Sunday, January 20, 2008

What do we learn from our pains?

Pain can be a valuable lesson!

A small story:

Two men, one a wise man, and the other an ordinary person, were traveling through a forest on a dark, moonless night. Suddenly, a shaft of lightning flashed in the sky.
The ordinary man began to tremble in fear. A storm! His mind was immediately given over to confusion. Should he continue to walk? Or should he find a safe place to stop till the storm was spent? He began wishing that he had never decided to undertake the journey. He cursed himself as foolish and unlucky. In other words, he fell headlong into suffering with just a few strokes of lightning!
The wise man, on the other hand, simply used the moments of lightning flashes to take a better look at the road ahead and kept moving. He ensured that he was traveling in the right direction, thanked the lightning for its help, and moved onward.

Pain is just like this flash of lightning. You have no control over its existence. But whether you suffer from it, or learn from it, is entirely up to you! Then, you will realize that you are the cause of your own pain, and only you can be the solution.
When you observe your pain deeply, innocence opens up in you. For the first time, you become aware that you are not the body. No pain can touch the real ‘you’. Once you realize that you are beyond pain, you transcend pain to become a “dukkha ateeta” (one who has gone beyond suffering). You experience the rare freedom that arises with non-attachment to the body which you will carry all your life. You transcend your mundane life and enter into a spiritual plane. You then exist in the world as an atman, an enlightened master. The whole material world disappears and another world arises – of incomparable beauty, innocence, joy and compassion.