The Pain Killer Problem
In this day and age we have at our disposal various ways to avoid pain. Pop a pill and the pain is gone! If it isn't just pop another...and another. Not working? Just acquire a more potent weapon to seduce your pain into a drowsy sleep.
But what about the source of the pain? The pain may be asleep, but a numb limb can still be cut and bleed out without a sound. One can easily imagine what would happen to a creature that doesn't feel pain. The tiger has a wound on its paw and naturally, pain brings with it a set of adaptive behaviors. These behaviours are essential so that further damage is not caused and to promote healing. The tiger may limp until the paw is healed and stop hunting for a while and conserve its energy by resting.
When we talk about internal pain, this stage of healing brings about a phase of quiescence; A phase whereby the reduced activity causes one to move inward and feel the pain and possibly understand its source and what to do. If we choose to ignore it and distract ourselves with every conceivable form of entertainment, even if powerful sedatives are avoided, this is still a form of pain-killing. Of course, pain can be so overwhelming that numbing it can help one to carry on and move forward but for long-term healing the source of the pain must be addressed.
If the injured tiger may be so unlucky that a friendly human comes upon it, tranquilises it and medicates it with powerful pain killers, it would find itself waking up from what seemed to be a dream and freely frolicking the grassy plains until something in its paw seriously breaks that there is no healing from. The tiger was sleeping under the human's well-intended dream only to wake up into a real nightmare.
How to avoid this? How to avoid small injuries building an inescapable momentum such that they become so great that facing the pain itself is too painful and the pain itself is an illness of its own? It is learning from pain and making your senses your friend. Without intentionally seeing pain, pain will come to you. There is a natural friction in life; things are always in motion and things are rubbing together. If we look inside the body, this external friction with the multitude of passing events is reflected in the internal state of the living organism. The surest way to deal with pain is to deal with the inescapable friction that being alive brings with it, as it happens.
Some people call it the Pain Body, some call it unresolved emotional trauma, some call it stuck negative energy. Whatever you want to call it, it is something that is stuck inside you and it needs to be let out. In Qigong terms, we simply call this tension. In the course of daily life the body is under different stresses and pressures and because of this the body accumulates tensions not only from physical exertion but also from mental and emotional turmoil. These negative factors manifest themselves as tension, discomfort, pain and if not resolved, some kind of illness may arise. This is why Qigong teaches one to shed tensions from the body and mind. Do this regularly and you will observe how the tension and turmoil melts away and your happy and at-east self can emerge. For his to happen you must face the pain. In this case, we face the tensions that are accumulating in the body daily and thus we can avoid the situation whereby the tiger was naively sprinting under the guise of painless existence before the break of a rude awakening snapped like a scream.
Deal with the little pains that build up bit by bit every day and you can avoid the bigger pains that will demand to be heard if the little ones are ignored!