Acharya Prashant: Live through pain, beautifully

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Acharya Prashant: Laxman is asking a question, he is saying that he has undergone two major surgeries and accidents – he says I understand that I’m identified with the body and it is the reason for my suffering. I’ve read many books, scriptures and listened to masters’ teachings that tell me that I am that not the body, yet I do not know how to come out of this pattern. Kindly guide me.

Laxman, you’re bearing physical pain. Keep bearing it. You cannot avoid it. Stop resisting the pain. Bear it gracefully. Live beautifully in pain and then you’ll not suffer. When you shout about, throw your hands about, stamp your feet, complain like a petulant child, that’s when suffering is.

You were born a human being. You’ve come to a certain age. You’ve had accidents, you’ve surgeries and now you’ve pain.

What else do you expect?

You were not born a human being to live painlessly. To be born is to be born in pain.

Do you know how much pain your mother went through when you were born?

What do you mean by complaining against pain?

Bodhidharma was asked, ‘What is greatest fortune?’ And he said, ‘The greatest fortune is not to be born at all.’

The greatest fortune is not to take birth at all because if you were born, then pain is inevitable. Pain is a necessary accompaniment of living a human life.

Don’t grudge! Don’t whimper! Don’t crib!

Your very expectation is misplaced. You will have pain. Go to the great athletes and they’ll tell you, ‘We play through pain’, one fellow is retiring, and he has won multiple grand slams and he says, ‘Now, one thing is certain; I won’t wake up every morning in terrible pain!’

Who gave you the expectation that you were born to rejoice and celebrate and have a gala time?

Maybe the advertisers told you that!

The Buddhas have never told you that you were born to be felicitated or decorated or rewarded. That’s why India has since long said that when you’re punished, then you’re cursed to take birth! This session began with myths. Do you know how the myths go often?

So, there was the great angel and she made a mistake, so she was cursed to take birth! And you’ve dozens of stories like this. The great spirit was cursed to take birth because it made a mistake.

That’s what human birth is all about. You’re here to bear. You aren’t here to have a party.

Even if you’ve party, you will…

Listeners: Suffer

AP: Have a lot of pain.

No, I didn’t say suffer. I’ll come to that. The very concept that life can be painless is false. Pain is due and legitimate. You will have pain. Now, live through like a man.

What is suffering?

Suffering comes only when you start espousing the flawed concept that life must be pain-free. When you start feeding that concept, when you start nourishing and identifying with that concept that life must be painless, then you’ve suffering because now when pain comes, you’re shocked.

You say, ‘Life should’ve been painless and from where has this pain arrived? No, no, you go away, and it is unjust! I was born to dance and now something unfair is happening. See, pain has arrived.’

Now you’ll suffer.

Suffering is non-sensical, ignorant resistance to pain.

Welcome pain! You’ve no option.

So better welcome it.

Just live through it, play through it, as champions do.

Go and ask Roger Federer. He’ll say, ‘I pay through pain!’

Ashish Nehra retired, and he said, ‘It isn’t as if there was pain in my body. Sometimes, I was searching, for my body in the pain! Pain is everywhere, where is the body?’

He used to have one surgery every two days! You get the idea, right?

So many surgeries he had on his body and he kept playing till he was thirty-six or thirty-eight or forty something.

Play through pain.

Play in pain.

Just keep playing!

Pain is life.

Just keep playing and there is such a great delight, you know, in playing through pain. If you don’t have pain, then playing isn’t as beautiful. If you can smile through tears and in tears, oh what a beautiful smile it is!

Only then, is smile really beautiful.

The lyricist might not even know what he has written and he has written maybe for an entirely different context but his lines make a lot of sense: (speaking in Hindi) Jab dard nahi tha seene mein, kya khaak maza tha jeene mein?(When there was no pain in the heart, there was no joy in living at all)

How will you live without pain?

And if you can embrace pain, then pain is your beloved.

In our case, it is the other way around: our beloved is the pain!

If you don’t turn pain into your beloved, then your punishment will be that your beloved will be the pain. Doesn’t matter whether it is, the beloved or pain; don’t resist!

That’s the way life is meant is to be.

You aren’t born a deity or an angel. You’re born a human being. Kindly lower down your expectation. Be a little grounded and if you can’t be grounded, then watch a moth rushing towards its incarceration in a flame. It is designed to go through that pain, isn’t it?

Ever seen a flame and insects jumping into it from all directions? That’s how they are designed, and you too are designed a human being and Buddha said, ‘The first of four noble truths: That life is suffering’. Life is suffering because not only are you designed to have pain, you’re also designed to resist pain. Now, that’s a double whammy!

Now that’s doubly harmful. You’re designed to both, have pain and resist pain, and that is called suffering.

Have pain, and have a lot of depth in your being.

So much depth that it can take in all the pain.

Keep soaking in pain, keep soaking in pain, and if you can keep soaking in pain, you find that something strange is happening; now you can rejoice because now you’re not really human. Had you been human, you’d have resisted pain. When you don’t resist pain, you’re no more human and if you’re not human, then you’ll not suffer as humans do.

Instead, you’re blessed with delight and delight is not available to the so-called normal human. Why?

Because they’re rushing after delight and how do they run after delight? By trying to avoid or resist pain.

If you resist pain, all you get is suffering.

If you embrace pain, then there is delight.

How is the day?

‘Sir, really painful!’

That’s the way it should be.

So, Rajiv Ji, ‘How’s life?’

‘Purely painful, sir! Purely painful.’

That’s something!


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant: Live through pain, beautifully


(To receive regular updates on WhatsApp regarding wisdom articles by Acharya Ji and to get an opportunity to connect to him directly, click here)

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