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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Extraordinary pain is an opportunity to be reborn

Living through a painful period can seem, logically, impossible – but in reality it is not!

A 54-year-old man committed suicide in Chennai just two days ago, by jumping off the top of his five-storey building in George Town, because he found his chronic back pain of 15 years unbearable – especially after a pain killer injection that he used to take daily was banned by the government and was no longer available in pharmacies. The reason people give up on Life, or suffer a lot through Life, is because they want the pain to not be there. They want it to go away. Or they want to escape it.

Pain is not something that you can control. Just like your being alive is a fact, so is the presence of pain in your Life. The art of living is to be able to live in peace despite the pain in your Life. Why most people struggle with pain is because they work towards eradicating the pain or the source of that pain. Instead if they worked on witnessing the pain, as if they were a third party, they will realize that pain is harmless. And that surely pain does not have an agenda to cause anyone suffering. They will then be able to separate themselves, their true selves, from whatever is causing them pain.

A friend’s actions recently caught up with him – it appeared to all of us who knew him that he had let down his entire family – his grown up, young adult, children and his wife of 25 years. His actions, always questionable, led his wife to be arrested by the police. She was sent to jail for a few days until she was granted bail by a court. When she was released from jail, the lady, much to everyone’s surprise, came out calm and strong. Everyone had expected her to be suffering, to be worn out and beaten, because of her incarceration. Indeed there were physical scars of her trauma. She had not been eating in jail. And so had lost 8 kilos in 4 days. But her spirit was intact. She said, upon seeing me, “Your friend has let me down very badly. At first I was very angry. The pain was unbearable – both of being let down and of being in jail for no fault of mine. I wanted to end my Life. But then I told myself, that would be the easiest thing to do. Then I stepped back and looked at my Life. I can’t live with my husband anymore. I accepted that my Life has changed forever. I have now decided to divorce my husband and focus on my children and be available for them as they settle down and raise their families.” The lady’s stoicism comes from her sense of clarity. Which again comes from her ability to have “witnessed” her pain, her acceptance and her choice not to suffer.

Extraordinary pain – like betrayal, death, financial losses, a relationship breakdown, a health crisis – are all opportunities to be reborn. Through pain, you learn not to suffer. When you don’t suffer, despite the pain, Life becomes meaningful, beautiful, in fact, a celebration! If you want happiness and inner peace, don’t reject anything that comes your way. Least of all pain. Through rejection you suffer. Through acceptance, your inner peace, your bliss, flowers.

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