Choosing the pain

The Daily Dalai: “Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform calamity and misfortune into the path.”

Don’t you hate it when it feels like he’s talking right to you? Oh boy. This one puts me in the crosshairs. Take a deep breath and relax. No blame.

So what do I see?

For one thing, I think I am a work in progress. Transforming calamity and misfortune into the path implies non-resistance. For me, I’m always looking for a lesson. But I’ve been running from pain for most of my life.

Now that I’m not taking anything but an occasional aspirin for pain, I am clear the decision to stop taking pain meds was a spiritual choice. I want access to the full range of my psychic and spiritual potential.

Because? Because there is so much happiness in serving. Because there is so much suffering. Because I can help.

If I’m disappointed I can always go back to pain medicine.

This is called having nothing to lose, but it’s bluff. I have lots to lose and I know it full well. And I view reliance on pain meds as weakness. What will I learn now that I have set up this experience?

And so, although I don’t have it all sorted out, I am choosing to be with my pain and learn all I can from it. And that is being on the path.

Whew! I think I’m okay.

Stuck in my body?

My physical well being and my mood move together. It is possible to achieve a better mood briefly, but generally if I feel badly physically then I am also downhearted. Not self-pitying necessarily, but just down.

Is this a failure in my maturity? My spiritual development? Or is it my nature, and as such a veritable fact of life? Should I accept it or try to overcome the direct causal connection between my physical well being and my enjoyment of life? Do some people really dismantle this connection? Become impervious to physical pain? Mood-managers supreme! Nothing can dent their perfect happiness armor. Right. Who is that? Show me? I’m gonna have to call BS on that one.

I’ll tell you what I see all around me: I see suffering. Physical and emotional and spiritual suffering. Abundant suffering. Frowning and grimacing and trying to look expressionless to hide their unhappiness.

Seriously, happy people smile. I smile when I’m happy. Don’t you?

It’s scary out here.