Have you ever learned that you have a particular
muscle only because you've strained it and now it
hurts? I've often heard people talk about muscles
they never knew they had, after a hard day's work has left
them sore. Our pain can be very beneficial to us if
we pay attention to it, for it can let us know things that
we still have to take care of, things that aren't as
strong as they could be.
For most people, though, pain is simply a signal to take
painkillers. No learning takes place, no paying of
attention, no questioning as to the true cause of the
pain. There's nothing saying that we should sit
there in agony just to try to "experience" our
pain, but the truth is that there is a lot to learn from
it. Sometimes it's not a deep lesson--I swung the
racket in an awkward way, and I pulled a muscle. But
often the pain comes from a deeper source, and it can be
worth our while to explore it--and the only way to explore
it is to experience it.
This goes for emotional pain as well as physical
pain. I spent years feeling horrible amounts of pain
from relationships, until I took the time to actually
explore the pain and learn from it--I found out some very
important things about how my own mind was causing that
pain because it associated what was happening to me in
relationships to what had happened to me as a child.
When I became aware of that dynamic, I learned ways to
break that pattern of association, and the relationships
stopped affecting me in the same ways.
Pain can be unpleasant, but it rarely is unbearable.
For the unbearable kind, fix it quickly, in the best way
you can. But for the other kinds, take a few moments
before you fix it to find out what it may be trying to
tell you--for there surely is a message for you, possibly
from you yourself, there in what we call pain. And
if we can learn that message, then perhaps what we call
pain may cease to feel like pain after all.