Sunday, 16 December 2012

On Pain: Part 1 - BOON or BANE ?

On Pain

"Without pain there is no consciousness
Without consciousness there is no intelligence
Without intelligence there is no understanding
Without understanding there is no peace

Without peace there is no happiness
Without happiness, there is... pain..  " - Ratish         

Our original nature is that timeless, spaceless, state which is beyond pleasure and pain. And that state is the background on which every event flows and becomes an experience through our senses in the conceptual framework of time-space.

What is meant by timeless and spaceless? If you truly understand what meditation is, you would appreciate the truth that it is an action of no-action. In other words, you are not doing anything. You are simply relaxed without thoughts. There is no more subject (the perceiver/doer) and no more object (perceived/ fruitive action). There is complete surrender to what-is - that eternity where past, present and future all merge into one source. From this source came consciousness i.e. the feeling of I AM. When this 'I' emerged, simultaneously 'the Other' emerged. The experience of opposites explodes thereon unto male-female, now-then, life-death and other forms of duality. Pain-pleasure is one such example of duality. One does not exist without the other, has not existed without the other and shall not exist without the other. Why is duality perceived and experienced ?

Can you ride a bicycle with only one motion? Can you chew with only one way motion? What will the earth be if there were only days or only nights unlike the usual day-night pattern? What would happen to you if your body is involved only in consumption and no ejection? What is cancer? Living cells that refuse to die as normal cells do in the process of growth and thereby ensuring new cells appear and old cells disappear. The thread that runs through all the aforementioned examples is the fundamental law of equilibrium.

There are no laws of nature - rather there is only one law - the law of Balance. We and all the forms that appear around us are nothing but energy in motion. We are vibrations of energy in distinct patterns. Each moment there is an experience of creation - simultaneously- destruction.
Take the example of serial lights that are hung on buildings on festive occasions. From the bird's eye view, it appears to be one stream of light moving in a meaningful manner. Upon closer examination, one realizes that it is not a flow of a light as one body, but a synchronized and artisticallly created pattern of light synapses from each bulb in the series. Our existence is very much the same. Like the on-off pattern of the lights, creation and destruction takes place much to the bewilderment of our limited individual sentient capacities, but on the whole creation and destruction are very much balanced and if all our senses could combine into The One Sentience / Universal 'I' / God, the whole of existence would present itself as a perfectly intelligent design.

Coming to the subject of pain: Pain finds its roots in thoughts. Pain is blocked energy (by the self) seeking attention in order to find its' acceptance and integration into the original non-dual energy source. Some sages say 'Thought is your enemy'. Let us understand this statement.
What is the 'mother of all problems' thought? The thought of subjectiveness - 'I' and 'The Other'. We place ourselves as the doer of a particular action or attribute a specific action as being done by 'the other'. Thus we are already living in split energy. As events occur moment to moment, the split spreads like tributaries and distributaries of a river. To achieve perception, the mind projects the concept of space and to gain understanding by associating the perceptions, it projects the concept of time - split into past, present and future dimensions. Therefore, the truth is revealed in the understanding of 'WHAT IS' as a state of timeless, spaceless non-conceptualness. There are no thoughts creating energy split and thus all projections can be arrested at this stage by thoughtless observation/ choiceless awareness/ pure consciousness thereby assimilating all split energies into The One Source. There is total absence of the subjectiveness - the concept of doership. There is no THAT and no I. There are no pronouns, only verbs. For instance, the expression I am angry is replaced by Anger exists. Meditation takes the individual to a such a state of non-individuality.

Pleasure is in fact a state of denial and also a state of ignorance. What could be the most pleasurable moment in any of our lives? Pleasure in the state of ignorance could be referred to that stage of your life when you were inside your mother's womb, blissfully and significantly unaware of your own existence until you went through one of the most traumatic experiences of your life - your birth. With the pain of birth you experienced the feeling of I AM'ness because your body was struggling against a hostile new environment to survive. Immediately after birth this 'I' was seeking the mother ['the other'] as an instinctive response mechanism designed by nature.
Pleasure in the state of denial sets in when our ego is formed in the early childhood. By the age of 3-4, our mind begins to learn and experience fear and personality structure begins to develop in a split pattern i.e. accepting the pleasant and suppressing the unpleasant through denial and suppression. Our description of ourselves is only in association with that signifies pleasure, meanwhile blocked energies continue to remain within us with/without or conscious knowledge of the same. For instance the virtue of sacrifice can be misrepresentated by masochism and in a mentally conditioned state of appearing as a 'hero' the Self-denial becomes even more pronounced.

It is only pain that brings up our blocked energies to surface, to enable us to heal by identifying, accepting and integrating the same within us unto wholeness and equilibrium. Hence pain must not be avoided but at the same time one should not uphold pain as a noble virtue - for it is only the mind then deceiving itself.

Pleasure and pain are then to be looked upon as complementary opposites. In their respective extremes, one always appears to mirror the other. To quote Mikhail Naimy from THE BOOK OF MIRDAD:

"Yours is a world of cradles turning into tombs, and tombs becoming cradles; of days devouring
nights, and nights regurgitating days; of peace declaring war, and war suing for peace; of smiles
afloat on tears, and tears aglow with smiles."

And finally to quote Nisargadatta Maharaj:

" Please puts you to sleep. Pain wakes you up. If you don't want to suffer, don't sleep."

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