Pain is an ever present force that deals with us all to some degree. Mankind is a magnet for pain and its cronies. We possess infinitely intricate nervous systems with receptors that allow us to consciously perceive and feel pain as vibrantly as the pangs of a thunderstorm. Yet we can completely discount this facility to interpret the force of pain.
Much of our existence can be spent feverishly avoiding pain of any kind at all costs. Billion dollar industries exist solely to provide us with cornucopias of methods of achieving numbness. Our aversion to pain has been commodified and we allow these earthly industries to thrive via our fear.
Why do we fear pain?
It seems at this point we might understand that pain is inevitable. If it is impossible for us to beat pain in a foot race then why do we spend most of our lives trying to outrun it?
I believe that we fear pain because it is a sharp reminder to us of how little control we have over our environments and lives. With centuries of proof behind the history of human resilience we still choose to run from something that is a feeling.
Circumstances are not intrinsically painful outside of physical violence. It is the emotional data we assign to circumstances that give us the ability to feel pain over them.
I am by no means discounting the need for certain medicines used in the event of tragedies or emergencies. I am more so addressing our emotional obsession with preventing even the slightest bits of discomfort here in America.
I hear absolutely incredible stories of individuals and communities rising up under the weight of crippling circumstances and being delivered to the other side more complete and healthier than they were before when life was normal.
I believe pain is a force and advocate of refinement. I believe we have the ability to feel and experience pain because we are meant to. Our brilliant nervous system has been placed within us for the very purpose of experiencing, knowing, and understanding ourselves and our environments through the mechanism of pain. We can not ignore the tools we have been given to understand the very things we run from.
There is a reason why our bodies atrophy when we neglect to exercise or provide correct nutrition. Our capacity to overcome and fight for what is true can atrophy when we refuse to face pain.
If avoiding and never feeling pain were the answer then you would think at this rate that the suicide and addiction rates in our country would be evaporating. The methods, means, and substances we employ to take pain out of our lives wind up controlling us and rendering us ineffective.
My alcoholism was fueled exponentially the more I refused to confront the actual cause of my self medication. My escapism from pain led me straight to a grander destruction.Our demons feed off of the parts of ourselves we neglect. We neglect that which we are afraid to know.
Facing myself soberly every day has grown me to where I can look at myself for exactly who I am. Developing this firm stance in who I am greatly diminishes the fear of pain. Accepting pain and allowing it to be a natural pruning agent in my life is a moment by moment decision that becomes easier to make daily.
I am not Rambo. I am not Stonewall Jackson. That is not the answer any more than ignorance is. I still give in to fear. But I am working increasingly at staring pain (in whatever form it presents itself) right in it’s face to see what I’m up against. Sometimes once you get a good look you realize it’s not as bad as you thought and you don’t have to short change yourself with fear.
Other times it may be your worst nightmare and it will hurt like hell to confront it.
In any case, we will never learn what we are made of if we give in to any alternative of growth. We do not grow when we search for a detour or bypass what cannot be simply skipped over.
We are not in control. We were never meant to be. The more we attempt to control the more room we give fear to grow in our own fallibility. Surrendering control and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is how we take the teeth out of our fear of pain.
Pain is not the end-all, be-all. Pain may break us but it is so that we can heal into a more whole creation. Once we begin our journey towards wholeness we can reject a fear based mentality sold to us by industry and refuse the world’s tactics of consumer dehumanization. This will slowly start to reverse the vicious behavior cycles and statistics of a hurting society.
In fleeing from pain we are evacuating from a higher and deeper realization of our own identity. My challenge for us all is to stand up against addiction, the past, circumstances beyond our control, tragedy, and the world at large alert and sober that we might change because pain never will.