If it were not for the physical sensations we feel, how much do you think our thoughts and emotions would affect us?
I recently watched a TV special about a little girl born with congenital analgesia. Congenital analgesia is actually a rare genetic disorder which prevents a person from sensing or feeling physical pain. It immediately occurred to me that many people might view this as a gift, never having to feel pain. But I also immediately became aware that without pain we are missing out on so very much. Without physical pain, we would not learn how to take care of ourselves or avoid danger.
Ands in some cases, pain is actually processed by the brain as pleasure. For example when you eat spicy foods, your endorphins kick in and give you a euphoric feeling.
Physical sensations and pain are very integral to our existence, and I honestly could not imagine living without them.
When we experience mental suffering; anguish, despair, fear, anger, rage and sadness, these are all actually linked to our physical body. Just observe how your body reacts when you experience any of these emotions. Shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, headaches and more. Who of us has ever experienced disturbing emotions without experiencing the accompanying physical sensations?
All of this might beg the question, “if I control the mind, can I control the body?”. Or perhaps the opposite is possible, where by controlling the body one could eliminate the mental suffering.
Do you think either scenario is true or even possible, and would you want it to be?
My view on this is that neither is possible, or even desirable.
The old saying of “no pain, no gain” comes to mind here. Why would you want to eliminate pain and suffering when in fact it is a great source of joy and wisdom. Without it, we would be like emotionless robots stumbling through our lives. Why even bother living if we cannot feel and appreciate the physical and emotional pains that comes with living a full life.
My view on all of this is one of accepting the experience and becoming more aware of the mind/body connection. There is not one without the other.
But if we can learn to accept, even welcome these things, we can live joyfully and abundantly. No need to create stories to go along with your difficulties, simply observe and accept them. Learn from them, and be grateful for the experience.
One day we will all cease to experience our minds and our bodies. These moments are precious and invigorating!
Perhaps next time you stub your toe, you can think “Ouch, my toe hurts! How wonderful that I have a toe and can feel this sensation!”.
Let me know how it works for you. :)
May you be well, happy and peaceful.