Personal

Pain: Moving from Equilibrium to Peace

A friend told me recently he was at peace with a decision he’d made, but I noticed that he continued to revisit that decision and justify why he made it given the slightest opportunity. Each time he gave different reasons why he was right, explored new options, and justified his past choice based on the new analysis.

He was not really at peace.

I noted similar patterns in my own life, and so it is with many things that happen to us all. Loss and unexpected change being two of the biggest. 

What we try to do is to rebalance ourselves from time-to-time so that these troubling events don’t trouble us. We offset the pain with something else – perhaps with alcohol, or drugs, or some other self-medicating behaviour.

We return to the point of the pain, and we adjust, we justify, we argue, we revise the narrative.

But it is a short term fix; we never really are at peace.

We sometimes reach a stable state where we don’t notice the problem. But like a naughty child testing the rules, it returns, requiring further work to settle it down.

It’s like having serious back pain that goes away when we lie still. Just lie still – problem solved.

Peace on the other hand is a different state of mind. It’s a state of acceptance. It is being able to acknowledge the pain and to coexist with it. It no longer requires you to intervene.

You mindfully note the presence of the pain before you move on.

This is a process, it takes time. The start of the journey is seeing that you need to move on. At the end, the pain has no more power to disrupt. It is still part of you, but requires no more attention.  

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