* * *
People see therapists for the same reason they visit dentists.
Their pain has gotten too bad to ignore.
Many leave after they get the relief they came for.
Some stay to learn something besides.
The lucky ones are changed by what they learn.
* * *
People who see pain as the enemy, I have noted, instinctively respond with vengeance or bitterness — Why me? I don’t deserve this! It’s not fair! — which has the vicious-circle effect of making their pain even worse.
“Think of pain as a speech your body is delivering about a subject of vital importance to you,” I tell my patients.
“From the very first twinge, pause and listen to the pain and, yes, try to be grateful.
“The body is using the language of pain because that’s the most effective way to get your attention.”
I call this approach “befriending” pain: to take what is ordinarily seen as an enemy and to disarm and then welcome it.
~ Paul Brand & Phillip Yancey, The gift of pain: Why we hurt and what we can do about it (1997).
James Joyce has a memorable line: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”
And the way to awake from it is not to be afraid, and to recognize that all of this, as it is, is a manifestation of the horrendous power that is of all creation.
The ends of things are always painful.
But pain is part of there being a world at all.
~ Joseph Campbell, The power of myth (1988).