Sunél's Blog | A perspective on pain

Sunél Veldtman, | 03 February 2023


Pain is part of being human. From our birth, we grow, and we age. We learn that our needs cannot all be met. We experience pain. We learn about loss. And we die.

Yesterday, I was reminded of this. A friend passed away over the weekend - way too young and too soon. A good man in every respect. I do not know his family and it is too early to be talking about all of this to his family, but it reminded me that there is no escaping pain.

Everyone will experience pain. Some more than others. Sometimes due to our own choices or others’ choices. Sometimes due to the circumstances of our birth. Sometimes due to our geography. And sometimes it seems for no reason at all.

Nearly all transformation is the result of pain. Most of us need the pain to dislodge us from our destructive patterns, beliefs, sentiments, or even circumstances. We need the pain to create the impetus to catapult us forward. I’m sure that all of us can think of painful times that have helped us to learn and grow.

However, I do not believe that pain is always generative. I do not believe that there is always a cause or a reason why we should experience pain. I also do not believe that there is always a lesson to be learned. Sometimes pain just is.

Pain should not be worshipped either. Accepting painful circumstances may not bring the spiritual enlightenment promised by some.

Likewise, we cannot ignore pain. Tuning it out, avoiding it, or narcotising against pain will cause more than the necessary suffering. So will raging against it.

Sometimes the best we can do is acknowledge how much it hurts and how much we hate it. Then we can move through the anger, sadness, and grief - or whatever it is that we must work through  - toward changing what we can change.

Being present in pain opens the door to being present in joy. If we wait until the pain is gone before we become present in our lives, we miss the point of being human.

It is unlikely to come a time when there is no pain. Waiting to be present until a better time or place in the future, will postpone experiencing life.

Your own life.

In the moments after you wake up from a deep sleep, still foggy about where you are, and your reality dawns on you – who you are, where you are and what your life is like right now – in those moments, we all have a choice. We can choose to live, really live our reality, or we can choose to postpone living to some future imaginative place and time.

What will you choose? I am working hard to choose life.

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Kind regards,