Why do we suffer pain? We hate being in pain – well most of us anyway. Some people are so numb they only experience themselves through pain.
To answer this question we need to understand something of the nature of pain. Pain makes us aware of ourselves. We feel the intensity of pain when we are pre-occupied with ourselves. Pain is experienced in our soul, in that region of our being where feeling, thinking, and action are active – even if we have stubbed our physical toe.
When I was a small child, if I hurt myself my mother would always direct my attention to the object that I bumped into. My attention was immediately diverted from myself to the outside world. It took my mind off my pain, pain which made me aware of myself in relation to the outside world.
Teenagers often experience embarrassing pain arising out of self-consciousness. By observing them we can understand more about the nature of pain. Teenagers go through a crucial stage of human development known as the freeing of the astral body. They are freeing themselves from the astral body they inherited so that they can give birth to their own astral body. The astral body is that part of us that animates us and gives us consciousness, and it is here that we first experience emotion. As we refine our emotions and feelings with thoughts and will impulses, our soul develops and matures.
We can understand from this that pain is a necessary part of life. The way to bear pain is to stop being self-obsessed and to develop an interest in the outside world. We could do this by observing nature and trying to understand its riddles. Or by becoming involved in outdoor activities with other people. In this way we balance our attention between ourselves and life outside ourselves, and minimise the intensity of pain while having a healthy awareness of who we are. Try it out for yourself.
Image: Mulier amicta sole by Salvidor Dali 1964-1967