How many times have you eaten that second piece of cake just to be in pain after? How many times have you bought to much on amazon because you can’t be in your own mind? How many times did you scroll through your newsfeed to laugh at a different meme over and over again, and ignored your children?
I have done all of these things and more for many years. Unfortunately I trained my mind to avoid pain at all costs. I think we should take a second and talk about pain. For some this may be chronic pain, others an emotional trauma, some sickness, or the loss of a loved one, ect. You get the idea, it is one specific event. It is painful and you feel it in your core.
When we feel this specific pain we find a coping skill. Some of us may find healthy coping skills others unhealthy. Either way we find a way to “manage”. For those of us that find unhealthy coping skills like overeating, drugs, over shopping, dating apps, ect. We start a thought in our brain that says “nope! This sucks I need to find a way to feel pleasure and fast!” So we search for these coping skills. In return we create habits painful situation happens and we already know how to cope. Amazon prime is right there waiting for me along with my glass of whiskey.
Now let’s pause and explain suffering. Suffering or Dukka as we call it in Buddhism is that gnawing, aching feeling of I just can’t get enough of that cake, or enough products off of amazon, or the whiskey bottle ran out. Suffering is on going torment.
So now that we have talked through the difference of pain and suffering let’s discuss a way to learn how to handle the pain that occurs in life.
First learn how to recognize pain as pain. Pain is impermanent, it won’t last. Suffering is when we tell ourselves that it will last forever. Or better yet our mind tells us that. I promise you, pain will not last forever and so often if you sit and accept the pain or maybe even ask yourself questions about the painful experience it will get better.
This leads to the second part of handling pain. We allow pain into our life and our present moment without pushing it away. Accept that in this moment you are experiencing pain. See if after you accept it, you find it lessons.
Then investigate the pain. What is the pain? Is it from the past or the future? Is it physical? Mental? What is the truth about this painful emotion or sensation?
Lastly nurture yourself. Can you bring compassion to the pain of this experience. Don’t beat yourself up if you had that second piece of cake. Notice if you can bring mindfulness practice to your day and just be kind to yourself.
Today let’s start recognizing that pain is a natural part of life and we can learn how to accept and heal from it.