Pain also has the terrifying characteristic of making us imagine that it will last forever. We can’t imagine how or when the terrible feeling might stop because we feel incapable of stopping it ourselves, nor see the conditions under which it might do so itself. It feels unbearable even for another second, let alone the rest of our lives. We surrender to our fear. It’s as if we have been fundamentally broken and can never be made whole again. The world has become a suddenly terrifying and dangerous place, and the sun will shine on us no more, ever. The commiseration and assurance of those who (still) love us – that time heals all wounds blah, blah, blah – is cold comfort indeed. We don’t believe it, and sink further into morass and desperation, and thus complicate the course and extend the duration of our acute agony, our distress, and our pain.
But everything will be OK, it’s true. Eventually. Our difficulty, our primary obstacle, is in seeing it in those moments when we need to the most. Prostrate and paralysed, we might have little recourse to the physical or emotional action that is required to deliver ourselves to safety. Incredibly, though, our intellectual faculties remain intact and can be directed to good purpose. If we can learn to change our perception of the situation we are in and align ourselves to a radically different sense of principles, that insight becomes a powerful tool that can change our lives in a remarkable way. It can heal not only our wounds, but the scars which are the true burden that we carry through life.