Students often complain about and share their pain with me. Universally people want to reject pain and wish it away. Every time I work with someone in pain I wish I could just take it away, and yet, over the years I've seen people be forced to rise up and work through their pain. I marvel at the courage, strength, transformation and healing that can take place due to pain. Pain often has complex origins that defy simple explanations, remedies, and its voices speak to all dimensions of your being, physical, mental, and spiritual. Pain slows you down, restricts your movement, forces you to change your routine, demands that you find different patterns to explore, compels you to focus on unexpected aspects of practice, aspects that otherwise, you wouldn't necessarily choose to go into.
Resisting pain can frustrate you and challenge your resolve to practice and thus it is essential to see that the obstructions that appear in your path, whether physical or mental, are meant to be there for your learning and growth. Somehow you have to trust the process, let go and see the potential openings, the advantages and new directions within the hardship. This is how you find your way deeper into your practice.
For example, when you are hurting, you learn how to practice more gently, you become more humble and less ambitious and goal oriented. Pain also forces you to deal with frustration and the arrogance of thinking that your little conscious mind knows exactly how to go further along your path. Also you are inclined to be more caring, tender hearted, more open, vulnerable, and happier with less. Also, when you are a little down and slightly blue, you become more serious about important matters. You increase your ability to withdraw inwards and cultivate a mental attitude that is more empty and purposeless.
You can find the full article in Maps and Musings.