Before getting into why I consider physical pain to be the greatest teacher, let me give some background.
I am one of those who constantly and intentionally creates problems for himself. Even when there is nothing significantly alarming in life, I have the habit of questioning and worrying about things such that I miss everything else going on, every emotion flowing in and need someone else to remind me of the absurdity of what I have been thinking and worrying about. That someone doesn’t have to be a highly intellectual or spiritual person. That something doesn’t have to be sophisticated or philosophical. Hearing a ten year old kid react while playing a video-game can do the trick. But such encounters rarely occur.
Believe me, I have read and heard the best of preachers preach and the greatest of teachers teach.
‘Thou shalt not do this…’, ‘You have been viewing the world wrong…’, ‘This is the proper way…’…they say.
But for me, what they preach and teach has always been like listening to some music you don’t like. You can hear the music playing, you understand what’s going on…but it just doesn’t touch you.
That’s my character.
Now I want to share my present situation:
I am going through excruciating pain in my mouth because of a couple of rotten teeth. It has persisted for a couple of days during which it has grabbed my attention, sucked my energy, has made me scream in anguish, has taken buzz away from beer, clouds away from smoke, taste away from food and relaxation away from a cup of tea. It has eclipsed my entire being and my thoughts haven’t been able to focus anywhere else apart from the region that hurts.
Under this situation, however, when I move my mind around things, I am amazed at my stupidity for constantly and intentionally creating problems for myself when there are none!
‘Everything is so simple…why was I complicating them?’ I ask myself.
‘This goes here, this there…this fits here…that doesn’t fit there…It’s all so simple. WHAT WAS THERE TO WORRY?!’ I question myself.
This is why I call physical pain the greatest teacher. While I sit here as a being suffering from the complications of its own body, I don’t have time nor space to get lost in mental forests of gloom. For one, it is because I don’t have the energy. Which makes me question whether my anxieties and mental issues are the result of me not being able to apply my energy appropriately. While all the energy of my being is sucked by the consciousness of physical anguish there is little left for the reveries of mind. This is why, perhaps, the mind focuses on the real.
Other thing I notice is the absurdity of problem-creating itself. While I sit here trying to figure out ways through which I can rid myself of this anguish, my state-of-mind is that of the issues of the body. The body which is real. I think I look at the thing that usually bothers me with the same state-of-mind which crops all unnecessary parts and perhaps, the mind focuses on the real. Here there is no place for problem-creating. Things are the way they are!
I don’t know how long this pain will last. In fact, I am about to go visit a doctor. But I don’t want to forget the lessons that this pain has taught me. Lessons about my reality, human reality. About my energy, human energy. Lessons about attention and conscience. Lessons I could never learn from gurus and philosophers.
This physical pain has given me hints on what I shall do and avoid. What I should try to constantly realize. Some part of me wishes some kind of physical pain always remains in me. But again, it’s not comfortable. I have to get rid of this anguish and this is what matters as of now. I need to go to the doctor for I have tried toleration and bearance but none has worked. I have tried homemade ways to avoid pain killers, hasn’t worked. The pain is real. I need to trust the system now. I need to trust a doctor. I need to focus on what is real. I need to do that which is there — not worry about that which may not be.
Right now, I don’t have enough energy or time to question the morality of medical systems!