August 2012

'Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.'

August 27, 2012 17:11

Playing violin causing pain is a given.

There are good pain and bad pain. Pain on the tip of my left fingers after a tough practice session, for instance, gives me some pleasure rather than making me suffer. Not because this pain is not real, but because the significance of the pain.

My right shoulder recently developed rotator cuff tendinitis. Now this pain can cause me to suffer a lot. Again, by suffering, I’m not talking about the pain itself; the pain is not so bad after all. Yet I would suffer if the pain is associated with negative emotions, such as, frustration, fear, impatience, etc. That is, if I allow myself to add or "feed" these emotions to the pain itself.

In this sense, having to suffer is a choice, and I believe it is entirely within my control to feel pain and choose not to suffer. How? Thinking alone may be insufficient. Do something and get help.

For the past two months or so and for twice a week I have been receiving the treatment called “active release". Each time I experienced the kind of pain more than I would like to take. Lately, I also tried Shock Wave Therapy on top of that. Not pleasent at all, but I didn’t suffer a bit during these treatments. The reason being I understand that this kind pain means something good is happening to me.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~ Haruki Murakami: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

If only this principle can be more regularly applied to everything in life, but why not?

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