I spent several hours in the emergency room yesterday after a car accident. I’ve injured my back somewhat, but the extent to which it’s injured won’t be clear for weeks or even months. My vehicle is likely totaled.
This presents a slew of logistical issues relating to finances, commuting, work, and physical pain as well. I did become mildly overwhelmed at one point, as I stood in the soaking rain with a hurting back, staring at a large and expensive car-shaped paperweight.
However, after some time, I was able to gain some ‘cognitive distance’ from the impressions of my situation. I reminded myself that I’ve chosen to live in a city of seven million people. People who own cars may find themselves in accidents. Cars cost money… and at the end of the day, it’s just money and just cars.
While I might find myself in a bit of pain, mild constantly, a medium to high peaks, these too are simply impressions. They have no moral connotations, they have no effect on my ability to exercises well “what’s up to me” unless I let them. In fact, this particular instance gives me the opportunity to test my progress in new, and reality-based ways.
Physical pain, and carlessness are real constraints on the way most of us live. Tweaking our diets, clothes, studies, etc.: these are gym-trainings. Physical pain, and the like are different sort: we don’t chose them, we’re presented with them. In this way, they seem to fall into a different class of trainings.
Of course, every discipline starts in the controlled rigor of the gym or dojo or school. Yet, if the student is ever to progress beyond student, those skills must then be tested out and about it in the world.
So, my back pain and I are venturing out into the world.