This article is graciously provided for republication by the author, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, an Ayurvedacharya, consultant Vastu Master, Vedic Astrologer and Ayurvedic Physician and teacher in the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga and Meditation for more than 30 years.
Pain either physical or emotional is very important in life. It is the best teacher and helps one to evolve like nothing if one learns to endure and watch it. Where as the pleasure is just skin deep and superficial, the grief can be very intense and deep. A day or week of fun can whiz like a moment but an hour of agony feels like living the whole life in it. A week of fun can't teach us what an hour of intense hurt can. This is the beauty of pain.
Pain is very rich and wholesome and can bring our focus to the single point of its origin whether physical or emotional. Pain has a true meditative nature since it doesn't allow our mind to deviate in other directions easily. If someone has hurt you emotionally, your whole thought process gets focused in that person. If you have a toothache, your whole physical and emotional awareness gets consumed in it totally.
When people say that they have emerged stronger through the gallows of sufferings, they really mean it. To run away from paroxysms or making them a big issue or by leaning on every available shoulder to cry is a sure sign of weaklings. If one understands and realizes the importance of such moments, one can use them for deep contemplation and spiritual evolution.
Experiencing and watching the sufferings in a detached manner is the first step towards spiritual awakening. Lord Rama could have conveniently accepted Laxmana's persuasive advice to fight his illogical fourteen years exile from the kingdom. The people were with him and none had even a shred of sympathy for his lecherous old father King Dashratha. But Lord Rama being spiritually very enlightened, understood the whole divine 'conspiracy' to process and polish him through the inevitable woes, gladly accepted his destiny.
A life without experiencing pain is unseasoned and brittle and can fall apart even with a subtle unpleasant jerk. Someone who has weathered the storms of pain, watching and enduring them, becomes mature and indomitable in true sense.
There is no escape from pain since it's an integral part of life. If we don't know how to cope with it, we shall always dread it. More we confront it, more it becomes unbearable. The best way to deal with it is to accept it and watch it as a witness. When one evolves spiritually one learns to accept pains and pleasures dispassionately.
Spiritual sadhakas of different faith go through the process of choosing and experiencing pain by walking on fire, sleeping on the bed of nails, standing on one leg for life, piercing their bodies with tridents, flogging and bleeding themselves and even getting crucified like Jesus Christ. The real purpose of such practices is to watch and experience the pain in a detached manner.
It's only through contemplation and practices that we can develop a spiritual attitude in dealing with distresses of life. Reading and listening to spiritual discourses do give guidance and show us a path but we need to experientially live in the spiritual awareness on daily basis.
We may read or hear someone say that to understand pain one should feel that one is in the body and not the body. But such knowledge will stay confined as information only till one really starts realizing, feeling and gradually experiencing; 'Yes I am pure consciousness. I am not the body. I am living in this body. This body is not my permanent abode. I was present even before this body was born. I will be present even when this body will be destroyed.'
Such kind of regular meditative contemplation helps us truly advance on the spiritual path. A stage comes when we are not much affected even when life brings us to face the most difficult and painful situations.
If we realize that nothing is permanent, be even the most painful situation we may be currently facing, a totally different kind of awareness descends to help us emerge unscathed through the worst tribulations.