What is the use of Religion as a Medicine?
Medicine provides unsatisfactory pain relief to many patients. Analogous to, some percent of people remain in moderate to severe pain, throughout their lives. As a result, their lives are drastically changed in fields of relationships, work, and leisure. Pain and psycho-social sequelae challenge the spirit of a patient. Life in pain & suffering is often an enormous challenge. In detail, it is biological, psychological, social, and spiritual.
“Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for
the heart to conquer it.”
All patients, going through pain & suffering, turn towards religion and spiritual practices, as their last solution.
What is the Impact of Acceptance?
The impact of suffering is both mental and physical. Therefore, it is a part of the unfolding of Karma. Karma is the consequence of your past actions and deeds(mental, verbal, or physical). Hence, it is not a punishment but a natural consequence of the moral laws of the universe.
If a Hindu asks “Why Me?” or thinks this is “Not Fair” for me. Accordingly, the answer is that the current situation is correct for a particular person. In a situation like this, the debts of even neutrals are incurred for their past behaviour. Pain & suffering is a part of living until final liberation moksha is attained. For this purpose, suffering is always present in the cycle of life and death, until the final salvation, is achieved.
As an illustration, we are in human form on this earth. The laws of this universe have a kind of binding on us to experience physical pain. Our current physical body feels the true pain. But while the body is in pain, the self or soul is not affected or harmed. Arjuna, a seeker of wisdom as told by Lord Krishna:
“The self embodied in the body
of every being is indestructible”.
“Weapons do not cut it,
fire does not burn it,
water does not wet it,
wind does not wither it.
It cannot be cut or burned;
cannot be wet or withered;
fixed, immovable, and timeless”
~The Bhagavad Gita
Religious Views on Pain & Suffering
Patients use religion and spiritual practices as a resource to cope with chronic pain. Pain and suffering are major concepts of Hinduism. According to the Hindu tradition, there are ways to deal with pain & suffering. It is through acceptance. This is the only way of becoming familiar with Hindu views of pain suffering.
Pain medicine practitioner should know the views of Hinduism. These concepts were proven useful while treating not only followers of Hinduism but everyone worldwide.
According to Hinduism,
- According to the laws of karma, acceptance of suffering is just a consequence,
- Suffering is transitory in this world and does not affect the true self of a particular person.
- Suffering is truly negative.
Attachment to the material world and need of different things is the main reason for suffering. The spiritual goal is detachment from worldly deeds. this is the only way to turn toward the Ultimate(God).
What are the Potential Challenges you might face on the path of Acceptance?
Religion is a very positive resource for us. There are circumstances when religious adjustment is not effective in the real world. The first potential challenge for you is the feeling of passivity or fatalism. This arises due to Karma. A patient becomes hopeless or unable to decide because he thinks that karma has already fixed his future and his remaining path. There is a counter-attack to this in the Hindu tradition. A person can start to live in present and move in the forward direction with each passing minute. One can follow the path of dharma and live his life in a positive way.
If a person is suffering from pain, then he needs to look at the positive things in his life. Acceptance is usually misunderstood as passivity. A focus on appropriate action, rather than the result.
In medicine, accepting chronic pain means living as peacefully as necessary. A positive correlation is seen between the degree of acceptance and functioning in the study of pain and suffering.
This article is an overview of Hinduism for a pain medicine practitioner. A pain medicine practitioner can support Hindus spirituality as it relates to pain and suffering. Some of the concepts of Hinduism are difficult to understand. When compared to western medicinal thinking. Accepting chronic pain is difficult for a patient. Since it is misunderstood as a depressive or resigned stance. A medical practitioner may also consider this acceptance as lack of caring. However, this is very differently seen in the Hindu traditions.