1. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    I don't feel entirely comfortable talking about this kind of thing on a forum as it feels small, but how does one deal with pain? I was born with two physical problems, one of which creates for me some degree of difficulty whilst the other, as well as predisposing me to other physical problems, brought me intolerable pain through social stigma. Throw in physical injury from a later accident and another problem breathing, made worse by passive smoking, and this body is wretched.

    Now just as a bad mindset founders all kinds of addictions and similar physical problems, so an evil body leads to an evil soul, a nasty temper not always justly directed and a covetous mentality centered around envy of what others take for granted, but that would always be denied to me.

    At the same time I have a coldness as regards emotions and a callous hardness that, as Nietzsche reminds us, is a divine boon. That most of my thoughts revolve round inflicting pain in some form or another is however surely down to a bad lot drawn for me before I was even born then progressively worse throughout the course of my life.

    At the end, I lack any kind of virtue or strength except those that have worked against me in the end; resilience despite physical and emotional pain, not least. Though my nature consists of storms and shadows, smoke and fires, and such things, it now feels burned out as my health deteriorates and I merely feel helpless and impotent as though everything was just a cruel joke.

    I have always intuitively shut out to pain whilst lashing out when feeling provoked, though I'm finding it much harder to do that now. How do you cope with your pain?
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  2. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    Not so much physical pain for me, more routine dark periods that tend to not only unpleasant, but rather paralysing as well. I try to remain calm and collected, and to do this I keep these two quotes in mind when shit hits the fan:

    "Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things."

    ~ Epictetus, The Enchiridion

    "every fool thinks the world exists for his sake… if things turn out contrary to his desires he concludes that the universe is bad.”

    ~ Moses Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed, Book III, Chapter XII

    If you think about how many issues hotheaded and passionate people make worse for themselves, or how you can wallow in the abyss when confronted with a negative event in your life, the advice you can draw from these two quotes can be very beneficial.
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  3. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    There is a very real sense in which suffering of all genera is a scourge: Be it pain that boils through flesh and bone, grief and anger that mortifies kinship, passion-eating despair, or nausea – the haematophagy of the spirit; All of which serves to torment and isolate. But it must never be neglected to mention that scourging only afflicts the extraneous. It leaves untouched the truly transcendent: Will. The Will, the raw individual, and the principles that are its telos, are toto genere distinct from all worldly phantasmagoria; They can, through commitment and praxis, overcome all assaults and insolences, procuring all the more glorious fruit as a result. Saint Boethius says as much on the topic of moral afflictions, though there is much convertible value in his words:

    "And so sovereign Providence has often produced a remarkable effect--evil men making other evil men good. For some, when they think they suffer injustice at the hands of the worst of men, burn with hatred for evil men, and being eager to be different from those they hate, have reformed and become virtuous. It is only the power of God to which evils may also be good, when by their proper use He elicits some good result."
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  4. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    This thread is relevant to my experience the past few days. In short, I caught the flu a few days back and while the flu is quite minor in relation to the gamut of human pain, this strain I recently caught was a particularly nasty one, leaving me feeling half-alive for nearly two days straight and hence in a constant state of suffering during that period.

    My thoughts while going through this was mainly to see that there is a wisdom or teaching in suffering. It made me think harder on the fact that time is flying, that very soon this body of mine will be lying in the dirt without use, and that in the meantime it is host to a variety of pains, irritations, afflictions, sickness, potential disease, and aging. This realization or rather reminder of these hard truths serves, at least for me, as a wake up call, as a call to action, namely toward praxis. Through my own experiences in life as well as through reading the writings of the sages of the world, I am convinced that there is a higher state to be reached and hence effort should be applied toward that end, especially since all other efforts, no matter how noble, are ultimately transitory. The Buddhist burning house analogy from the Lotus Sutra is a good description of the situation in my opinion:

    In any case, how I typically deal with pain is simply to endure. I don't have any special means or reactions, I just endure whatever comes my way as stoically as possible.
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  5. Pangloss

    Pangloss Senior Member

    "Under no circumstances should you become despondent or hopeless; this is worse than any sin. Such states lead one to spiritual death and even suicide. 'There is no sin that cannot be forgiven, except the sin which is not repented of." ... You have no reason to despair...'Separate yourself from the world and draw closer to the Lord,' and He will console you here and in the life to come."

    ~ Abbot Nikon Vorobiev, qtd. from "Letters to Spiritual Children"
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  6. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    I write this not for mine own glory, but for the comfort of the Reader, so that if perhaps you are minded to walk with me upon my narrow bridge, you will not suddenly be discouraged, dismayed and distrustful, when the gates of hell and God's wrath meet you, and present themselves before you. When we pass together over this narrow bridge of the fleshly birth, to yonder green meadow, where the wrath of God does not reach, then we shall greatly rejoice at all the damages and hurts which we have sustained; though indeed at present the world accounts us fools, and we must suffer the devil in the power of God's wrath to domineer, and to rush and roar over us: It should not trouble us, for it will be a more excellent reputation to us in the other life, than if in this life we had worn a royal crown; and there is so very short a time to get there, that it is not worth being called “a time.”

