A runner is training for the next competition. He is determined to take the prize. He decides to up his speed in today’s practice of running the mile. As he approaches the three-quarter mark, he feels a sharp pain in his thigh, but continues. He wants to exceed his personal record. Just before he reaches the end, he falls down and clutches his leg in agony. Kokila’s husband Ritesh is abusive to her, but she puts up with the pain. She wants to be strong, but his treatment is too much and after a number of months she cannot contain herself and a huge fight breaks out. Mohan is studying for his finals that will get him into college. He crams from morning to night. After some days he begins to feel a heavy sensation in his head and finds he’s losing his concentration. There’s only a couple days left before the exams and still a lot of material to cover so Mohan forces himself to concentrate. He walks into his first examination and finds his mind has gone blank.
Pain comes and we try to ignore it in order to complete a task, or we take it as a test of our character and we resolve to simply endure the pain. This is certainly better than running away at the first sight of pain. At the same time we can’t just ignore our pain, because pain is often telling us that there is something wrong in our body, in our mind, in a relationship. Pain is giving us the opportunity to take remedial action before serious damage occurs.
Pain is like the warning signals on the dashboard telling us to change the oil or the rattling sound from the engine telling us to take the car in for a check up. When we make pain into a virtue we stop listening and risk reaping the reward of even greater suffering. A stone has the power of endurance. We are more than stones. Virtue demands that we listen and use our intelligence.