Even if we have to live with pain, we don’t have to live in pain
To live with pain means that pain is present within our consciousness; to live in pain means that pain dominates our consciousness, infecting our whole life with emotional negativity.
Suppose we have chronic back-pain that oscillates between acute and mild. While it is mild, if we still dwell on it, resenting its past occurrences or dreading its future recurrences, we end up living in pain. How can we avoid dwelling on the pain? By focusing on a purpose bigger than the pain.
If our life’s purpose is bodily enjoyment, bodily pain becomes unbearable. But if we have a higher purpose, that purpose makes the pain bearable. While lifting weights during a workout, we may feel some pain, but we persevere through it. How? By focusing on the purpose of improving our health.
The Bhagavad-gita (13.21) indicates that the world’s cause-effect mechanisms determine external events; but how we experience those events – joyful or painful or in between – is determined by where our consciousness is focused. And that focus is determined by our purpose.
Gita wisdom reveals life’s highest purpose based on our deepest identity. It explains that at our core, we are souls. We are eternal parts of the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna. Our highest purpose is to love and serve him, and to therein relish unending joy. Our body is a tool for his service – even if it limits us in some ways, we can still serve him through our intention expressed within those limitations. When we make his service our life’s defining and driving purpose, then that service attitude itself becomes our steady connection with him.
When we thus center our consciousness on Krishna, it becomes bigger than any pains we may face, thereby enabling us to live with pain without living in pain.
Think it over:
- What is the difference between living with pain and living in pain?
- How does Gita wisdom help us to live with pain instead of living in pain?
- Can you think of some area of life where you can rise from living in pain to living with pain?
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