The Necessity Of Facing Pain

Photo: azarius

Norman Fischer, a Zen teacher recently returned from a meditation retreat, offers his views on why it’s important to tackle life’s problems head on.

If you live long enough you will discover the great secret we all hate to admit: life is inherently tough. Difficult things happen. You lose your job or your money or your spouse. You get old, you get sick, you die.

You slog through your days beleaguered and reactive even when there are no noticeable disasters — a normal day has its many large and small annoyances, and the world, if you care to notice, and it is difficult not to, is burning.

The people at the retreat were not in crisis — at least no more than anyone else. They are people who have made the practice of Zen meditation a regular part of their daily routine, and come here not to forget about their troubles and pressures, but for the opposite reason: to meet them head on, to digest and clarify them. Why would they want to do this?

Because it turns out that facing pain — not denial, not running in the opposite direction — is a practical necessity.

Read the full piece here.


  1. Thanks for these brilliant set of words
    So true and powerful to those that want to hear it…
    I’m glad to have found it and had a look at the rest of your website! great work!
    I really like it, feel connected… I have also made decisions in life that were based on following my heart… admitting that those are also the choices that can hurt more deeply, logically…
    Facing and learning,… it all has a meaning.
    Hoping to find my less fearful heart again very soon!

  2. Brilliant post! It is difficult to face our failure, rejections or overall pains in life, but we need to face it head on and not avoid it. the way we can grow…

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