This post sprang from my personal experience of not running away from pain.
This habit was present in me from childhood. I Instinctively knew that if I avoided pain, this would form a habit and then even the smallest painful things would be hard to deal with and instead I would want to escape them.
Of course, since I wasn’t independent as a child, I had to accept the conventional healing methods given by my mother. But even my mother had a similar philosophy, and would only make me take pain medicines, or any other medicines for that matter, if the condition was serious.
Staying with pain makes you a much more careful person
If I got any sort of injury, I let the wound heal naturally, without taking any pain medicines. Of course, I would clean the wound and put some sort of healing balm, but I would never try to block the pain in any way.
This made me a much more careful person, because I knew the reality of pain and therefore would avoid potentially hazardous situations;
Whereas people who tend to escape from pain usually remain reckless, getting into similar problems that caused them the initial pain, and then again resorting to blocking the pain with medicines or in worse ways.
This also applies to people who reach for paracetamol whenever they get a headache rather than accepting the discomfort. This is a big problem, because by choosing to block the pain rather than exploring it, they remain ignorant of its type and cause.
So people who block pain do not go through that uncomfortable ordeal and thus remain as reckless as they were before the painful condition. If, however, they would remain with pain for days, the next time a similar situation of possible injury or discomfort presents itself, they would surely be much more careful.
For example, they would avoid drinking coffee if this habit results in headaches, or they would stay away from dangerous sports if they are likely to get injuries by engaging in them.
Staying with pain makes you understand its cause
Staying in the present moment and accepting your headache or any other pain will make you understand what causes it, if you stay with it long enough (if you don’t know the cause, that is).
If we take headaches as an example, not everyone gets headaches for the same reason, and not every headache feels the same way.
However, people who choose to block pain remain under the belief that all headaches feel pretty much the same and may believe that the causes of some of them may not be discoverable.
The reason I managed to avoid any serious health condition in my 32 years of life is just that. I don’t ignore pain, and I don’t run away from it. When I have pain anywhere, I totally focus on that area of my body and stay still.
This gives me insight into the condition sooner or later. The knowing comes from within and you just know it’s correct. Then I take appropriate actions to correct the condition. So far this worked every time, helping me to avoid needing to see doctors.
The understanding of the cause of pain comes from your alignment with that which is. Not even the best doctor would be that accurate.
Once that understanding comes, you will know how to eradicate the cause of headaches or any other pain. So that’s a much wiser thing to do than trying to get rid of the pain without addressing its cause.
Escaping from serious one-off pain is not the same as always avoiding it
Of course, when pain is extremely bad, like if you are about to undergo some kind of surgery, of course you should accept pain-relieving methods. This is not going to cause a problem.
The problem arises when people form a habit of constantly running away from discomfort, reaching for pain-relieving medicines even if they only have a headache or something as small as that.
This also applies to women who take medicines to avoid period pain. I already wrote about what causes great period pains in my Moon-gazing article, but even if you don’t read the article, if you could just tune into the pain and be observant in your everyday life in general, you would find the cause of troublesome periods.
Becoming stronger as a result of staying with pain
The habit of accepting pain made me a much stronger person able to handle greater and greater pains and stresses of life. The acceptance of pain made me see it as a great teacher.
You appreciate life much more because of it; pain makes you a much more sober individual who no longer takes things for granted. It can greatly humble you and once you learn the lesson and it’s gone, you are so grateful that it’s over, and you appreciate your pain-free state so much more.
Avoiding pain on a regular basis may carry over into other areas of your life, and it could be that you may start avoiding small pain as well. So this would weaken your character.
It could also be that if you avoid physical pain, you will later not be able to deal with emotional pain either, or any other sort of painful situation.
So pain teaches us to become stronger, more patient, and more careful human beings.
Harmful methods to escape pain
Also, the methods that people employ to escape pain are usually harmful.
For example, taking medicines to stop feeling pain blocks it, but it’s bad for your health and if the condition worsens, you are left ignorant of this change. This prevents you from taking timely action to remedy the situation.
Needless to mention, the harm that comes when people employ even worse methods to escape from pain, like drugs or alcohol, can be enormous.
Accepting the reality of pain makes you access universal power
If you avoid pain, it means you deny the reality of it. If you deny the reality of it, you cannot access the power that’s in that moment. You need to be completely aligned with the present moment to access its power.
When you’re aligned with the reality of pain, when you accept it even though it’s very unpleasant, you are aligned with that which is. Because you are aligned with the Universe/Life/God, you will get inspired to take the best action to remedy the situation.
When you accept what is, you also maintain the clarity of your mind. When there is no chaos in your mind, right inspiration springing from the Void/God/Universe reaches you without any distortions. This makes you able to take the most appropriate action to correct the condition.
Mindfulness and healing that arises from the acceptance of pain
In fact, such an unpleasant thing as pain can be very helpful. As I’ve already mentioned, it can make you into a truly strong person. Actually, the strengthening of character, once you see it happening, will further encourage you not to want to escape even a very great discomfort.
Just sit and feel it. That discomfort, that pain, needs to be processed. If you escape from it, it will not be processed but will remain as tension in the body which may manifest as some sort of disease later on.
This tension in the body is what is released during meditation when people start uncontrollably crying or screaming. Vipassana meditation of Goenka is the best for releasing this stored pain, in my experience.
But it’s best not to create this tension in your body in the first place by accepting the reality of the arisen pain and being okay with that. Resistance will store it in the body, acceptance will relatively quickly make it go away.
The same applies to blocking emotional expression. If anger has arisen, it’s better to let it out than storing it within, as later on it may manifest in a more violent way. It’s better to cry when you feel like it than keeping the unexpressed emotion within which may create health imbalances and stress.
Also, it’s important to know that when you stay present with your pain, your attention is the best medicine to heal it. Attention is energy. So the painful area (even if it’s mental pain) receives pure healing energy which is much more potent than medicines of any sort.
In this post I wanted to share with you my own way of dealing with pain and what I learnt from this way of living.
It’s very difficult to eradicate the habit of wanting to escape pain, so it’s best not to form it at all. And if it’s already formed, I advise to start accepting very small painful things first, like a headache, for example, and gradually you will be able to accept bigger discomforts also.
Life will always have pain, as long as it has pleasure. So pain should be seen as a natural part of life. If you welcome pleasure in your life, pain will come also, every time. And although everyone likes to experience pleasure, it doesn’t teach anything, unlike pain.
You cannot remain fully in touch with your body if you ignore some reality of it. Neglecting or resisting that which happens to it can cause the development of some imbalance, which, if left unattended, could be hard to correct in the future.
Pain is a call for help; we don’t ignore our injured pets or crying children. So pain is a cry of the body for you to pay attention. Instead of ignoring it, the wisest thing to do is to accept the reality of discomfort and tune into it to understand its cause.