I was inspired to suggest this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 blog post by a statement that I blogged about in my post Book Review – Mark Manson.

“The only way to overcome pain is to first learn how to bear it.”

Like everyone else, I have had my share of both physical and mental pain. Some major and many more minor ones. In fact, as I write this, I am in some discomfort due to a pulled muscle which is quite painful. I however am blessed with a stoic nature and all my life have been able to bear pain of both kinds and eventually overcome it.  And it is also very true that every time something painful happened, I changed.  I think, for the better.

And that is all I have to say on the matter. Please go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same subject.

22 thoughts on “Pain.”

  1. I have always felt if you have to go through the pain you might as well get something out of it. That’s very similar to your changing for the better. It reminds me of the Kathleen Norris quote,

    Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.

    Yep, no matter what happens stay open to life.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Rescues

  2. There’s pain and then there’s pain. Pain is a message from our bodies. We should listen. I’ve always had a high tolerance level for physical pain. Shackman’s reference to emotional pain presents a whole other dimension.

  3. We oldsters have been through our share of pain – all kinds, The best part of aging is the near instantaneous realization that pain is fleeting, It will get better.

  4. I also seem to have a high tolerance for pain. but something the marine said has held me in good stead even more for all these years.
    I don’t know how to explain it really. but you ‘walk into it.’ you don’t wish it away you accept it. and acknowledge it and just walk into it. and it suddenly seems to not hurt as much.
    also. he told me that a deer when shot or wounded just lies down. it instinctively knows to slow its heart down perhaps. perhaps not. but it simply ACCEPTS what has happened.
    and if it’s to get better it gets better. it doesn’t have all the thoughts that we humans do… like … “WHY did that guy shoot me? what did I ever do to him?” or “I’m going to DIE! I’m going to bleed to death!” or “what will happen to me when I die?” the deer simply accepts his fate and makes the best of it in the moment. he may get better or he may die.
    I realize that’s a simplification of it but in essence that’s what it is. and it has helped me a lot.

    1. I try and avoid addressing you, Tammy, since I respect your dislike of me. However, this minute I feel compelled to break my own rule.

      You say you “realize that’s a simplification”. Simplification? Understatement more like. What do you know what a deer “thinks”? Just because it can’t vocalize (in human terms) when the shit hits the fan doesn’t mean that it “accepts” any more than any human is forced to accept pain. And if you have just been “shot” (human) I dare say the last thing on your mind are any of the three options you suggest. Survival instinct is strong. First things first. The “why” comes much later. And that’s why, maybe, your suggestion that the deer “accepts” is acceptable because in the aftermath of any wrong humans tend to seek explanations, maybe even revenge. Animals (unless they are elephants) never do.


  5. sometimes pain means to me “to back off” a bit like the shot deer, I suppose. This is one of the reasons I’m using right now, when on Thursday I pushed my recovery boat out a bit too far, although whilst doing it didn’t realise until I returned home – so backing off again…

    1. Being part of a very wide network of animal welfare volunteers, my daughter in love and son often point this out about how injured animals, dogs particularly simply seem to accept their pain. I saw this when Chutki was brought home to be nursed with two broken hind legs.

  6. “The only way to overcome pain is to first learn how to bear it.”I agree when it comes to emotional pain. Alas, and that is my misfortune, it takes me years to “learn how to bear”. In truth? In truth I think there is no reason to congratulate ourselves over being strong because there is truth in the saying that time heels most wounds. Most, I’d like to add, but not ALL. That’s when the “learn to bear” kicks in.

    As to physical pain: You don’t have to learn to bear it. You just bear it. What choice does anyone have other than to do just that? Short, of course, should it become UNbearable, of killing yourself. Which oddly, and it makes me smile (blame my warped sense of humour) is often impossible when in the grip of that which immobilizes us with said pain.

    Caveat: I am not speaking from personal experience as the few occasions I have been pained (physically) were bearable in as much as they concentrated the mind in the moment (HA – isn’t that the whole goal of meditation?) and knowing that sweet release will come sooner rather than later. Namely when the pain stops. The people I do feel sorry for are those with chronic pain. Be irritable, be short tempered – it’s fine. I understand. Because being in chronic pain I imagine to be, well, a pain.


    1. You have articulated your experiences and approach to pain quite admirably. Yes, at least in the Vipassana meditation, in the early stages one went through observing excruciating pain as old vasanas appeared, lasted for a while and then disappeared. That was some experience I can vouch for. That indeed prepared you to bear pain with the approach that “this too shall pass”.

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