Art & Spirituality

Advaita Vedanta in action

Vedanta Diary
Daily life
The Seed
Western Society
Barking dog
smells, sounds and tastes
Spinning mind
Annamalai Swami
Chronic pain and vedanta


They say: "Much of the suffering we experience through our pain is entirely within our heads.
To lessen our suffering, we must detach ourself from the stories of our pain. You are not your pain, you simply have a pain."

All true but what about the daily reality?

The nerve system in my body is damaged. The body suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Pain is one of the effects.
How I live with this I like to share.

The problem with having pain, besides the obvious, is that it takes a lot of energy. It sucks it out from every corner of the body. With what is left I try to soften the pain; by giving it warmth -or the opposite, cold-; take painkillers of course or smoke a joint; I search distractions; I moan, growl, shout, my mind wants to run away, which is fine by me but where to go? There's no energy for anything else than the pain, not even for attention for caring love ones. Everything they say comes in and goes out, often not even aware of it. Silence please.
When alone, like during the night, is easier.

I need to go inside. Into silence, creating a distance, making space between the pain and me. Not that I want to see or understand anything. Who cares. On those moments there is nothing to understand. But as a result of no will, not wanting anything but I am, I am, I am, I do arrive at the foreground. While trying to escape 'I am here', the pain over there. There's a thin line though, between becoming a zombie and clarity.

Tiredness, for no reason, just coming out of bed, has the same effect.
On those kind of days i gaze into emptiness and stay here and in the now. Again, just because I can't go anywhere else. It seems the mind is trapped and out of words, speechless. There is oneness, what sometimes feels as separated from all the rest but when get used to it as whole and complete.
Feeling free together with the pain. It is possible.
The pain or tiredness is there but I don't bother. It's not meant for me. It's indeed not I who suffers, it's the body.

Once my cat was injured and needed to pee, while walking towards her cat litter (I told her she could pee anywhere but didn't listen) the part of the body that suffered was hanging a bit aside, out of the play; no muscle in that part was stressed.
That's the way I thought. Don't bother and relax.

There are times of despair and being lost in self pity or when afraid for what the future might bring. Sometimes I forget all about what the Bagavad Gita learns -often actually -. Filled with misery I moan. Damn! Or i give it all up and allow myself to be sad and cry. It's the quickest way to relax the pain. Truly!

Anyway, life goes on.
It's the nature of the senses to feel heat, cold, and pain.


© Matthijs Warner 


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