I observe that as humans we love to complain, but we are very slow to take positive action to relieve our discomfort. Why? We are in love with our pain. After all, we learn from a very young age what garners attention, and we unfortunately learn not to care whether the attention is negative or positive.
I suspect that each of us knows what pain is, but I question our understanding about the ways in which we unconsciously create it and perpetuate it. I am sensitive to the hairs that are raised by the suggestion that we create our own pain. It is however more true than not. Most of our pain is experienced through the unexplored ancestral, epigenetic links we carry on our backs, the various conditioning of this or that, and the need to feel alive through suffering itself.
In Eckhart Tolle’s book, “A New Earth,” he writes, “suffering or negativity is often misperceived by the ego as pleasure because up to a point the ego strengthens itself through it.” He goes on to express, “Whenever you are in a negative state, there is something in you that wants the negativity, that perceives it as pleasurable, or that believes it will get you what you want. Otherwise, who would want to hang on to negativity, make themselves and others miserables and create disease in the body?”
I am more and more aware of various situations where I can be attached to my pain. For example, in actively caring for my daughter who experiences autism, I observe that I will have a growing feeling that I need to rest, and refuel, but I keep going until I hit a sort of tunnel point. Once I hit that point, I will finally express it out loud. When I do, I am somehow surprised by the fact that I am met with acceptance, love and suggestions for how I could alleviate my suffering. And how do you think I receive those suggestions? I hem and haw, and make excuses about how this or that won’t get done, or be taken care of if I surrender to receiving relief from my suffering. Why? You guessed it! I am in love with my pain. The upside? I’m watching it, and becoming more aware about the other places this sneaky, sick, love affair with pain is keeping me from the fullness of being.
I’ve also seen various forms of attachment to pain through my work as a vocal teacher. I’ve observed students that simply cannot let go of their attachment to past pain, and therefore remain unable to reach their full potential.
Attachment to pain can be seen everywhere. Social media, and the media at large are huge ego troughs for humans to feed from every day. And, as the tricks of the mind go, I am aware not to get attached to the observation of my own pain, or the observation of others unconscious attachment to their pain.
With Eckhart’s words as a guidepost, dive into the question, “where am I blindly attached to pain.” Try to feel it, rather than think it. Let go of ego. Wherever you feel resistance is a good place to start. Observe your attachment to the pain of others as well. Self inquire, “what part of me needs this feeling of pain?”
We can only let go of pain, when we become aware of how attached we are to it. What is your attachment or addiction to pain (suffering of any kind through repetitive thought patterns, behaviors and beliefs—yours or others)? What kind of new patterns, behaviors and beliefs can you put in place to take you out of this? Rather than allowing suffering to be an integrated part of life, stay observant and find solutions for being without blind attachment to pain.
Felicia Farerre is a recording artist, author and teacher who lives in the sticks of France with her husband, daughter and zen master cat. For more information, please visit: https:// www.feliciafarerre.net