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Pain is usually not a constant, but a process with its own rhythms and fluxing intensities.  And if one does not harden the pain into the idea of a fixed thing that is an enemy, if one does not try to escape pain, then the pain may actually lessen (because, to take a simple example, the body is not tensed and braced against it). There are a number of meditative responses to pain. One is to focus on something else, like the breath. But, for example, in sitting for long periods, pain in the (folded) legs or back can be so intense that focusing elsewhere is not really possible: the pain calls you. Then one way is through mindfulness, carefully focusing on the pain, watching its rhythms and fluxing intensities. Placing oneself in the neutral role of calm ‘watcher’, one is less likely to be reactive, less likely to be carried away by thoughts and feelings of the need to escape. Calmed in this way, pain can be made more manageable. Another related way is to meditatively scan the body, going from head to foot, slowly focusing on different sections all the way down (and back up). This has the advantage of ‘putting pain in its place’, pain no longer the sole focus, but the scanner only coming to it in the order of the scan, and only for a limited time (one may spend more time with the pain, but one must soon go on with the scan). Learning to focus on other sensations and feelings discounts the centrality of the pain. In any case, this paradigm yields an understanding that pain is not a object-thing but a kind of dream – one way of perceptually organizing reality among the many available. And what one may then come to is the falling away of all varieties of perceptually organizing reality so that there are no longer any conceptual discriminations, no longer subject and object, just (to give it a provisional name) a unified energy field. There is no pain here. Some people fall in and out of this by accident. A few have the ability to turn the ‘absolute’ and the ‘relative’ on and off ‘at will’. Q: Is the absolute (nondiscrimination) simply another perceptual standpoint? Some traditions would say it is, that, subtly, self remains, that this absolute too must fall away, yielding just what phenomena come – joy, laughter, pain – creatively lived. Then joy, laughter and pain – each each on their occasion fully enact and express all without discrimination. Then pain, just as it is, is no pain.


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