Is pain, pain?

Jean Klein used to say that the word ‘pain’ is not the thing ‘pain,’ meaning that the word itself is not the experience of pain. That is the same for anger, love, etc. It is important because rather than actually experiencing the issue, be it pain, anger, etc., we relate to the word and all of the memory associated with the word.

If we feel that there is pain, it is more helpful if we experience the pain directly, immediately, without an intermediary like memory. We allow it to reveal itself without condemning or trying to eliminate it. Where is the location of the pain? What does it actually feel like?

When we do so, we may find that the pain is much smaller and less intense than we thought. At the very least, by experiencing the pain, we will notice that pain is an object in our awareness. It is not that we are in pain but rather pain is in our awareness. This is quite liberating.


This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Order the book Here.


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