousness without pain.”
With pain comes the need for increased intelligence. Pain is compelling us to find out why it’s there so that we can find ways to cure it and change the way we live so as to make sure we’ll avoid experiencing it in the future. So next time you find yourself in pain, ask yourself: “What can I learn from it?”
Treating the Symptoms of Pain Won’t Cure Pain
To get rid of a tree, you need to remove it from its roots. In the same way, if you want to cure pain, you need to address its root causes.
Unfortunately, that’s far from what people usually do.
Do you feel sad? Don’t worry, have a few drinks and you’ll soon forget your worries. Are you still feeling sad? Take this miraculous pill and all your sadness will disappear into thin air!
As idiotic as the above scenario might seem, this is pretty much how most people are trying to deal with pain. The result? Even more pain.
Choosing to avoid feeling our pain, we neglect treating it. And even if we find a ‘quick fix’ that helps us to not sense it for a while, that doesn’t in any way helps us to actually get rid of it. It’s like taking a pain killer when a part of your body is hurting from an injury — although your consciousness might not register it under the influence of the drug, the wound is still there.
By trying to treat pain on a symptoms-level, we don’t take the time to find out the root cause from where all symptoms are sprouting. This way more and worse symptoms of pain might manifest in the future.
Life can be quite painful sometimes, but it is in our hands to decrease the amount of suffering that we’re experiencing, by paying more attention to our pain, embracing it and learning the important lessons that it always has to teach us.