Life itself starts with pain, which is the pain of birth. When you are born, you undergo tremendous pain and you enter into a coma before you even exit the birth canal. According to the mystics, before entering into the world you are pure. Consciousness and that Consciousness knows its reasons for taking this birth. Because you enter into a coma, you forget the memories of your past lives and the reason for taking birth again. In the same way life ends with intense pain, which is the pain of leaving the body.
Life is almost like a bridge between pain and pain. Just like the Golden Gate Bridge in the USA that connects two places, life seems to be a bridge connecting pain to pain!
When you can maintain your center, when you can be centered on your being while facing deep physical pain or mental suffering, you will see that you just go beyond the pain.
When you go deep, when you become more aware, more conscious, you suddenly realize that you are affected and disturbed more by the ‘internal reality’ within you, than by the real incident that caused the pain.
You realize that the incident that happened in the outer world is not directly connected to the experience that is going on in the inner world. Sometimes, if you just avoid the words that you constantly repeat like, ‘pain, pain,’ ‘suffering, suffering,’ you will escape from the pain that you might otherwise go through.
For example, with an incident that usually creates suffering or pain in your inner world, be a little intelligent and careful from the beginning not to allow thoughts such as, ‘This is painful. I am suffering,’ to occur. If you are aware or conscious enough to stop these types of words before they surface to the conscious layer, you can escape from the suffering. If you become a little aware, you will know how to play with your inner reality, how to be more balanced. Then, the outer world things will not be able to affect you.
There have been recorded instances of ‘phantom pain’ which is pain in a part of the body that does not exist. Once in the Second World War, a soldier’s leg had to be amputated because it was badly damaged. The strange thing was that when he became conscious again he was still complaining about the pain in the leg. He was covered with a blanket so he had no idea that the leg had been removed. The blanket was removed and he was shown that his leg was not there anymore. He was shocked! Further research then showed that each part of the body is related to a certain part of the brain. When a certain part of the body feels pain, the corresponding brain center shows activity. In this case, the related brain center was still vibrating in the same way it was vibrating when the leg was a part of the body. There are many such instances of people who feel pain in the empty space where their limbs were amputated. This is called ‘phantom pain’.
The mind has tremendous influence over the body. Even the perception of physical pain can be changed by the mind. In science they call it the ‘placebo effect’ when a simple sugar pill gives the same effect as a painkiller just because the person is made to believe that the sugar pill is a painkiller!
The other day, I was reading about research done at the University of Michigan in the USA that appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience. The research was done on a group of young men who agreed to let researchers inject their jaw muscles with a concentrated saline solution causing pain. The brain’s response to the pain was studied using PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans that showed the activity of the body’s natural painkillers called endorphins.
In one scan, the men were told they were being given a painkiller but actually what was given was just a placebo, a substance that had no painkilling properties. Then they were asked to rate the intensity of the pain they felt on a scale of 0 to 100. Also, the PET scan would indicate the brain activity related to pain. The researchers were able to study both the response of the brain and what the men actually felt.
The amazing observation was that when the men were given a placebo, meaning not a painkiller but just a neutral substance, the pain they felt was actually less. It was as if they had been given the painkiller itself! The PET scans indicated that the endorphin (natural painkiller) system in the brain was activated. It showed increased activity with the placebo, just because the person believed that it was a painkiller! Further studies have shown that the placebo effect was observed in more than seventy percent of the people, where the pain decreased by up to twenty two percent. Science is still studying this amazing phenomenon, which so clearly shows the mind-body connection.
This may look silly. But if we look into our lives, we are also doing exactly the same thing!
We invite pain upon ourselves. We may not like to believe this, but every single pain that we experience in life is invited by us. It is just like inviting guests to your house, calling them again and again, but when they finally arrive we say we were not expecting them!
We invite pain and disease upon ourselves with our immoderate habits and stressful lifestyles, and then forget all about it and complain later when disease happens.
source: Living Enlightenment
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Thank you Swamiji