Wisdom Arises Through Understanding

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who Is In Pain ?

 I was attending a workshop on Sunday and it was also the day I started rice fasting. Before going home,  I went to visit my mom carrying my rice pot along. I told my mom and Atun that I'll be fasting for 16 days on rice. They asked me if its just rice and I said Yes...... I could see them wince and pull a face. They started to say "Poor you" and asked me why I was doing it and why I was torturing myself. Though I told them my reason, they still looked sceptical.

I find it rather funny because its me who is doing the fasting not them but clearly they are feeling a certain feeling of pain about it. Strangely, I do not have any feelings of pain around doing this fasting (at least not on the first day). Seeing their reaction, I realised that we never do feel others pain. When someone is suffering and describe the suffering to me, what is happening in me is my own perception and idea about the suffering the person is experiencing. I will not be able to feel the other person's pain actually but I'm feeling my perception of the type of pain the person is experience. Which may be totally off the mark just like in my case.

I observed that if I am experiencing something totally new and I'm not sure how to respond to it, I could do three things :
1. I will ask for others opinion or observe others behavior in similar situation and hence I can buy their perception to be my own and now my response will be based on this newly purchased perception. So, in my case if I was to buy into my mom's perception that fasting is a torture, then I'll start to see myself as a "poor thing"

2. In another scenario, I may ask a few people and sort of window shop for differing perception and then I may end up not buying or buying into one of the perceptions or form a synthesized perception.

3. Just think on my own and create a perception based on any closest past experience.

Whatever method I gain a perception, its still a perception and I will always be operating from a perception in whatever I do and in whatever interaction. Interestingly, this means that I would not be able to really show compassion to others. Byron Katie mentioned " What does compassion look like ? At a funeral, just eat the cake. You don't have to know what to do. Its revealed to you. Someone comes into your arms, and the kind words speak themselves; you are not doing it. Compassion is not a doing"

So being mindful of the thoughts and actions that is going on is important because it will be an indicator of the perception that is behind it.


  1. How true, each moment in time, we are just playing with ourselves - as if there is anything else to do!

  2. True True.... there is no one out there :)