Reader comment on Jon Kabat-Zinn's passage ...

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    On Mar 31, 2007 Ragunath wrote:

    I was noticing various people's comment on pain: 1) suffering is optional, 2) it's tough, 3) reasons for pain and 4) breaking thru pain. Each one is that person's way of looking at pain. My understanding of the quote is that any way of looking at the pain has its limit. Even if I have ten different ways of looking at and dealing with pain, they will have their limits. Whereas, detaching oneself from the need to look at pain through a particular perspective and just being aware of it might free us from having to react to it at all (at the mental level). I don't think one can ever successfully "deal" with pain or any other emotion (positive or negative). My experience is that one cannot face it, control it or break it - all of these are reactions. Any kind of dealing with pain is a reaction and might work for a while but cannot be a reliable solution. Total acceptance of pain and complete non-reaction at the mind level is probably the way to shift to pure awareness - in this way any emotion can be used for ones spiritual growth. And only from a state of pure awareness one could go beyond empathy to compassion and be able to do something that helps. Acting from any lesser level at best would be a short-term remedy (for oneself and others) and might actually hurt in the long run. I have not had many "very painful" moments in my life. But in those few times I did have significant pain (mental and physical), I have tried "dealing" with it in a few different ways. Fortunately I had the sense to stop myself beyond a certain point and am able to survive to write this comment. Would love to hear from anyone who can point to flaws in my understanding. It would really help me.


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