Daily Meditation

Culture Teaches Us How to Numb and Distract Ourselves 2.3.23

Today’s quotation:

Our culture teaches us how to numb and distract ourselves but not how to listen to our pain and learn from our difficulties.  Think about what we learn about pain from television.  We learn that pain is to be avoided at all costs and that there are a variety of pain relievers for every conceivable pain.  I would like to see a commercial that says, “Your pain is a great teacher.  Learn from it and be healed.”-Bernie Siegel

Daily Meditation:

It can be rather challenging to think of pain as a teacher.  After all, we spend so much time, and effort trying to avoid the pain that seeing it as something good doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.  As Bernie says, we take pills and use ointments and drink liquids to help us “deal with” pain, while the whole time, the pain may be trying to tell us something important.  As a runner, I know that sometimes pain is telling me to stop running for a while, and that’s undoubtedly a critical metaphor that can be applied to life, friendships, and activities.

But also, as a runner, I know that most of the pain I feel while running is simply that–a bit of pain.  I go through certain types of pain virtually every time I run, but I just run through it.  I pay attention to it, decide whether it’s severe enough to make me stop running, and then I usually keep running.  Within a couple of minutes, it’s gone of its own accord.  And that’s also a metaphor that can be applied to life–the pain makes its own way out of my life.  I don’t need to stop running, and I don’t need to take any medications to dull it.  The best remedy for these types of pain is to keep on running.

It’s a shame that we’ve been taught to throw drugs into our bodies at the first sign of pain.  Of course, they’re often necessary if we’re going to be able to concentrate and get on with our lives.  But often, they’re not, and because we dull the pain immediately, we never learn the lessons that the pain was supposed to teach us.  “Slow down,” pain often says.  “Take better care of yourself.”  “Eat better.”  “Stop doing that!”  “You’re using this body part in the wrong ways.”  Pain has a lot to say if we only listen to it.

How many people start drinking to “cope with” the pain, only to now have a new pain of alcoholism?  How many people are addicted to opioids because they can’t deal with some physical pain?  Sometimes an outside agent is essential for dealing with pain, but it makes it much more suitable to learn how to deal with pain on its own terms and learn the lessons it’s trying to bring us.

Questions to consider:

Why is it important to eliminate pain as soon as it shows up?

What kinds of lessons might we learn from the pains that we feel?

What other ways of dealing with pain that doesn’t involve medications?

For further thought:

It is our own pain and our desire to be free of it that alerts us to the world’s suffering.  Our discovery that pain can be acknowledged, even held lovingly enables us to look at the pain around us unflinchingly and feel compassion is born in us.  We need to start with ourselves.-Sylvia Boorstein

If you missed yesterday’s Daily Meditation, it is right here.

Culture Teaches Us How to Numb


BeckyWillis is a "glass is half full" type of person, so she decided that she would share that with others. After going on 15 years in the blogosphere she decided it was time to make a change and in doing so help uplift others. Her husband is her biggest cheerleader; you can visit his site at https://lifeasrog.com.

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