I woke up with my body complaining. It felt like every muscle was sore. So, I did a little body scan in my meditation.
The left part of the neck is stiff. The left scapula only hurts if I move it. And the lower back just hurts in every position.
"Ok", I thought, "it could be worst".
So I did as a dear friend taught a few years ago, at the end of a tough day during a pilgrimage.
I breathed into the pain.
I shift my awareness to the part of my body in pain and visualize the fresh air flowing there while breathing in. And the stale air flowing out with the pain while breathing out.
In the meanwhile, a question surfaced in my consciousness.
"Can I endure pain?"
I don't think pain is necessary to learn and grow.
However, pain happens.
When it happens, someone opts for quick relief. Anything to make it go away to go on with their life. Other turns into anger.
In my experience, the ones who learn to endure pain have better chances to learn something valuable about themselves and life that will pay its dividends in the future.
So, while I was thinking about all that and acknowledging my ability to endure pain, my scalp began to itch.
A little itch just above the left ear. And I couldn't resist; I broke out of my meditation pose to scratch the part of the skin that was itching.
Well done for someone who just thought he could endure pain.
When I sat down to write this post, I wanted to find a wise quote about enduring pain. And I found this Chinese proverb saying that "pain is easier to endure than an itch."
Ah, I knew it!
Enduring pain feels like a noble thing to do and say. Something that elevates my spirit. An itch is just annoying.
But is it?
The great Muhammad Ali once said, "it isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."
The little annoying things in life are the ones who wear us out on the journey to greatness.