Endurance sport is a painful place to put yourself. We often reference good athletes and their ability to suffer.
What is rarely discussed is what that ability consists of. There is a misconception that the pain in the endeavour is overcome or outrun. That we somehow come out victorious over our own pain and suffering.
So, here’s the thing. There is no escape!
There is no overcoming or running away from pain that will manifest the ability to suffer, it’s quite the opposite. If you try to overcome it, it has already won out against you. If you try to disassociate yourself by running away from it, you are simply showing your fear of it and again, it has won out against you.
Pain is the way out of pain. Suffering is the way out of suffering!
Forget escape, that is how you keep yourself trapped in the pain and suffering. The moment you stop trying to find a way out of the pain is the moment that the suck turns into your ally and you not only learn how to survive it, but thrive in it.
The conflict inside you only exists because you want to escape. Where are you going to run and hide? You put yourself here, remember?
If you can allow it all and be here without fear, the resistance will drop and you will free yourself from it.
This is constant practice in sessions. It has to go deeper than the intellectual level into the realm of the embodied felt sense.
The move towards the conflict inside yourself and the acceptance of the pain will consume the resistance and extinguish the mental pain which is, to a large degree, the source of the pain you experience.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!
In protecting ourselves, we have built up cunning protection mechanisms that are unconscious. The resistance can’t be teased out until you start paying attention to what your mind is saying about the suck and the myriad of ways that you move away from it.
It’s no good to just read these words, you have to be earnest about moving towards it and allowing the embodied sense of it. Paradoxically, it’s not about hardening, it’s about softening and allowing it to hurt you physically without mental defence.
That takes a high degree of simple awareness.
Awareness is the X-factor here.
The way out is the same way you came in.