The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Power, Pleasure & Purpose of Pain

There are a surprisingly large amount of people who actually ( secretly, even ) enjoy pain, but for the most part, probably not many are willing to admit & fewer still who openly enjoy pain! Pain, like fear, is possibly one of the greatest motivators, either to deter one from following a certain course of action or to motivate another to do certain other things, things that might help to alleviate that pain. Pain lets us know that we are alive, that we're actually living! This applies to the majority of us, no doubt; if we woke up in the morning feeling no pain, we might be tempted to think either that we truly were still dreaming, or that we had crossed over & had woken to some sort of 'pie-in-the-sky' Heaven!

'No pain, no gain'! This phrase has been so over-used that I almost hesitate to use it here ( again ), but how true it is! Nothing good comes without some sort of sacrifice & sacrifice usually means pain. If not for one, then for another; somebody has to pay! Just like that other oft-quoted phrase, 'freedom ain't free', there is ALWAYS a cost involved; someone has to make the sacrifice, sometimes the Supreme Sacrifice, so that another, or others may enjoy that freedom. Pain not only helps us to realize that we're alive, it also drives us to persevere ( in spite of it ) in doing what we can to alleviate that pain, both in our own lives & in the lives of others.

On the dark side of the coin, you might say, are those who actually find pleasure in pain! Some merely find comfort in their own pain, like above, that they would almost think something was amiss if they woke up one morning without the presence of some sort of pain. Pain helps us to remain aware of our own weaknesses & disabilities, but it also helps us to be empathetic with those who also experience pain daily, or at least it should! Then there are those, often those same ones who have experienced greater or lesser pain, who enjoy sharing that pain; causing it in their own lives & spreading it like a virus into the lives of those around them; this is not acceptable! The Purpose of Pain is not to cause more pain ( though we are instructed to share our burdens ); the Purpose of Pain is not to take Pleasure in it, whether giving or receiving it ( though it often brings Pleasure ): the Purpose of Pain is to use the Power thereof to alleviate it, to squelch it in our own lives & the lives of those around us ( though it is a most welcome companion sometimes )!

Pain makes its presence known in different ways & at different times; we ( most often ) feel it emotionally, whether in our own experiences, or in empathizing with another who is being troubled by it! We also, for manifold reasons, experience physical pain, pain which usually tells us that we are doing something wrong when it comes to nutrition, certain physical activities, or such. In this sense, if not in all cases, pain is a good thing, because it indicates to us that something is wrong & the pain will continue until we change our course of action. For some, this sort of pain will have no ( good ) effect, because these find an unconscionable pleasure in their pain & in sharing it with all those with whom they come in contact. For others, this sort of pain, though unwelcome, provides some level of comfort that they are almost loathe to awake from. Still others ( this applies to a growing minority ) learn from this pain & use its Power for the Purpose of bringing Pleasure, Pleasure, not so much IN the pain ( though there ARE those ( you know who you are ), but in deriving it FROM the pain, using the pain to better our situation, as well as that of others!

Without pain of some sort, most people find it difficult to have a purpose because purpose is very often born out of pain! For instance, once one realizes that following a certain course of action, or just doing nothing, brings pain, that ones purpose is very often renewed to pursue a different course of action, one that may bring less or even no pain at all. Though usually an unwelcome guest, in hindsight particularly, pain is most often welcomed as that which alerts us to the fact that something is miss, or out of kilter!

Most often, those who are most caring, most empathetic, who feel most deeply, are filled with the most pain! Those who are filled with this pain are often those who live most sacrificially, whether they offer their own well-being for the sake of others or because they find some sort of comfort & indeed pleasure in that pain.  As long as one is alive, to whatever extent & of whatever sort, pain will be our constant companion; its simply a ( glorious ) fact of life! Both physically & emotionalism speaking, there will always be pain to some degree because we're all human, with differing personalities, likes & dislikes! In order for one to have 'this', the other may have to sacrifice 'that'. Sacrifice brings varying degrees of pain, but to whatever degree, it always causes pain to SOMEONE! Sacrifice often brings Pleasure to the one who offers it, but it even then, it usually involves pain of some sort, whether it is a selfish, emotional pain, or an actual physical pain!

Pain, in all its Power & Pleasure is united in one Purpose; that Purpose is change! If our pain, whatever its degree, symptoms or cause, does not bring change in our lives, then that pain has lost its purpose & will only further serve to numb us to its effects. Unfortunately, this is too often true: when those who experience such pain on a daily basis begin to fell numbed to it, there is a tendency, not only to revel in it, but to accept it as a way of life & even to cause others to embrace the same! However, when we use our pain to its intended purpose, that of alerting us to the need for change, we will discover the Pleasure that can only be truly found in realizing the Purpose & Power of Pain!

Charles Haddon Shank

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