If I was to do the math, I’m pretty sure that this would be the most-frequent question I’ve received over the entirety of my career:
“How can I handle both physical and emotional pain, or suffering, with more ease?”
In fact, sometimes this question is framed within the context of mental toughness. Such as, “Why are some people so gritty, durable, or tough?”
In my experience, though, sifting through materialistic ideas like “grittiness” or “toughness” clouds the answer. Toughness brings fleeting benefit at best. And trying to will oneself through pain, if it were possible, is not the least bit easy.
What, then, lies at the heart of resilience?
Resilience is the effect of a deep knowing that pain, rather than being located within the body (or separate self), is nothing more than a transient modulation within the true Self or the infinite space we call Consciousness.
This is why, for instance, animals handle injury or bumps and bruises with ease. They don’t identify themselves as the body—how would they know to do that? Pain appears, for sure. But it’s not personalized. Pain belongs to the whole (Consciousness), and is then fluently absorbed into the whole. Plus, Consciousness has no problem with pain. Consciousness knows all things that modulate or appear within it, including injury or physical and emotional pain, as itself.
The bottom line is that those who believe that the true Self is equivalent to the body, or that who they are is the body, will grab onto pain, feel pain, own pain, complain about pain, be influenced by pain, suffer with pain, and, ultimately, attempt to will themselves through pain. Mental-toughness techniques, substances, distractions, constant visits to gurus or experts, even Zen-type practices such as yoga or meditation are the most common of vehicles.
And while this article is not meant to suggest that the experience of pain, suffering, injury, and sickness are not real, or that attempts to treat sickness are foolhardy, it does provide an uncommon direction regarding the heart of resilience.
That is, from the perspective of Consciousness, there’s nothing to treat. Whether emotional or physical, pain need not be conquered. The heart of resilience is the knowing of our own Being. That we are one with whatever appears within, and no matter what appears, we are perpetually well.