Introspections & Retrospections

OverThoughts: Being Mindful of Pain

[Written at 1AM something, 12 October 2015]

This is the curse of my mind— this mind who people see as beautiful, wonderful, creative, genius. This mind that runs a hundred, a thousand thoughts in a single bound, that explores both the crushing darkness as well as the compelling light. This mind that speaks with numerous voices, conjuring spectres each with their own personas and angsts.

This is my mind— which borders both on anxiety and insanity. For though I worry a lot of things beyond my control, I am hopelessly driven mad by the sheer possibility of what I could have done instead. The countless consequences and inconsequences of both my actions and inactions, the exponential reverberations of what I both have said and failed to say. 

This is my mind: a hollow shell of intellect, fragile and stubborn. A mind that can spar with sharpest of wits, yet a mind so gullible as a child. They say that a wise man knows that he knows nothing— and here I am wondering how I can learn everything about nothingness. This emptiness. What’s the point of having full knowledge, having a stellar brain shining brightly under the noontime desert sun? Whoever said ignorance is bliss was truly smart, and those who never came across the phrase I found more envious.

To know is to experience pain. Pain: the ancient teacher, the timeless philosopher, the immovable monster— that technology and civilization has attempted yet failed to overcome. Yes, pain that transcends our skin and flesh and bones. All our medical advances are but an illusion, a veil to simply hide the tracks the beast leaves behind as it devours about our humanity. However, this very creature called pain is one of the sole reasons why our humanity survives. Like forgotten tribes united against an unseen threat, this shared pain has allowed us to congregate, to share, to care, to empathize with fellow sufferers.

Yet, sometimes pain resides and infects our very souls— this intangible essence of our existence. I sometimes wonder if souls communicate through pain as much as it communicates through love— though love and pain are oft two sides of the same coin. For we love with the desires we are able to enjoy, and ache with the desires we frustrate ourselves with. Should pain be alien to our nature? Since when has pain become an antagonist, an enemy? We have come to believe that pain is abhorrent, undesirable— and rightly so. Who in their right mind should desire pain? But if there is anything in us that tends to bring us most harm— would it be not love? Love that disregards the warnings of pain. Love that scorns our emotional defenses, allowing our vulnerabilities to show. Love that stubbornly pushes onwards, even at the cost of imperiling our very selves. Ah, but that’s how the world goes: we celebrate and honor our tyrants, and paint an evil memory of our very protectors.

Yet I, for the love of love and all things lovely, do not hate love at all.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself and my fellow men, is that we often speak truest and purest when we are in pain— including the pain of being in love. Oh, those who love surely speak truly and purely as far as love may go; extracting clean drinking water from a ditch may actually be far easier than extracting gold. Beautiful words of love abound, but beautiful words of pain are a rarity— precious, if only people can truly learn to appreciate their worth.

This is the curse of my mind— flawed, broken, and often dysfunctional. A mind that rambles on in the night while nobody’s listening, and fumbles on through the day even when nobody spares a thought. Yet this is what God has blessed me with, my personal burden, my cross, my very own pride and shame— this cursed mind, with which I try to give Him glory despite the incessant throbbing pains, and with my fallen words, hope to build a pile high enough for my moundful of faith.

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