Seeing Pleasure in Pain

Pain is a sore subject to write about. There are so many variations of it, making it hard to distinguish one type of suffering from another. The categories of pain are numerous and generally easy to identify. There's physical pain, emotional pain, acute pain and chronic pain. Pain ranges from the surface to deep within the soul, but all kinds have one thing in common. There is one immediate goal to those who are suffering from pain. That is the motivation to remove oneself from the agony.

The pain I have today is of the self-inflicted physical type. Recently I chose to repair a lost front tooth from 35 years ago through the process of an implant, and in doing so I had to undergo bone rebuilding though grafting. Easy enough, or so I thought. Add a little bone to what is already there and let my body assimilate the graft to claim it as its own. Then after four to six months, if all goes well the periodontist can drill back into my jaw bone to install a mounted implant for the final phase, the crown. I've always wanted a crown, but somehow this isn't what I had in mind lol.

The body is an amazing manifestation of nerves and other essential parts. And for some reason, invading the undisturbed bone is seen by the body as a major violation. Cutting away of the gums to get to the supporting jaw structure is not taken lightly. I had no idea of the injury that I would incur, and to add insult to injury I annexed my lower teeth with bottom braces to fix everything all at once. So now my mouth is a construction zone. And I'm not even going to mention the cost of it all, which is a different type of pain altogether.

All this suffering got me thinking. Pain tempts us to think that everything is negative, and that the suffering will never end. It clouds our thoughts and blinds us to the miracles that are happening in front of us. There is a often unseen silver lining. Without the sensation of pain, the feeling of pleasure cannot appreciated. And it is these two parts of the coin that cannot be separated. For the intensity of pain that we may experience, so too can we reach the same intensity of pleasure.

In general, in Western society, we are seekers of the opposite of pain: pleasure. We want to have a good time as we seek joyous occasions that are rife in endorphins and sometimes substances to enhance the occasions. We don't strive for plainness and bland. Oh hello no! We want exciting and amazing, and vivid colors and shock factors. But pleasure and pain are two sides of the same quarter just like hot and cold, or science and mysticism These two sides are part of the overall dichotomy of our lives. We cannot have one without the other, and must experience both sides in equal measure at some point in time. Feeling discomfort, in a metaphysical way, means that I am alive. And that is always a good thing.

Today I'm in pain. My mouth feels broken and injured, but I'm finding moments to transcend the physical stress and appreciate all that is good in my life. I know that the hurt will not be permanent. I may not be able to enjoy a meal, but my eyes can still drink in a beautiful sunset, and my skin can still relish the monsoonal humidity of the desert. Things are good, and all is not lost. And if the soreness of healing get too out of control, there's always that bottle of hydrocodone in my lunchbox. :-)

May your day be pleasurable. And if you are in pain, may it be short-lived.