One cannot get through life without pain … What we can do is choose how to use the pain life presents to us. Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
Broadly speaking one will experience 3 types of pain. The physical pain is what we are most familiar with like breaking our bones or getting grazed when one falls. The emotional pain is one we experience when our emotions are put to test like in case of a broken relationship be it with parents, spouse, siblings or children. The psychological pain is one we may be subject to but not acutely conscious off as will be the case if we are the butt of jokes amongst classmates or if one is constantly being belittled or humiliated. Almost all of us would have suffered from one or more of such pain but in most cases we have overcome it and gone on to forget it too.
Yet when we are asked to look back and recollect some of the more painful memories it is the emotional and psychological pain that often comes immediately to mind. Painful experiences leave a deep and sordid aftermath which can be life altering whichever way one takes it. For those who are deeply scarred by the event will always walk in the shadow of that pain and will attribute all their failures and miseries to that pain. On the other hand those who are more resilient and positive will use that painful learning to fire up their spirit and conquer their fears and hurt brought about by the pain. Herein lies the test of the true spirit of life – will you conquer pain or will you let the pain imprison you? For every Helen Keller and Douglas Bader there are a thousand others who give in to their pain and commit suicide. Here is the extraordinary story of a man cheated by fate once but one of those bravehearts who never let fate rob him of his freedom of expression; click here to read on about M.P.Anil Kumar http://sojish.com/topics-mainmenu-31/63-notes-a-articles/196-airborne-to-chairborne.html
While it might be pretty easy to pontificate about pain ( as I am doing right now) it is the person in the line of fire who has to experience the agony of the pain. One never knows but tomorrow it could be either mine or your turn to be part of that painful experience. Death of a loved one is a pain that each of us would have experienced at some point. In all probability we would have soon taken the rational bypass that death is a reality and consoled ourselves that we have to face the reality. However if the person who died is in the prime of youth or a child the inevitable question that haunts us is ‘Why?’. More traumatic to deal with is the pain brought on by a drastic physical change the like losing a limb or being a paraplegic, for these are life altering not just for the person but also for the family. Not far behind is the pain of seeing a loved one suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, motor neuron disease etc. all of which have no cure as on date and yet slowly wastes the body away causing deep anguish to both the patient and to the family. Can we realistically handle such pain?
Yes one can minimize the impact of such pain through a mixture of pragmatism, counseling, prayer and positive thinking. Pragmatism will help one comprehend the reality with fortitude. Counseling will alleviate the panic and help channelize ones energy into acceptance of the reality. Prayer is the one channel that will send a person tons of hope to cope. Positive thinking will provide the oxygen that nourishes body and mind, strengthen ones resolve and provide us a shield to guard against depression and a feeling of hopelessness.
Remember: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.
- As and when you can, try walking barefoot on a tar road or on cobble stone walkway for at least 5 – 10 minutes. What are your feelings? Do you give up even before you have walked a 100 meters? Do you get irritated saying ‘ Why am I doing such a stupid thing?’ To experience the pain brought about by fear you can visit a nearby zoo or snake park and try (with permission of course) handle a non poisonous snake.
- Plan a visit to a local old age home/ a hospice / home for the mentally challenged and spend a day with the inmates. How do you think the staff of these places motivate themselves to work for those who are in pain and suffering?
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