Home » Features » A Kid’s ‘Real’ Pain From An Imaginary Needle

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.

– Buddhist Saying

At the clinic, I saw how a kid was dragged by his mother into the doctor’s room. When the door closed, almost immediately from the outside, some screaming could be heard. Perhaps he was given a jab? Strangely, his screaming went on and on, for more than a minute. Surely, no injection can be that painful for that long? It is not as if it is major surgery done without any anaesthesia.

It turned out, that the kid did not have a jab yet. He was screaming about how he does not want the needle, probably while squirming to avoid it, imagining it would be very painful. Although we can empathise with the child’s fear of the needle, there is still great irony. The pain from the actual jab would have lasted less than a second, yet his needless imaginary great pain from an imaginary fat needle lasted more than a minute, echoing in his mind!

Despite all the resistance, we know it is futile – in the sense that he probably will still get his jab, at the insistence of his mother, with the professionalism of the doctor, and probably assistance of a nurse who helps to distract for that one crucial moment. The fretting was thus in vain? Not really – if, and only if, after getting the jab, he reflects to realise that it was not so bad, thus learning a lesson.

Though we might see the kid to be immature and laugh off the above incident, adults might have similar issues – of subjecting ourselves to much needless anguish in advance, in anticipation of physical pain or mental suffering, which might not be as severe as thought. This is unmindful loss of calm and clear objectivity. Losing equanimity leads to deluded attachment to deluded aversion. Why aggravate ‘suffering’ before, during or after the actual ‘suffering’?

While we should learn to brace ourselves for challenging moments or periods of life, we should also mindfully reflect that readiness means to become calm and clear as a result. To still panic to no end means we are not truly ready yet, probably needing further preparation, mentally and/or physically. More introspective learning and meditative practices (which include chanting) will prove helpful. Never become the wilful kid who refuses to be ready, while resisting what he has to face anyway.

A lot of pain
that we are dealing with
are really only thoughts.

– Anonymous Saying

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