I first learnt about The Pain Equation a few years ago when I read Shinzen Young’s book ‘Break Through Pain‘ and I recently re-read it which made me realise what a great peace of advice it is (I know it should be piece, however I want to keep this happy accident.:-). Then a couple of days after rediscovering The Pain Equation it popped up again in the April 2015 edition of Mindful Magazine. It was embedded in an article called “Trapped In the box We call PAIN”. This was too much of a coincidence not to write a quick blog post about it.What is The Pain Equation and how can it help with pain? Simply put it states that suffering is equal to Pain times Resistance ( S=PxR ). It also helps prove Haruki Murakami quote that suffering is indeed optional. To suffer we need to 2 things; Pain and Resistance. As the quote so nicely shares ‘Pain is inevitable’ but suffering and as we are about to find out resistance is indeed optional.
So lets say we don’t resist the pain and just accept the discomfort, meaning the resistance is low or even at zero. What would our amount of suffering be? According to The Pain Equation zero as well. Even if the pain is 100 the suffering will be zero, leaving us with just the sensation of discomfort to deal with. There are many mind body and medical techniques we can use to deal with just the pain and discomfort.
What I really like about this Pain Equation is that it clearly demonstrates how we can gain control over our pain and suffering. Most of the suffering of our pain comes from the story, expectations and worries we have about how it is going to effect us in the future or what is was like last time we had it. If we just accepted the pain as part of where we are in this moment in time we can build a better future for ourselves.
Resisting something we don’t want seems to make sense, however the problem with this is that we tense up and don’t allow for things to flow. An example I was once shown was to hold on to a £1 coin tightly in each of my clenched hands and not to let go of it or open my hand. The person then offered me a £10 note, but because I was holding the £1 coins so tightly I was not open for anything else to come my way. I had stopped the flow. When we accept the discomfort we have in that moment it opens us up to possibilities and creates a foundation for us to build the rest of our life from. Just by not resisting but accepting.Flowing with everything exactly as it is in the moment frees the discomfort to be felt and leave the body. The saying that ‘a feeling only has one purpose and that is to be felt’ rings true here. If we resist and do not allow the feeling to be expressed it will sit inside us and, in my opinion, manifest into illness or something else until it is has been felt though to the end. Resisting pain, as the equation and this quote suggests would cause suffering, however we now know that accepting and feeling a feeling through to the end is a great way we can gain more control over our discomfort and life.
I hope you have found the pain equation as interesting I have each time I read it. Please do let me know how you get on if you try it out.