Normally, whatever steps we take when we are faced with pain are attempts to escape the pain and suffering. People ask me how I am able to be blissful all the time and whether enlightenment gets rid of all pain.
Be very clear, enlightenment is not an escape from pain but an understanding of pain. It gives a deep insight and courage to look objectively at oneself.
‘Why am I feeling miserable? What is it that is causing me suffering and anguish? What exactly is causing me to feel hurt?’
All you need is the courage to ask these questions and face the answers. You will be free from the usual suffering.
How to avoid pleasure and pain? Just go through both in a witnessing state, that’s all.
A small story:
Once a disciple was walking with a Zen master when a flock of geese flew overhead. The master asked, ‘What are they?’ The disciple replied, ‘They are wild geese, master.’ The master asked, ‘Where are they?’ The disciple replied, ‘They have flown away.’
The master suddenly caught the disciple’s nose and twisted it. The disciple cried out in pain. The master said, ‘You say they have flown away, but they have been here from the start.’ The story says the disciple became enlightened in that moment.
This story may sound very strange, but this is the way of most Zen masters.
Pain has a tremendous value in awakening you to reality. That is why it has been used by many masters to awaken the sleeping disciple.
Normally what do we do when someone is in pain? We console. Unknowingly we enable the person to continue to sleep. But the master is not interested in consoling. His only interest is in awakening you. In the moment of great pain, the mind stops, there is only pain. In that moment, the Truth is delivered! In the story you can see that in the moment of pain, the disciple’s inner space was ready to receive the Truth from the master, and the master delivered it!
Pain can become a very creative energy. It can become a remembrance of God. It can become prayer. It can become meditation. It can become awareness. It can cause tremendous transformation in you.
An important secret of life that you need to understand is that if you become aware of something, you can get rid of it very easily. If you are not aware of it, there is no question of getting rid of it. It remains with you.
The pain is a pain because it exists in your unconscious, not in your awareness. Your fear of facing the pain allows it to exist and grow more and more, like a tumor. A master will simply remove this tumor through his master surgery’! When it leaves you, you transform into a new person. Once a devotee asked me, ‘Swamiji, I understand that the surgery is needed for my inner space to be cleansed. But can the master use some pain-killer while doing the ‘master surgery’?’
What is the attitude needed to deal with the painful ‘surgeries’ of the master? Sometimes, just the awareness itself will dissolve the pain. Many times, I will just point at the pain, nothing else. It will simply disappear and it will evaporate.
Now, what is the correct attitude to deal with these painful ‘surgeries’? It is having complete trust that whatever ‘pain’ the master causes is only for your good and nothing else. The ‘surgery’ itself is because of his boundless love and compassion for you. If this is clearly understood, then even if it hurts, you will go through it with deep gratitude for what the master is doing to you. I can say that the painkiller from the master’s side is the love and compassion the master showers with just a look.
One more thing is that the pain is also because you start thinking it is a pain and labeling it so. The master can teach in just two or three seconds what will ordinarily take a lifetime or a few hundred years or a few births. The master is intense life. He will simply remove the ‘tumor’ and throw it away. So, even if it is intense, it is better to go with the master than with life because it is a very quick process. Also, if you understand what the master is doing to you, you can enjoy it as the ultimate happening in your life.
Also the pain you will experience continuing life with the ‘tumors’ will be much worse than the pain you experience when the master removes them. Removing a ‘tumor’ will take hardly a few minutes. The master just removes it, and it is done.
Once you understand this process, you will no longer label the transformation as pain. Instead, you will welcome it. You will not only welcome it, you will feel thankful that what was lurking deep down in your unconscious has been brought up and removed.
Your true nature is divine. Your ultimate potential is to realize that you are divine. Anything less will leave you feeling dissatisfied and discontented. You can have all the money in the world, all the name and fame, all the best relationships, all the power, and still you will remain empty and feel the pain of being unfulfilled. Unless your divine nature flowers, unless your divinity is revealed to you, you can never feel fulfilled.
The master kindles the fire inside you to know yourself. He creates the pain of unfulfillment in you. He creates such deep longing in you, because only through such divine discontent will you move, will you take the quantum jump into the unknown divinity that already exists within you. Only then you will wake up from the meaningless dream you have been living lifetime after lifetime. Only then you will integrate all your energies and jump in to explore the adventure of life.
source: Living Enlightenment