Paths of Inknowing – Pain

Deep knowledge of one’s self can come through either great pleasure or great pain.

Even while writing the words above I knew they would sound like one of those fucking mindless platitudes that could be embroidered on a sampler and hung on the powder room wall.  But, no matter how I denigrate the statement, the truth of it remains – we don’t really have as much insight into the workings of ourselves until something either goes incredibly wrong or incredibly right.

I’ve written about orgasm as a method of inknowing (to borrow a term from Marge Piercy) in another post, and I may touch on it again in the future but for some reason my mind is stuck on the concept of pain and not the good kind I’m sure you’re expecting me to write about.  I’m thinking about slamming-your-finger-in-the-car-door pain, ache-in-your-lower-back-so-you-cannot-move pain, throbbing-burning-of-an-open-wound pain, itch-that-is-scratched-even-while-the-scratching-makes-you-scream pain, and especially excruciating-little-man-with-jackhammer-inside-your-sinus-cavity pain.

I hate the little sinus man.  I hate him, and his friends, and his relatives and I hope that they die in a fire of DOOM.  He spent all of Sunday in the sinus cavity under my left eye and I think he bought a new jackhammer.  After two antihistamines (both 24 hour), two decongestants, finding out I was out of my prescription nasal spray and some general whining and bitching, I ended up taking an anti-inflammatory.  Thereafter, I knew bliss and in that bliss I discovered that I could actually feel the size of the missing pain and the cavity from which it was evicted.  Even now, as I write this, I can perfectly picture  the empty calm space inside my face.

(No, the rhyme was not intentional.)

The fact that I can now recognize the lack of pain is giving me a new way of looking at my body…which leads me to wondering if this happens to other people too and, if so, it is a Thing?  Is it useful?

I’m looking for input/feedback on this one.

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5 responses to “Paths of Inknowing – Pain

  1. I think it could be something. But I think we have to be reintroduced to said pain to keep it in perspective. It’s like my stomach. I lived in pain for about 2 years before I figured out what was going on. And after a few weeks on the diet, I questioned if I really had figured out what was wrong with me. I mean, I still had pain, but I wasn’t sure that it was really *less* pain. Until I messed up and ate the wrong thing. Now I know I had figured it out. Many times, we forget how much it hurts, until we slam our finger in the car door again (so to say). Does this have a place? Can this teach us something? Possibly. I find that extreme pain causes my body to release huge amounts of endorphins that will essentially make me high for a time (this is usually with migraines and sinus problems). That highness has led to some weird ass visions and ideas before. However, I don’t think all pain is useful. I’ve lived with long term injuries that hurt on a daily basis. All that pain succeeded in doing was eat at my sleep and my mood. Not doing me or the people around me a whole lot of good 😛

    OKAY! Done rambling for now!

  2. As another long term injury sufferer not all pain is useful… my little sinus man isn’t very useful either because well… He hates me anywhere. My migraines (totally different kind of pain but still in the head) are useful. When I used to paint regularly, I think they really inspired me. I’m one of the “lucky” people who gets visual distortions and sees the aura before a migraine attack. So in that way it’s useful though – I think the most useful aspect of it was learning to listen to my body and especially my monthly cycle.
    I guess I find emotional pain more useful though and physical pain only sometimes useful. I mean, I have some aliments I just can’t do anything about like arthritis in my fingers. I have some joint pain issues that I can go to physical therapy and exercise etc. and I KNOW losing weight would help it. Will the constant pain in my leg and ankle make me more or less likely to lose the weight though? Probably less – it’s hard to get on track with an exercise regime when you are constantly in pain.

  3. I’m…not actually sure what it’s like to not have pain somewhere in my body, so I don’t know. In fact, I think I’ve only really had one pain-free time, and that was five years ago at Witchcamp. I woke up one morning and I had no pain, and it was incredible. I don’t remember what it was like, exactly, but I remember it was incredible. It was my first pain-free day in…oh, almost a decade.

    So perhaps it is a Thing? I just would have trouble seeing it, as, well, when one pain goes away I start to focus on the other one that’s there. There’s no real absence of pain, for me, so.

    Maybe I can try this next time I stub my toe or something.

  4. I also have a condition that can cause a neural misfiring (I guess) that will sometimes send pain shooting all over my body without warning. As much as I would like to find some kind of reason for it, something I should do other than take otc meds to feel better, at some point, I shut my head down, take the meds and stop pondering in pain. A neurosurgeon I saw about the issue said, “You are not normal, Okay? There is going to be some pain for you.” And added that it was unlikely the brain surgery would cure it the way some websites had boasted. He said to use otc meds to treat the any and varied symptoms and get scrips if it got worse, and that I should seek the surgery only if it kept me from working. So I take his word for it and treat the pain when it gets too much.

    I do feel like lack of pain does help me to understand the different kinds of pain better though. And that adds to my ability to feel compassion. For work with many other people, that has come in handy. It allows me to give at least a modicum of peace because I do understand and I don’t push when pushing would hurt more. So in that sense, it is extremely useful to have experienced as many kinds of pain as I can. Spiritually, it is not like healing, but more like idk, loving. It allows me to give and have accepted a love. That transaction I think is important in the big picture type of way.

    Little f***ing jackhammer dude is visiting my house right now. I actually do feel your previous pain!

  5. I think if it’s random, then it’s useful because you’re not living in fear of it and are able to appreciate when it’s gone (much like general misfortune in life). But if it’s recurring and predictable, then it’s pain all the time– it’s the physical pain, and then it’s the mental pain of knowing the inevitable. That is more akin to being in a crappy life situation with little hope of escape due to systemic reasons, and there is usually no joy to be found in that cycle.

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