The Reason for Pain
Pain has two origins: the mind and the body. Sometimes it is caused by the mind and held by the body, and sometimes it is caused by the body and held by the mind. If one were absent or did not partake of the pain suggested by the other part of the being, the pain would not exist, or if it existed it would vanish. The body being the servant of the mind, can never refuse to bear the pain given by the mind, having no free will of its own; it is only the mind that could refuse, if it were trained to do so.
The doctrine that some people hold that there is no such thing as pain, is very helpful in the training of the mind, although its truth may be questioned. If it is true that there is no such thing as pain, it can only be true in the sense that everything in this world is an illusion, it has no existence of its own, it does not exist in reality, compared with the ultimate reality that is. But when a person says that it is only pain, which does not exist, but the joy exists and all other things exist, then he is wrong.
Sufis dervishes have tried to become pain-proof by inflicting upon themselves cruel injuries: such as whipping the bare arms or cutting the muscles of the body, or piercing the body with knives, or taking the eyes out of their sockets and replacing them in their sockets again, which I have seen myself. By this they have discovered a truth and have given it to the thinking world: that the mind can refuse to partake of the bodily pain, and by so doing the bodily pain is felt much less than it would otherwise be. When the mind goes forward to receive bodily pain, out of fear or self-pity, it increases the pain and makes it much more than it would otherwise be. The proportion that fear or self-pity add to the pain is ninety-five percent. And the first thing that the healer must do in curing patients suffering from pain, is to erase the pain from the surface of the patient's mind by suggestion and also by his healing power. In the absence of support on the part of the mind, the body must give up pain, for it has no power to hold it any longer without the mind.