Pain and your reality.
Photo: Andrew Jenkins
During a time of pain, especially when someone passes, there are a lot of questions. As I wrote about in my last article, sometimes these questions can be answered, but its usually not “enough.” Now I’m not trying to go down a path of negativity, or say there is “no point to it all,” but sometimes it can feel that way to people that are suffering.
Over the last few days I have been around people that are truly devastated. Some of these people have never felt “real” pain before, or dealt with someone passing on. There is nothing else in their world besides pain, and to them there will never be anything else after this. As somewhat of a third party I tell them that there is no other way to feel when going through such a hard time; that you could argue no other feelings exist when someone has to endure that pain.
But sometimes the pain is the point, and the answer.
I dont want to get into why things happen or don’t happen, but there is something to learn in the middle of devastating pain. Some will think “Yeah no shit, pain is progress,” but there is a difference between what I will call working pain (towards goals, setbacks) and life’s pain (death, accidents). There is pain out there that seems to have no purpose or reason; it’s when religious people say that god works in mysterious ways. While I do think there is something out there that does work in certain ways, I don’t think there is always a set “reason” why things happen the way they do. But I think things can be learned from them, which may be the point of us being involved in those things.
If you are religious, the idea is usually that God made something happen for an unknown reason. We then go on to justify it by throwing it on him, but what if he didn’t do anything? My point is, what if no one entity out there “did” anything to us, but we are still expected to learn from it?
There are some things here that lean towards psychological justification; using theory’s or concepts to make ourselves feel better. But its interesting because if you look at someones difficult situation from a third party view, you can always see how they can learn from it. Which means everyone can learn from it too.
Case in point. One individual I talked to who was clearly devastated, has had a history of what we will call “drama” In his life. I told him that maybe this could be the perspective shift he needed to push forward. Sadly, most people do not learn until a negative stimulus has occurred, but either way it might be what they needed. You could say that the negative stimulus is still not worth it, but it doesn’t mean it can’t force a change.
When bad things happen in our lives, or to the people around us, we have to be aware of what has happened, own the pain, and then ask ourselves, “What can I learn here?” To be blunt, what else can you do anyway? There is a thin line between something happening “for a reason,” and what we can learn, even if it happened for no particular reason.
A grieving family see’s no reason for why it happened at the start, but as time goes on is able to talk about it and be part of it instead of being torn apart by it. This is a natural cycle, but it also proves that its possible to “move on” and find some reason in the incident.
This applies to all walks of life. If you are trying to self improve it will involve a lot of pain. While most of it is self induced, it still causes an emotional reaction that we “feel” will never change. This is wrong, and the story above proves it. If families that encounter a horrible incident, or even Soldiers and what they encounter daily, are able to learn from situations then we should be able to do that on our path to self improvement.
We need to learn from the situations around us, but also be aware that life continues on. I think one of the main questions to the argument of pain, death, or life in general, is what space or frame will you live in? You can argue that religion is BS, or that no God exists, but what if those things make our lives better? To me thats all that matters. If when your time comes you find out you were wrong, well, so be it, because what does it matter at that point anyway?
We have to point our lives in some direction; sometimes that direction is by a book like religion, or sometimes there are many books like self improving. Either way we have to pick a path, pick a belief and stay with it. The stoics say a philosopher is someone that does a lot of thinking but also puts it into practice. We have to pick our route and stay the course even around all the pain.
We must have a healthy respect for what is going on, even if it involves pain, or death. On top of that we need a path to stay on, even when these things get in the way.
People wonder what the point of it all is, whats the point of life. The point is to live life by your own standards all the time, not only when its easy; the point is to find your own meaning.
We are lucky as rational beings because we can find meaning in anything, but that doesn’t mean its not real; meaning is what we make it and I choose to believe there is always something that can be learned from shitty situations so I ultimately have less of them.
As I said before in other writings, sometimes life is logistical, sometimes it’s fate, either way we have to feel the pain but also be able to move with it. The fact that things happen in waves, or “when it rains it pours,” proves to me that there has to be a reason behind it. If there wasn’t, things would naturally be a lot easier.