November 28     

Today's quotation:

People suffer from pain and call it evil, yet in reality it may be growing pains of the Spirit-- the changing of the body into a finer and more spiritual substance.

Henry T. Hamblin

Today's Meditation:

I've felt a lot of pain in my life, both physical and emotional, and probably spiritual, too.  My first reaction to pain, of course, is to want it to go away and leave me be, followed very closely by the fear that this new pain won't go away, and that I'll have to suffer from it forever.

For most of my life, I saw pain as a very negative thing, though there's always been that part of me that's recognized that pain also provides us with learning.  Sometimes it was learning that I really couldn't jump from a second-story landing without hurting myself, and sometimes it was learning which words really hurt other people, and why I shouldn't use them ever again.  Pain tends to be a symptom of something that's very wrong, and pain is a good indicator of what may be wrong in our hearts and our bodies.

And once we know what's wrong, we can work at fixing it.  When I broke a bone in my ankle, the doctor put the ankle in a cast and kept it immobilized so that it could heal.  When I felt the pain of a good friend dying, that pain taught me an awful lot about having regrets about not having told that friend just how much I appreciated her, and just how much she meant to me.  My pain is a force that keeps me learning, and the more we learn, the less pain is needed-- so the less pain we end up feeling.

Do you see pain as a teacher?  As Elisabeth points out below, feeling pain can be one of our greatest blessings in life, even though we probably see it as a curse when we're feeling it.  Of course, we're not talking here about chronic pain that even doctors can't figure out, but we're talking about the kind of pain that helps us to learn more about life, more about what to avoid in the future, more about love and compassion and taking care of ourselves.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to see pain in such negative ways?

What kinds of lessons have you learned from pain?

Do you agree with Eilsabeth (below) that pain can be a gift?  How might we shift our perspective to see it as such?

For further thought:

You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain and learn to accept it, not as a curse or punishment but as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

more thoughts and ideas on pain



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