It seems to me that most ethical questions, possibly most philosophical questions, most life questions are at their core, questions about how to manage our relationship to pain. Everything that comes into our field of vision, of hearing, of touch is inwardly met by moving toward or moving away, sympathy or antipathy. I like that music, I don’t like that music, this tastes good, this does not, I want this person to touch me, that one, no.
What we say no to is connected to our perception of suffering. While most things do not rise to the level of ‘suffering’ per se, it is a continuum that begins with distaste and ends with torment. As far as I can tell, one of the secrets to life is having a lot of interior silence that makes sympathizing/antipathizing about every little thing unnecessary or at least smaller and less identified with.
Being in pain and around pain heightens our senses. This video is one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in a while. The first video on the photographer/artist’s site (and you need to go there to get the picture of what it’s all about) is just takes of the pain response, but what interests me is the one I’ve included here, with the givers. All of these people volunteered and it’s apparent that some of the givers were also receivers. I wouldn’t conclude too much based on the expressions on people’s faces, particularly the laughing. Trying to parse the emotions is important and interesting, but look more deeply, just at the elevation of energy, of life force. These reactions are facts and will be most useful without judgement or over-confidence that we know what the people are feeling and thinking. They are useful as a statement of phenomena. Just look at it. Be quiet. Try to describe what you see objectively.
This is us. This is us no judgement. But when we have to decide things about dealing with ourselves, keep it in mind.