can be rather difficult to think of pain as a teacher.
After all, we spend so much of our time and effort trying to
avoid pain that seeing it as something good doesn't seem to
make a whole lot of sense. As Bernie says, we take
pills and use ointments and drink liquids to help us
"deal with" pain, while the whole time the pain
may be trying to tell us something important. As a
runner, I know that sometimes pain is telling me to stop
running for a while, and that's certainly an important
metaphor that can be applied to life and friendships and
also as a runner, I know that most of the pain I feel while
running is simply that--a bit of pain. I go through
certain types of pain virtually every time I run, but I just
run through it. I pay attention to it, I decide
whether it's severe enough to make me stop running, and then
usually I just keep running. Within a couple of
minutes, it's gone of its own accord. And that's also
a metaphor that can be applied to life--the pain makes its
own way out of my life. I don't need to stop running,
and I don't need to take any medications to dull it.
The best remedy for these types of pain is simply to keep on
a shame that we've been taught to throw drugs into our
bodies at the first sign of pain. Of course, they're
often necessary if we're going to be able to concentrate and
get on with our lives. But often they're not, and
because we dull the pain immediately, we never learn the
lessons that the pain was supposed to teach us.
"Slow down," pain often says. "Take
better care of yourself." "Eat
better." "Stop doing that!"
"You're using this body part in the wrong
ways." Pain has a lot to say, if we only listen
many people start drinking to "cope with" the
pain, only to now have a new pain of alcoholism? How
many people are addicted to opioids because they weren't
able to deal with some sort of physical pain?
Sometimes an outside agent is important for dealing with
pain, but it does us much more good to learn how to deal
with pain on its own terms, and to learn the lessons that
it's trying to bring us.