Difference between pain and suffering


There is an important difference between pain and suffering. The anxiety holds much suffering, and more than real pain is an imaginary pain, suffering is made with the mind, fanciful, about how bad can happen.

If we are able to face pain when life hits us or difficult things happen to us, learning to hold it and go through it in order to transcend it, it will not turn into suffering.

Next, we will explain the difference between the two concepts:

The pain

Pain is silent, deep (especially in losses), it is healthy to live it without avoiding it, it is part of the process of life, of flowing, growing, maturing, and integrating. If we integrate what happens to us that causes pain, we are saying YES to life with what it brings, with acceptance, we can move on and the experience, no matter how hard it was, makes me learn.

Pain is a normal signal to the body that something needs to be checked. If it is punctual, it fulfills a protective function, with some symptom that allows us to see what the dysfunction is, such as the signal before a blow, an injury, which causes our defenses to react and activate the mechanisms to heal ourselves.

If it is continuous and chronic, it warns us that we must take better care of ourselves, change something, investigate more thoroughly.

The suffering

Suffering is mental, noisy, with a heavy load of harmful messages. With it we cling, we fight, we want to control, we become attached, we say NO to life, to loss, to change, and in that way we get exhausted, we get sick, and we get depressed and generate phobias like venustraphobia, Spectrophobia, etc..

We do not continue living, we continue to be installed in the struggle, in the non-acceptance of what is there, in the excuse of what has happened to me, to boycott me and not be happy. We stagnate, we don’t learn, and we don’t flow with life and what happens. Suffering is full of damaging mental dialogue against oneself and others, it is full of judgments, rancor, reproaches, and an effort to want to change what was.

In order not to suffer and worry about everything, we must let go. Maturity in life requires letting go of things, people, experiences. Don’t get too attached.

Zen reflection and tale

As a Zen tale says, empty the cup so it can be filled with new things:

“Grand Master,” said the disciple, I have come very far to learn from you. For years I have studied with the best teachers in the world, and they have all left a lot of wisdom in me. Now I believe that you are the only one who can fulfill my search and teach me what I am missing.

The sage told the disciple that he would be happy to show him what he was missing but to have a cup of tea first.

The Master took some cups and a teapot and began to pour tea to the student, continued talking, and poured tea and more tea into the cup

until the tea fell on the plate and on the floor.

The student said: Teacher, teacher, I don’t understand, there is no more tea, stop pouring tea into my cup. Don’t you see that it’s already full?

And then the Master said to the disciple:

Until you are able to empty your cup, you will not be able to put any more tea in it. ”

We cling to the idea of permanence and dependency … “I can’t live without him” … “Together forever”, “I just can’t.”

We want to control destiny, life, what we possess, and it is an impossible task. We lack the acceptance of change, of the dynamics of life.

“Life is bigger than us” (Joan Garriga, in his book “Vivir en el Alma”).


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