Pain Vs. Happiness

Someone recently sent me an article from Tiny Buddha that inspired me to write this next piece.  I wanted to comment on that article taking from it my perception of both its qualities and its dangers.

It talks about an author named Pema Chodron. Two parts of it that I wanted to pick up and run with.

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.”


“Choose a different thought? Get happy? Practice positive affirmations?

Pema says no—you don’t do any of this. You lean into it. Let it inform you. Stay present. Experience your humanity. Find compassion in the midst of it.

Pema talks about embracing impermanence, about abandoning hope.

You can easily say, “Then what’s the point?”

While I found myself wanting to protest, the truth is, what choice did we have? Wherever we go, there we are.”

My Views on this

Whilst I understand the message in the article and can agree with the benefits of not running away from ‘the pain’, I see that by leaning into the grief, you could end up in complete despair.

I understand that it is not right to turn your back on any bad news or grief.  I feel that one should always acknowledge their emotions.  To ignore your emotions is to stop listening to important messages.  I feel that our emotions are a tool that tell us if we are moving in the right direction.  Happiness, joy and love are emotions of greatness.  When these emotions are being felt, things just feel right, this is our path.  When we feel these, we know we are heading in the right direction.

This, however, is not to say that to feel pain is the wrong path.  The pain is an indicator that needs to be observed and felt.  The pain is telling us we need to change something, or that we have taken a wrong turn and that something needs to be done about it.  Yes, we want to acknowledge this, yes, we want to feel this, but to wallow in it and to abandon hope is very dangerous.  I understand that some ways of thinking say that to appreciate anything you have to first lose everything.   This could have some truth in it, but do we really need to torture ourselves in order to allow us to blossom?

When you feel pain, don’t ignore it, get into it, understand why it is there use the emotion as an indicator and when you feel the answer is there, move towards a better feeling emotion.  You don’t have to switch from grief to happiness, you can simply take one step at a time, grief to sadness is fine, then sadness to melancholy.  Whatever process works for you is fine.  Only move away from the emotion when you feel ready to, don’t suppress it, but don’t allow it to take over.  This is why people suffer from depression, by heading deeper and deeper into the pain.  Instead of being the watcher of the pain, they have allowed the pain to take over.

Be careful when ‘playing’ with emotions, chose wisely from what you feel is right, be mindful in the advice you seek; Pemas’ words, my words, any other friends’ words.  They are just opinions, merely pointers, not instructions.  “Take from it, what you will”

A video you may like to watch – Abraham Hicks

The article I speak of within this text can be found here, written by Sonya Derian (Thanks for the article and the inspiration to write this)


3 thoughts on “Pain Vs. Happiness

  1. I like your suggestions. I’ve learnt that ‘pain is the touchstone of spirituality’, I’ve learnt that through some of my own expensive. I’ve learnt that, like you say, that I need to acknowledge and observe that pain but that I need to take determined positive actions to move away from that pain. As I do move away, I benefit from observing the process, so that if pain returns (as it inevitably does), my path toward peace of mind is clearer. One of the simple, positive actions that reaffirms my spiritual path is sharing this experience with other people. Watching people move away from pain using only what is within them, has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I like your blog. Singh Sohalcorpatel.

  2. Feeling the pain in 3’s is what really hurts. Normally we can manage to suffer problems and pain when there is one thing to contend with at that time. Yes, it would seem to be OK to lean into this and ‘take it on the chin’, but when the pain comes in 3’s it is hard to use the same principle and from experience, there isn’t usually one matter that is causing pain at any given time, there may be many.

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