Few experiences in life are more universal than pain, which flows like lava beneath the crust of daily life. For goo and for ill, the human species has among its privileges the preeminence of pain. We have the unique ability to step outside ourselves and self-reflect, by reading a book about pain, for example, or by summoning up the memory of a terrifying ordeal. Some pains—the pain of grief or emotional trauma—have no physical stimulus whatever; they are states of mind, concocted by the alchemy of the brain. Theses feats of consciousness make it possible for suffering to loiter in the mind long after the body’s need for it passed. Yes they also give us the potential to attain an outlook that will change the very landscape of the again experience. We can learn to cope, an even to triumph.
“Pain is not evil unless it conquers us.”—Charles Kingsley
“When one is in very great pain and fear, it is extremely difficult to pray coherently, and I could only raise my min in anguish to Go and ask for strength to hold on.”—Sheila Cassidy