    --Jakob Boehme

    There is another power immaterial too, flowing from the spirit, remaining in the spirit, altogether spiritual. In this power God is fiery, aglow with all His riches, with all His sweetness and all His bliss. Truly, in this power there is such great joy, such vast unmeasured bliss that none can tell of it or reveal it fully. Yet I declare that if ever there were a single man who in intellectual vision and in truth should glimpse for a moment the bliss and the joy therein, then all his sufferings and all God intended that he should suffer would be a trifle, a mere nothing to him - in fact I declare it would be pure joy and comfort to him.

    If you would know for certain whether your suffering is your own or God's then you can know by this: If you suffer for yourself, in whatever way, that suffering hurts and is hard to bear. But if you suffer for God and God alone, your suffering does not hurt and is not hard to bear, for God bears the load. In very truth, if there were a man willing to suffer purely for God's sake and for God alone, then although he were suddenly called upon to bear all the suffering that all men have ever endured, the collective sufferings of all the world, it would not hurt him or bear him down, for God would bear the burden. If they put a hundredweight burden on my neck and another were to bear it on my neck, I would as willingly bear a hundred pounds as one, for it would not burden me or cause me pain. In brief, whatever a man suffers for God and God alone, He makes light and pleasant.

    Meister Eckhart

    Also, on the topic, has anyone read Junger's book On Pain? While not precisely about pain as such, I've been meaning to read it but have never gotten around to it.
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  7. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    I was reading about Hughie Green and his son's account of him remind me of myself.
    • 'He was brilliant but his emotions were totally truncated. The whole of his early life was curtailed.'
    • 'He wanted to love the whole world, but he just didn't know how to.'
    • 'He'd never been shown love and he didn't know how to show it himself,'
    • 'He decided he'd never let a woman treat him like that.'
    Reading the text those sentences were quoted from, just a weird feeling came over me reading that third sentence. Some kids are just evil so are rejected as such by their mothers, much like cats might kill defective kittens. Just as a bad mindset leads to physical health problems, so it is a sick body sustains a wretched mind, and coping with a deficient physis seems to create an obsession with nomos specifically a preoccupation with self-defence and control. Its not paranoia in the schizophrenic sense, I don't feel convinced anyone in particular is up to something, by contrast, I treat everyone as though they might. The reason I don't drink or do drugs is also concern about losing control, not what people assume.
    Last edited: 11 March 2016
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  8. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Schopenhauer, himself as much a miserable and antisocial git as I, hit the nail on the head when it came to love (drawing, as you'd expect, heavily from the Upanishads): Every single person, and every single beast, no matter how grand or pitiful, has at the rawest level the same essence, and as such can place themselves in the shoes of another. A man can sympathise with the plight of an ant, or a god; We can even find ourselves looking into the eyes of someone who harms us: Seeing their rage and their fear, understanding why they lash out and not condemn them for it, instead responding with compassion. As St Aquinas says, "to love anything is nothing else than to will good to that thing." Conversely, the road of unlove, - for both yourself and others, - is to build walls around yourself: To shun contact with others, to grow bitter with grudges, to be fearful and wallow within yourself. As we see in Schopenhauer:

    "Individuation is real. The principium individuationis with the consequent distinction of individuals, is the order of things in themselves. Each living unit is an entity radically different from all others. In my own self alone I have my true being; every-thing outside it belongs to the non-ego, and is foreign to me." This is the creed to the truth of which flesh and bone bear witness: which is at the root of all egoism, and which finds its objective expression in every loveless, unjust, or malicious act. (On the Basis of Morals)

    True enough, it must be noted that with every single social act, a person opens themselves up to suffer harm and injustice. But then, every bite of a new foodstuff opens themselves to sickness and disgust. How, without this most basic risk, can anyone ever hope to experience kinship and delight?

    An ill mind always seems inevitable to the melancholic. People convince themselves of their own hopelessness, lament themselves for their sufferings, and for what? It may be said by Spengler that optimism is cowardice; Maybe this is true of politics. But when it comes to psychology, it is pessimism that is cowardice. To be an optimist about the human condition is the prerogative of the naive, and of the strong.

    "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
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  9. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    The fact I'm self-hateful in a way helps me live without guilt, it reminds me of my imperfections when I get negative feedback, and so keeps my bad nature in check because I don't & won't blame everyone. Same as I don't mind risks or change but I have to know whats going on so I avoid the worst trouble. It's hard to trust others or see good in them sometimes but on the whole I turn it to my advantage.
  10. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    If the root of your self-hatred is reducible to whatever physical afflictions you suffer, then the choice is straightforward: To either dwell in self-pity and make pain your icon, with all the envy and despair that entails, or to focus on what is in your power, to set yourself to task therein, and bring yourself esteem through what you manage in those areas. I mean, I don't know what your ambitions are; Personally, I'd like to write a book. A really big one. An ambition like that: At once feasible, yet strenuous; Within your grasp, yet satisfying, - that is what you need. Crudely simple as it may be, we often deceive ourselves as to what we aren't capable of controlling. We amputate our spirit, as it were, through auto-obfuscation.

    Śāntideva expressed this concisely:

    If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
    What reason is there for dejection?
    And if there is no help for it,
    What use is there in being glum?
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