Pain: Friend or Foe?

The masochist said to the sadist: “I want you to make me feel pain!” The sadist responded: “No.” The masochist replied: “Thank you.” Surprisingly, pain is not the source of all suffering: Avoiding pain is. For decades we have been led to believe that pain is something to be avoided and suppressed. This has led to more suffering and rich drug companies.

I’m not suggesting a sadistic or masochistic point of view when it comes to pain. If you look at pain from a scientific and evolutionary point of view, it’s hard to deny the usefulness of pain.

Pain happens for a several reasons and is expressed in the tissues of the body as mechanical tension (we attempt to discover the reason for the pain such as pressure on the nerve, or torn muscles, irritating biochemical substances) and all of that is valid. It’s just not the whole picture.

We feel pain when:

– we’re on the verge of discovering something about ourselves
– we are being called to make a change in our lives, a change in our perceptions and habits
– instead of experiencing emotions flow biochemically through our bodies, we choose to experience them as pain (which on some level may be perceived as safer)
– how we are living our lives is not in alignment with how we are meant to be living our lives, when we are not living in integrity or congruence

So what happens when we suppress or avoid pain? We are shooting the messenger. At some point, the chickens will come home to roost.