I am up late again, unable to sleep - too much thinking. I had a conversation with a friend of mine concerning pain earlier today. She said that pain is a choice. Also that it comes from unmet expectations. Coming from a very psychological view point I didn't necessarily disagree with either statement but I also do not view it as that simplistic.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” - Buddha
Beginning with my childhood, I am not a stranger to pain. Most of us who have lived a human life are not. Without going into detail suffice it to say that some of my childhood was not ideal. I lost an innocence that no child should ever lose. It took me over 20 years to reach some type of understanding and acceptance concerning what I experienced, but I did it and by reaching that understanding the pain stopped, for the most part. I was forced to go deeper and wider than I ever thought possible. I had to express the fear, the rage, and the cruelty of the grief that I had held on to for decades. I refused to let that pain completely define me. Being on the other side of it, I can absolutely say that I am more compassionate, loving, accepting, kinder and wiser than I was and that would have been with out it.
"Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” - Robert Gary Lee
There are many popular beliefs concerning pain these days. The one that annoys me the most is that pain is evil and if you feel it it's because you did something wrong. As someone who is currently in a place of great pain, it FEELS evil and it also feels cruel and hideous but it does not mean that I did or am currently doing anything wrong. There are millions of stories on this earth of people in gut wrenching pain who did not do anything to cause it. As humans we try to put some type of explanation on our pain, take responsibility for it, blame ourselves for it, so that we can foolishly believe that have some control over it. If we have control in how it came to be then we can have control in stopping it? Sometimes our pain requires that we rage against it, move, make a change and then sometimes our pain requires that we just accept it without an answer as to why, sit in it quietly or loudly and just feel it until we no longer do.
"You should stand up for the right to feel your pain." - Jim Morrison
I believe that the view that pain is wrong is short sighted. It is not widely received as an acceptable place to be, as an experience, especially in the US. Many believe that it should be moved out of as soon as possible. It makes others uncomfortable, even those who have been trained in dealing with it because seeing someone in the raw and honest expression of their pain brings up our own undealt with, repressed, ignored pain. Pain is NOT something that needs to be or can be fixed. We, the person feeling the pain, may need help, love, comfort, support, understanding, guidance, wisdom, acceptance while in the pain and we may FEEL broken but our pain cannot be fixed. Pain needs to someone to bear witness to it, whether it is us doing for ourselves or someone else who can hold their own in full view of our pain and simply BE with us.
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa
I have hurt because of lost dreams, babies who will never grow up, unmet expectations, betrayal, lost innocence, the shocking dismissal of human dignity by other humans, (I could go on) but for the most part I am a fan of humans and the human experience, even with the pain. For as heart tearing, brutal, vicious and merciless our pain can be it never has to be the end of an experience unless we want it to be. I believe there is always something within it, on top of it, below it, somewhere, something is in there for us. Something that we would not have without it.