Saturday, June 09, 2012

What is Pain

In order for there to be pain, there also has to be something else, a story, resistance, or fear…
There’s the sensation and then there has to be an idea about it…
When the sensations are strong you can suffer with even a little bit of story.

For years now I’ve had bouts of migraines, but during the past year they have gradually changed into something I’d not even label as a migraine if I’d hadn’t seen the gradual evolution of the symptoms.

What began as head splitting pain, nausea and vertigo has become a painless slight nausea shakiness and rather transcendent buzz.  In many ways it feels as if I have jumped up out of a deep meditation and my body feels shocked.  Something happens to my vision.  At first, cloudy or blurred seem descriptive but then I’ll realize that’s not it.  More accurately, it seems as if the process of vision, seeing, has become uncoupled from a neural circuit that usually processes visual information.  Usually, what I see goes through a loop that adds a story.  I see something and then think about it with words.  During these migraines now, I simply see.  If I am at work following written instructions, thinking things through becomes an almost impossible task.  I go home and fall asleep immediately.

I think that this shifting in quality of the migraines has been caused by the calcium channel and beta blocker medication I take for high blood pressure.  But, as the shift has become more pronounced it has seemed less and less a physical phenomenon and more and more like some spiritual experience, some adjustment that allows life to be lived with a bit less story.

We all experience pain.  Here, Nirmila finely draws out the mechanics of its arising.  May it help us all live with less pain in the future.

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