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Step two: Separate the pain from you

Note: Part One can be found at the Personal Development – The teachings of the Urban Monk website.

Once you separate your pain from the injury, the next step is to separate your self from the pain, and therefore your reaction. Often your reaction is well within your control once you see it from this different standpoint.

Let?s say my opponent hits me in the liver, and it nearly folds me in half; it affects my breathing and it hurts to move. If I am identified with the pain, the reaction will be much worse. I might quit, I might run.

But if I see the pain as something that happens ? just a bodily sensation, like any other, then I have far greater control over my reaction. It is vital to see it as something that is in you, but not you. ?Pain shoots over my body? is different from ?pain shooting over me?.

So the key is to accept the injury, accept that it hurts, but know that you can control how you react to it, most of the time. (If you?re knocked out or your body is paralysed, then well, there?s nothing you can do.)

Note: If the injury is serious ? get to a hospital, don?t play macho man. I?m talking non-life threatening injuries here.

Step two for emotional pain

How about emotional pain? Going back to ?getting fired? example. Recognize that you now have to find another job. Start taking action, update your resume. Cut back on your spending until you get another source of income. You might feel sad, feel like a failure, or feel the fear of not being able to provide for your family. Recognising that is separate from you will make it much more manageable.

Now if it?s the first time it happens then it is forgivable to overreact to it. The first time I was punched in the liver, it was a whole new sensation and I didn?t know how to handle it. I lost all the fight in me ? I dropped to the canvas and struggled to breathe like beached whale. The first time I screwed up on the job in my teens I was upset by it as well.

Beyond the first couple of times, however, your reaction is just a conditioned habit ? and habits can be broken.

Observing and acknowledging it is central in various spiritual teachings ? there are a few articles in the Emotional Mastery at the Urban Monk website that deal with this.


This can be hard to explain in words; my suggestion would be to keep this in mind, and then next time it happens, just know that it is not you. This can be hard, especially if it is intense, but it?s just a matter of experience.

Here?s a tip: Imagine you are playing a video game. Your character takes a massive hit; you lose half of your life bar. You acknowledge it, and decide to take a more cautious approach ? another wrong move and it?s game over. Most gamers won?t get depressed, cry, or quit playing the game simply because they?ve got half their vitality points left.

Resisting or fearing the pain makes it worse

Here?s a little tip; the more you fear it, the more it hurts. Try accepting the fear. Accept that life has its ups and downs. In combat sports, or martial arts, accept you will get hit ? even defensive masters will get hit.

If you resist the pain, you add to it. If you are afraid of the pain it hurts more. Accept the pain, and suddenly, this article will make sense ? it?s just something inside you, rather then some bad, fearful thing that happens to you.

More on fear

The more you fear something, the more you focus on it, and the more likely it is to happen. You hit what you aim for, isn?t that a universal truth? When you using a pistol for example, do you look at the tree and think ?I hope I don?t hit it??

If, after you lose your job, your thoughts are occupied with fear, and lack of money / security, what are you aiming for? If, in sparring, you are worried about losing, what are you inviting? There is much talk of the law of attraction / The Secret nowadays, but much it is just common sense, not mystical or mysterious.

How about pleasure?

While it might make sense to separate yourself from pain, what about pleasurable sensations? What will happen if you separate yourself from that? Contrary to logic, this practice can actually increase the pleasure.

More on this on the Urban Monk website.

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