Transcending our aversion to pain

A lot of the pain that we feel could be avoided simply by resolving our aversion to it.

In most cultures, we’re taught that pain is bad, that we shouldn’t feel it, and that if we do then someone or something is wrong.

Whether that refers to physical, mental, or emotional pain, holding this limiting belief about pain has the same result.  From very early on, we learn to fear pain and we become averse to it.

This unnecessary focus on trying to avoid pain leads us to believe, and therefore experience, that something’s wrong if any kind of pain gets triggered.

This conditioned in pain avoidance strategy tends to be one of the primary sources of intra and interpersonal conflict, discomfort, all kinds of fears and limitations, and ultimately the experience of suffering, i.e. the prolonged and repeated experience of pain through our own subconscious tendency to cling and hold on to it in an attempt to ultimately avoid it.

If we try to avoid or distract away from something that is a natural part of life, we tend to live in reactive fear of it and to believe that something’s wrong.

Pain is a natural part of life.  It can be the result of prior choices, actions, beliefs, fears, expectations, and judgments – that actually don’t truly serve us – being exposed as such.

When reality doesn’t match our prior understanding of reality, we feel pain.  It’s a short, temporary signal to change something in our understanding, including our understanding of pain itself.

Shifting our relationship to pain can lead to experiencing less of it, with less intensity, and over time, by releasing our aversion to it, transcending pain altogether.

Pain is our teacher. Trying to avoid, suppress, repress, or distract from it robs us of the opportunity to learn what it’s pointing to.

Through introspection, or simple meditative techniques, we can learn to sit quietly with our pain (sadness, regret, anger, disappointment, physical pain, difficult thoughts, etc.) and to look at it and see what it has come to teach us.

We have found that doing so can lead to transformational breakthroughs and heightened states of consciousness that would not otherwise be possible.

Sitting with our pain doesn’t mean dwelling on it or giving it more energy, it means feeling the energy of our pain, identifying its core root cause, and gaining the insights and understandings that will ultimately enable us to transcend pain permanently, both individually, and as a species.

Transcending pain and suffering ultimately leads to the experience of equanimity, where all experiences in life bring about the same state of being, and helps us achieve a life of greater inner peace, balance, and harmony.

If you’d like to try one approach to transcending pain through the process of meditation, listen to this short meditation:

Here’s a poem, to meditate upon, by Kahlil Gibran,  ‘On pain’:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity.
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


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