Pain as Your Teacher

woman reflecting

“Pain is your best friend. It is infinitely more honest with you than pleasure. Despite what you might think, the painful experiences you have had benefit you far more than the pleasurable ones, even though most of us spend our lives trying to duck and hide from them.

But when you can center yourself and be open to look pain dead in the eye, then you have transcended the limits of your ego and this humanity. It is then that you enter into the possibility of becoming a great being.”

~ Swami Chetanananda

When I first read these words I wanted to reject them. How could pain be my best friend?

Yet, looking back on the painful, challenging and disappointing experiences in my life, I understand.

Through dark times we find courage and resourcefulness that we may not have thought we had within us.

We break open and feel into what matters.

We learn about ourselves and grow as human beings.

We are able to see the pain in others and feel more connected to them.

We enter the possibility of becoming great beings.

 

… and knowing this helps.

Namaste

 

 

 

53 responses to “Pain as Your Teacher

  1. Yes, this is very true Val, its not until later in hindsight we begin to see this, and I have now become grateful for those times of painful darkness, for it was only through overcoming them, that I am who I am today..
    Wonderful inspiration..
    Sending Love, and Light dear Val.. And thank you
    Sue πŸ’œ

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you dear Sue for your warmth and kindness. When we reflect on the past, there are many treasures waiting to be revealed. πŸ’›πŸ™πŸ’›

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  2. You’re right, it does help, Val. πŸ™‚

    As you may already well know, suffering (‘Dukkha’), which is not pain per se but its correlate ‘suffering’ or ‘unsatisfactoriness’ is said in Orthodox Buddhism to be one of just three gateways to liberation; the other two being knowledge of impermanence (‘Anicca’) and non-self (‘Anatta’).

    H ❀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you dear Hariod for adding insight and depth to this.πŸ’› No matter where we are along the path, we all share the experience of feeling pain. My experience has been that our awareness of suffering grows as our ignorance (avidya) lessens. I haven’t studied Buddhism, but there are many parallels in yoga philosophy. πŸ™

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pain CAN be a teacher, but we have to CHOOSE to learn from it, then let it go . . .

    For example, when we bruise our egos, we often slow down (or halt) the healing process by picking at the wound, adding to our pain, and creating unnecessary suffering:

    We analyze what happened.
    We turn it over in our minds.
    We tell other people what happened.
    We solicit their opinions.
    We gather support for Ego’s view of the situation.
    We get mad/sad all over again.
    We may desire retribution.
    In extreme cases, we may plot our revenge . . .

    Does all this ego-maneuvering and posturing teach us anything?
    Not necessarily.

    When we hang on to the pain of negative emotions (hurt, frustration, anger, sadness, or grief), we can aggravate the impact of the initial injury by letting it and the accompanying pain eclipse everything else in our lives. We can get stuck for days, weeks, months, and even years, watching the same stale re-runs over and over, instead of choosing to move forward . . . while learning from the pain.

    And if we choose to hang on to the pain, rather than letting it go, we rob ourselves of the joy, peace, and happiness we could be feeling right here, right now.

    Namaste.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point Nancy! Thank you for bringing in how we can choose to deal with pain. πŸ’› Clinging to the pain and picking at the wound prevents the healing. As long as we hang on to the resisting what has happened, our suffering will continue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It really is the silver lining. It is the kind gift that you are given for going through the deep jungle of emotion and coming out the other side. Knowing this really does help when the next wave arrives. ❀ ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. |Always the most difficult times, and there have been many, have been my greatest teachers and my most creative. This most recent illness has been the most extraordinary spiritual experience; I am not through it yet but the grace and the power and presence of God in my life, is guiding me along the still waters to a place of silence and peace where I can hear His voice and listen to His words.
    Twameva Mata, Chapita Twameva.
    Twameva Bandhu, Cha Sakha Twameva.
    Twameva Vidya, Dravinum Twameva.
    Twameva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva.
    Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Finding Presence and the Divine in our pain such a true gift. Thank you for sharing here Helen. May you find ease and wellbeing on your journey. πŸ’›πŸ™πŸ’›

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