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John Taylor

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[Sep. 1st, 2007|12:46 am]
John Taylor
[mood |Frosty reverie]
[music |Brian Tyler - Inama Nushif]

The nature of pain...an interesting subject. I've experienced all kinds of pain, in all manner of contexts. I've run so hard that I've coughed blood and my muscles and body turned to fire. I've been beaten down emotionally, beaten down physically, I've broken limbs, I've suffered crushing defeats and embarrassing humiliations. I've had all of my trusts shattered, I've been pained financially, spiritually. I've pushed myself to the point of collapse and beyond, just to accomplish something. I've endured pains of all sizes and types. Yet I've come through all of them; some diminish with time, and some stab as fresh and brightly as the first moment at which they were inflicted.

Running was the first hint to me that pain was really a tool, a self-analysis. The discipline of running, specifically the discipline that I lacked, made running unbearable initially. But I stuck with it, I dealt with the pain, I learned to control the pain, to outrun the pain. Eventually, the pain becomes the greatest sensation in the world as you feel it moving you and goading you on; the body compensates, adjusts, acclimates to this new realm of being in pain.

Systema brought me a new understanding of pain as a far more fluid sensation. One moment could be excruciating agony and the next could be painless; one moment could be painless, but the quiet before the storm of a wave of pain enough to make me cry. The pains became subtle and I discovered the gradients within. The things that hurt the worst might not do the most damage to the human body, though you wouldn't know it unless you've been there. Pain is deceptive and it becomes truly *necessary* to look deeper or beyond the pain to understand the nature behind it, to understand the *intent* behind it. On a very physical level, one deals with pain before it actually harms the body or digs its way deeper into the emotional level or into the psyche. Pain became an abstraction. Pain also became something tangible enough to manipulate directly.

Looking back, I realize that I've carried a lot of pain with me my whole life - this fact is true of all people. Pain becomes a part of us and something we come to expect from life. We all suffer. Some people hide their pain away and never set it free to work its changes within their lives, and these people become trapped by the things they've endured. As I've learned how to handle pain and how to be changed by it, I find that I become more and more ready to deal with all of the issues in my life up to the present, from the nightmare that middle school was for me, to the constant moving as a child, to the harsh treatments I had from my family, to the deaths of family and friends, and so on down to the first time I've ever been hurt. To reflect in this was is to open yourself up to the pain of change - but like a skinned knee healed over, there's always grit in the wound unless you clean it dutifully.

Discipline is a source of pain - if the adage is true that pain is weakness leaving the _______ [body/mind/heart/soul], then discipline is a constant source of pain as the weakness is driven out. Tasks become easier as you discipline yourself towards an end - the pain lessens, disappears, or simply becomes more subdued than it appears for the undisciplined.

But most people *lack* discipline, in all manners of the word. Physical discipline, mental discipline, emotional discipline, social discipline and so on. I've disciplined in many ways, but am completely undisciplined in many others. On the whole, I have a greater discipline than most - I trained myself not to conform for the sake of acceptance, of generally not compromising my morals, I was physically more disciplined than a lot of people through my conditioning and willingness to push myself, and so on. My pains have been greater than many I know (but never greater than everyones'). If you complain of how much you hurt, I'm going to agree that it hurts and tell you to keep moving. I've endured pain and come to an agreement with it. This understanding can be shared with others.

Pain is a means to an end; if you focus entirely upon the pain of the moment, you lose sight entirely of the fact that you're in a situation for a reason and that pain is the focal point by which you shall become stronger. The misbehaving child being spanked doesn't understand the discipline or the lesson, merely the pain. It takes a decision, a discipline of another kind to wade through that pain to learn the lesson intended. Ultimately, pain is a catalyst for change. That most people would shy away from pain is a clue to their natures.

Why don't you do such and such?
Because it hurts.

Yes, but that's the point.
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Comments:
From: nueva_estrella
2007-09-01 09:35 pm (UTC)
We all process in our own way. We do what works for us and you can't fault people for being individual.

BTW, I just met your room mate; she seems friendly.
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[User Picture]From: lipox_1
2007-09-02 05:27 am (UTC)
Welcome back, Magister Ludi! Thoughtful posts, as always!

I'll admit that I often run away from pain. Take physical exercise, for instance: When I'm out in the forest cutting up a tree, initially I am overwhelmed by how hot/cold it is, how hungry I am, how much the wood weighs. I feel like giving up. But then, a certain point is reached where I realize I'm covered in sweat and dirt. Once I'm dirty, once I'm into it, I'm into it till the end.

Where I fail the worst is with women: Front-loading emotional investment and then having all my expectations unrealized, like sand castles in the waves, getting totally ruined in the process. In these situations, I wonder if it is better not to open up the door to pain... at least not initially. For what is gained through the intense experience of pain? It's more a loss: A loss of self-respect, a loss of independence, a loss of ambition. A gain of depression and disgust. That's pointless.

Speaking of discipline, that's one thing I'd like to get back when I move to Davis: My executive faculty. My executive faculty (the ability to focus on just one thing, not obsessively, but productively) reached its maximum halfway through 10th grade. Since then, it has suffered at the hands of two great onslaughts of depression (Jan 2002 and Sept 2003). I'd love to get my focus back. A PhD program is a great place to start!
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-04 07:59 am (UTC)

Giggle girl

Wow a new post!
It was just what I needed tonight as I lay in bed not sleeping. Pain can be overwhelming and all consuming in a way that is unhealthy. Or pain can be accepted as a normal part of life that does certainly bring change or even come from change to bring more change in a life-enhancing way. I have a tendancy to allow pain to do the first to me. I don't like it. I prefer happy, easiness with an avoidance of change. Pain also brings with it the fear of the new. Who would seriously choose that? I only would do so with the logic of present pain being necessary to avoid much worse pain in the future. However, pain is starting to make more sense to me as a part of life. Only with pain have I ever experienced true personal growth. Maybe some personal growth can be achieved through trying a new path that you are afraid of. But, the best growth certainly occurs during times of pain in my experience. So, I would say pain is certainly necessary to life. However, I still don't like it! I probably create more pain with my imagination than life normally chooses to throw at me though. Why is that? Why do we choose to cause our selves more pain? For growth? For protection? I honestly do not know. Thanks for posting. I miss your life insights and hope that more will be coming in the not too far future.
On a random note, I have never been able to completely stick through the pain of running. I hate it with a passion. This probably makes me a wuss at life :)
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