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Pain, ego

techietechie India Veteran

Physical pain indicates that there's something wrong with the body.

Psychological pain indicates that there's something wrong with us - the ego.

For it is the ego that gets hurt.

In this context, isn't pain actually a threat to the ego? If so, is pain a good thing (since ego is a bad thing)?

Do we allow the pain to destroy the ego, then?

Just thinking it out loud.

Comments

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    I don't like pain of any description. Personally, I'd prefer to think of psychological pain as a reminder that I'm often doing something wrong and see what I can learn from it.

    And there are types of psychological pain that are perfectly natural to experience, such as the death of a loved one.

    I think it's our relationship - how we handle that pain and how it affects us is the important factor.

    For example, does it drive us to do unhealthy things (like drink or drug), or does it drive us to handle it in more healthy ways (like seeking out the company of friends or our spiritual circle for support)?

    As a recovered alkie, I could not stand feeling the discomfort of any kind of psychological pain, which is probably why I drank the way I did. And when I got sober I thought the idea was to 'be happy' (not experience pain) so that I could remain sober.

    But over the years (I'm a slow learner), I've learnt there's no avoiding pain, and I've somehow learnt to be okay, even when I'm not feeling okay.

    lobsterDhammaDragon
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I understand what you mean.

    Perhaps psychological pain helps us strive for awakening.

    lobsterTosh
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    IMO, Not quite.... Exposure to understanding whence Psychological pain comes, is a key to helping us see there are better ways. Ultimately, it's those 'better ways' that further unlock the path to Awakening.

    HozanlobsterDhammaDragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I don't like pain of any description

    And yet you do quite extreme running . . . :p

    One of the most extraordinary behavour patterns is how we cling to our pain/dukkha, our Buddhas, our sardine tin collection :3 our egoic affiliations etc.

    Then like the Buddha who was starving him silly with a group of spiritual poseurs (sorry Shakyamuni - but you know you were) we change our pattern.

    What do we need to do? Not how extreme is our sitting, how big our book/experiences collection. No. What will change us for real. Walk the talk.

    @Shoshin posted an excellent thread on the 8 fold path. It may be commitment to a cushion, teacher/sangha/mantra/yidam internal commitment etc.

    Here we go. Plan:
    I take refuge in the three jewels.

    Do we allow the pain to destroy the ego, then?

    ... Ay caramba - destroy the ego? . . . who is going to look after the family, eat the fish :3 post to NewBuddhist, be kind to the enlightened etc ...

    Skilful means ... skilful . . .

    Tosh
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Hurdles in life help us grow, find more skillful solutions to dealing with dukkha and ideally, not generating more dukkha ourselves.
    Suffering, psychological affliction, helps us grow and develop more skillful responses, become more resilient.
    Ego is not the enemy.
    Ego is the conventional psycho-physical bundle of aggregates that we have been given to move about in this particular samsaric stretch of the road.
    We don't want to destroy it, but to open up its fictional boundaries to embrace the world as a whole.
    We want to teach it that we inter-are and not to take itself too seriously.

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Pain is much more complicated than simply physical or psychological. The more we focus on pain, the more our brain is trained on it. We can make ourselves feel pain when nothing is physically wrong. Or long after the physical problem is resolved. I actually am dealing with this right now and trying to resolve it is interesting.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Pain is inescapable.
    Suffering is optional.

    Keromelobsterdhammachick
  • ZeroZero Veteran

    @techie said:
    Physical pain indicates that there's something wrong with the body.

    Psychological pain indicates that there's something wrong with us - the ego.

    For it is the ego that gets hurt.

    In this context, isn't pain actually a threat to the ego? If so, is pain a good thing (since ego is a bad thing)?

    Do we allow the pain to destroy the ego, then?

    Just thinking it out loud.

    It is challenging delineating physical from psychological as they're part and parcel of the same thing - it is a reaction to stimuli.
    In this sense, pain is always a 'good' thing because it alerts us to a stimuli that we may well need to react to rapidly in order to preserve a set of conditions.
    The ego is a tricky one as in the way presented, it seems to be a separate identity - something that is separate from us - in this sense, it's akin to a distance / a lack of responsibility / a convenient fiction - so then how to destroy a fiction?

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @lobster said:
    ... Ay caramba - destroy the ego? . . . who is going to look after the family, eat the fish :3 post to NewBuddhist, be kind to the enlightened etc ...

    Zen student: how much ego do I need, master?
    Zen master: just enough not to step under a bus, grasshopper.

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