OK, it was late and I had some rum before I wrote that last post, Pain Loves Me.
But it came to me, and the computer de-hibernated by itself, so I wrote it.
And since I wrote it, I have had to question my relationship with pain.
I don’t have that relationship with suffering. Suffering is a response to discomfort, to pain or disappointment or whatever. Pain and disappointment can really get under your skin and drag you down; I remember wanting euthanasia for toothache (infection) and for frustration, I do.
But I experience joy and exuberance and satisfaction too. I don’t need to suffer, and I need Eros.
I just know that pain is the flip side to Eros, and if I want to feel, I need to feel the range.
And honestly, I’m much more familiar and comfortable with pain than I am with pleasure. Pleasure seems a bridge too far, but well, the intensity of feelings in pain, well, that’s close.
I’ve never been a sadomasochist, never have sought out physical discomfort and pain as some I know. And more people I know like to create physical pain in others, usually as an act of domination.
But then again, I have never had a partner who has wanted to go to the intensity with me, either way. My experience is very inwardly focused, no doubt.
I don’t think my intimate relationship with pain is a problem for me.
I do think that my lack of an intimate relationship with pleasure is a problem for me.
If I only have a relationship with pain, though, I don’t try to clear the pain fast enough. That means I leave things hurting (and decaying), because if I don’t have a relationship with pleasure, I need some kind of intimate sensation in my life, and pain is it. My center becomes pain and the avoidance of pain, rather than including the seeking of pleasure.
Pleasure, well, it baffles me. Pain, though, I understand. I trust pain because it won’t lead me to pain; it is pain. Pleasure, though, opens me up to hope, and the pain of frustrated hopes is a kind of pain that has always tortured me.
To engage pain is to engage the invulnerability of the eternal, knowing that our soul lies beyond the body.
To engage pleasure is to engage the vulnerability of the flesh, knowing that we are here to be open to transcendance.
I get the eternal. The present, well, it comes with more limits, at least for me. The pleasure of human contact, well, it’s not something I ever learned to count on, from my earliest days.
Skin touching skin, heart touching heart?
Well, mind touching mind, and soul touching universe has had to be enough.
And I thank pain for the lessons. Where you stumble, there lies your jewel, as Joseph Campbell said.
But yeah, I do think my lack of an intimate relationship with pleasure is a problem for me.