Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional
First published July 11, 2015
Ipo (it’s been a while!)
Every living thing — human beings, animals, plants — does what it must to avoid deprivation, injury and pain. This is their biological imperative.
When pain cannot be avoided, it must be numbed or ameliorated as best as possible, with whatever means available. This too, is a biological imperative.
Since there is no life without pain, part of each human journey is to develop one’s own methods for avoiding as much of it as possible. This defines life’s path.
Even those humans who harm themselves or invite others to inflict physical pain, do it to supplant/ protect themselves against/ distract themselves from an even deeper, psychic pain.
If the pain, whether physical or psychic, is ongoing and considerable and cannot be avoided, the method used to numb that pain becomes an addiction.
Some quiet their pain with excessive drink or inebriates. Perhaps they court danger by taking unnecessary risks. Perhaps they lie naked, too often, with strangers. Or attempt dominion over everything around them. They may eat or starve themselves until they lose their health; or acquire too many things they do not need; or alter their physical form in the hope their monster will not recognize them.
But these methods merely mask the pain; they do not destroy it. Until it is vanquished, there can be no release from addiction.
Much pain can be eliminated once the source is found. In order to find it, however, one must stop running from it. It must be allowed to manifest itself completely in order to ascertain its full shape and size. It must be studied so its weaknesses are revealed. Confronting such a formidable enemy demands extraordinary bravery; it requires cutting a new path across uncharted territory.
Depression and anger are side effects of the belief that one is powerless against the pain.