Friday morning. It's raining in Los Angeles. And I'm in pain.
It's a humbling experience, pain. In this case, I have no idea what caused this excruciating neck ache. It came on slowly, intensifying over a period of two days, and reached its climax a couple of nights ago. It stayed with me, full on, for two days before starting, yesterday, to recede as slowly as it had arrived. This morning Ellie asked me the "on the scale of one to ten" question, and I arrived at "five".
Humbling, because it makes you feel so insignificant. The pain is there, huge, and you can do nothing but tremble before it and beg it to go away. You can take the pills, but they seem often powerless against it. They last a while, but the pain outlasts it. You take more. The pain outlasts the second dose. And so on.
It's powerful, pain. It invades you, taking over your whole body, your whole mind. I'm glad to have my meditation practice, which allows me, for a while, to put it in its place. It's just pain, I tell myself. It's not "me." It's not "mine." It's not "who I am." And I find that I can look at it, experience it, as though from the outside, looking in.
For a while. Then it comes back and laughs at my pitiful efforts to control it. Do I get the last laugh? Perhaps. The pain will eventually go away and leave me in peace. And I will have learned just a little more, for the future, when I may have to face more serious and longer lasting pain. I'll be perhaps just a little better prepared...