Choosing Pain and Mortality
15 March 2014
Lately I’ve been feeling a quandary about experiencing pain. Is it a choice we make?
I’m aging, I can accept that: it’s pretty undeniable when your body clearly changes, showing signs of wear and increase. I can also accept that aging might be alright… Except in my case, it seems to hurt.
No need for detail on that here, because the point of this post is to explore a decision that seems to be facing me.
Over the past few years, I’ve visited a few conventional Western medical doctors out of curiosity, to learn what they can tell me about any causes of the pain from their point of view. Not much news, aside from of course hearing once again that I need to lose weight, get more exercise, and eat foods that doctors believe help lower cholesterol. Seems simple enough.
The dilemma is that when I do these things, I feel worse and it hurts. A lot.
Again, I’ll spare you the detail. The choice looms between following conventional recommendations that might prolong my life, or continuing with approaches arising from intuition and my Guides.
If I follow the first, I can pat myself on the back for “doing everything I can” in the eyes of others, and learn to enjoy hardly being able to move when I wake each morning, continuing to creak throughout the day. Day to day life becomes what… a quality of [large] enduring?
If I follow the intuition and inner guidance, I go back to eating the cholesterol-laden red meat and rich cheese (along with all the wonderfully “healthy” things I eat), and drinking alcohol. I know, sounds crazy, but after a couple years of experimentation, these keep the pain at bay sufficiently for me to manage the exercise part without much complaint.
I feel the spectre of “family responsibility” hovering over me like a magpie waiting to peck at my head if I don’t do what others expect.
My gut tells me that’s no reason to hobble along a path that’s just, well, longer. Not necessarily better. Hmm.
On the other hand, if I continue to follow my gut, I might not be here in ten years. Or sooner (which, come to think of it, is of course true for all of us anyway…).
I have no fear of death. I love my family. So… and but… why choose pain? Why choose pain (or any debilitating discomfort, including emotional) for a still uncertain outcome or lifespan?
Why choose any route that’s torturous just because that’s what others do, or it’s accepted?
I’m sure many folks have found themselves in this spot and worked through it, whether for them it was about life-partner and gender choices or religion or politics or career… But I admit I never thought of it as being willing to choose a possibly more rapidly approaching death, over pain.
Something happened this week that drove this home for me and brought these words to the surface. I received, online, some lab results from some bloodwork, and for 36 hours I thought I had Chronic Kidney Disease and perhaps 10 years to live. Fortunately, it turned out that I read one of the numbers wrong (folks with numerical dyslexia really shouldn’t read lab results alone…). But what floored me was that I was okay with thinking “Wow, this really might end before I’m in my 90’s. What a relief.”
No, I’m not suicidal, and my depression is soundly in remission. I don’t hate life. I’m okay. Again, I love my family.
The results of my meditation experiences have brought me to this place of irony: Once we understand that this one lifetime is but a moment in an eternity of experience, and our families in this life are our friends and lovers and enemies in other lives, and that we will certainly see them again soon, death takes on a whole new significance. It becomes not the end. This is what I have seen, what I know and feel in my bones, more deeply than anything else I know.
What I have seen directly contradicts what’s generally accepted by the culture I live in. And it offers me more freedom to choose how to follow the path I’m on. I know this path will continue into my next life, just as it currently continues into my other lives. And I will never be lost. I think that’s totally cool.
So the choice seems simple, actually.
I reflect that in the past ten years I’ve made similar choices about other decisions, but they were all somehow different, perhaps leading up to this one. And this one probably leads to another.
So here we go, you and I, in this dream together. I’m going to take the path that resonates with my deepest being, and enjoy my time here to the fullest. I’m happy you’ve joined me for the moment, and I look forward to continuing this manifestation as long as we can.
Who knows what delights and lessons our next encounter may bring.