Pain, either physical or emotional, is very important in life. It is the best teacher and helps one to evolve if one learns to endure and watch it. Whereas the pleasure is superficial, the grief can be intense and deep. A day or week of fun can whiz like a moment, but an hour of agony seems like living the whole life in it. A week of fun can’t teach us what an hour of intense hurt can. This is the beauty of pain.
Pain can bring our focus to the single point of its origin, whether physical or emotional. Pain has a true meditative nature since it doesn’t allow our mind to deviate in other directions easily. If someone has hurt you emotionally, your whole thought-process gets focused in that person. If you have a toothache, your whole physical and emotional awareness gets consumed in it.
When people say that they have emerged stronger after sufferings, they mean it. To run away from paroxysms or making them a big issue or by leaning on every available shoulder to cry is a sign of weaklings. If one realises the importance of such moments, one can use them for deep contemplation and spiritual evolution.
Experiencing and watching the sufferings in a detached manner is the first step towards spiritual awakening. Lord Rama could have conveniently accepted Lakshmana’s advice to oppose his 14 years of exile to jungle. The people were with him, but Lord Rama, being spiritually enlightened, understood the whole divine ‘conspiracy’ to process and polish him through the inevitable woes, and gladly accepted his destiny.
A life without experiencing pain is unseasoned and brittle and can fall apart even with a subtle unpleasant jerk. Someone who has weathered the storms of pain, watching and enduring them, becomes mature and indomitable in true sense.
There is no escape from pain since it’s an integral part of life. If we don’t know how to cope with it, we shall always dread it. More we confront it, more it becomes unbearable. The best way to deal with it is to accept it and watch it as a witness. When one evolves spiritually, one learns to accept both pain and pleasure dispassionately.
Spiritual sadhakas go through the process of experiencing pain by walking on fire, sleeping on the bed of nails, standing on one leg for life, piercing their bodies with tridents, flogging and bleeding themselves and even getting crucified like Jesus Christ. The real motive is to watch and experience the pain in a detached manner.
It’s only through contemplation and practices that we can develop a spiritual attitude. Reading and listening to spiritual discourses do give guidance and show us a path, but we need to live in the spiritual awareness on a daily basis.
We sometimes read or hear someone saying that to understand pain, one should feel that one is in the body and not the body. But such knowledge will stay confined as information only till one starts realising: “Yes I am consciousness. I am not the body. I am living in this body. This body is not my permanent abode. I was present even before this body was born. I will be present even when this body will be destroyed."
Such meditative contemplations help us advance on the spiritual path. A stage comes when we are not much affected even when life brings us face-to-face with the most difficult situations. If we realise that nothing is permanent, including the most painful current situation, a totally different kind of awareness descends to help us emerge unscathed through the worst tribulations.
Editor’s note: Swami Veda Bharati writes of Dr. Dinesh Sharma: “This article is by Dr. Dinesh Sharma, our leading member teacher expert in ayurveda and vaastu; he hails from a vedic family of Rishikesh.”