Pain is an interesting topic as I think so much of the human condition is maximizing pleasure and eliminating as much pain as possible. So, the idea that the book has that pain is not only natural but healthy is counter-cultural. We are taught as children not to cry, don’t get mad, don’t have an outburst so as to not embarrass our parents and oust them in public as not having control over their child. I think that this carries into early childhood years and beyond, but then somewhere there is an evolution to how we see pain. As we become older we learn that not only are we to not react to or acknowledge pain but that it is a part of the world that we have to endure. Pain is part of the process which brings about a greater good, and if it doesn’t, it was all for not. As we get older still we learn somewhere along the way that there is more than superficial pain, which has an immediate remedy, but that there is a deeper pain that can only be felt under inexplicable circumstances, and no matter what you do physically or mentally there is no putting a band-aid on it.
I think that this is the kind of pain that the book is talking about, the pain you receive from a sudden loss, the pain that you feel as empathy, such as one would in a natural disaster or terrorist attack, or the pain of knowing that the world is in an irreparable downward spiral and your children’s children may never get to experience the pure unadulterated version of this planet we have.
On my walk, while these things did swirl around my head, I truthfully was more preoccupied with other matters. However, I think it is reflective of how I deal with pain to investigate what else I thought about. On my walk, I was aware that the nature I was experiencing may soon be little more than stumps and patches of dying grass, but I was still more worried about upcoming projects and what I have to complete before I leave. I think that is natural as a person, to slide aside future possible dilemmas for the immediate ones. It may even be a part of people genetically. If we were to always worry about a hundred things at the same time we would never have the mental clarity to address the next hurdle. Like a hurdler running their race, we as humans cannot think of the massive hurdle fifty meters ahead of us that nobody has figured out how to clear because we would lose focus and fall to a lesser challenge directly in front of us. Or worse still, if we were to obsess over a future immovable obstacle, more likely than not we would lose hope and quit the race before we even had to face it.
The breathing exercise in the book was insightful in the sense that we are all individuals on our own life-loops, but we are all somehow connected. And maybe, if enough of us clear all of the obstacles directly in front of us, we can get to the immovable one and move it together.
The audio is from a playlist for when I have to get homework done or just let my mind wander, it’s what I listened to on my walk. Hearts by Blackbird Blackbird.