The illusion of pain

It’s a touchy subject, people’s pain. People love their pain; it can define them. Who would you be without your pain? Your problems? Your projected future and remembered past? This has been the concept I’ve been exploring for the last 6 months.

I’m constantly reminded of who I really am. I think everyone has experienced it at one time or another – a state of presence and complete freedom. Maybe you did some intense exercise and it was like your mind stopped for a bit, or maybe you experienced the cessation of thought by walking in nature. For me I’ve been using a process called The Work that seems to be remarkably effective at dissolving my stressful thoughts. Either way, these tiny moments of quiet are the signposts on the way to a peaceful life.

My experience of late is that I am not my mind (thank fuck). My mind is chaotic, brutal, harsh, paranoid, neurotic, addictive, obsessive, confused, clouded; my mind is a baby and doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not. My mind is the one with the problems and the pain. I can see you mind, and if I can see you then there must be something else in here besides you.

I am the watcher, I am the spirit, I am love. I am connected to all things. Sounds like hippie shit I’m sure, but this is my deeper truth and I welcome it.

Sometimes I feel schizophrenic as I move between identifying with my mind and becoming the watcher again. I can move from tears to joy in mere moments. I write down all my stressful thoughts and question them. I have a tiny notebook by my bed for the ones that hit in the middle of the night. It’s amazing to me how quickly they can disappear once questioned and back to sleep I go. This was definitely not always the case for me.

I love my mind for the way it can help me learn, create, analyse, breakdown, and buildup. As Osho says the mind is ‘a beautiful servant, a dangerous master’. This is the essence of mindfulness and the beginnings of using your mind like a tool rather than being used by your mind and experiencing all the confusion that comes with that.

It’s helpful to remember that everyone else is just like me. When my mind isn’t running the show I can look around and feel my heart about to burst for all the beautiful humans I see. I don’t see their stories, I just see them.

Which brings me back to the illusion of pain. In my experience pain is the result of stressful thinking, question your thoughts or get space from them, and you can begin to experience relief from pain. Even physical pain can be observed and not identified with which can greatly lessen its impact. Everyone knows about the placebo effect which just goes to show the role of mind when it comes to pain.

I don’t want to invalidate your pain or your experience, it’s yours and I am not the judge of that. Although I do think that it’s a case of misunderstanding the cause of pain. The cause cannot be external. You are not helpless. This is good news! The cause is your thinking, your mind. How do I know? Because I’ve experienced life with thoughts and life without, and without thoughts there is no pain. One moment no pain, the next, thought and pain. They go hand in hand.

I write this from a brief window of clarity after a night of disturbed sleep. I still wrestle with my mind daily but it’s slowly getting easier to see it for what it is. If I am suffering, then maybe you are too and maybe sharing these insights with you could be helpful.

Sending you love from the deepest part of my being; the part always connected to you.

1 Comment

  • Claire says:

    Thank you for this beautiful, inspiring and insightful piece. Your best work yet. Keep moving forward and walking your path. Many thanks and love to you.

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