Life as an Extreme Sport

Trust/Time/Pain Relation

It occurs to me that chronic pain/suffering is the opposite of trust. In fact, it is in many ways the ultimate in broken trust – a broken trust in your body. We have this implicit notion of what the body can be like, and should do. How it should perform, respond, and behave at any given time. We trust that when we want our body to reach for the wine glass, the right hand will raise and do so , that it will not spasm and drop the glass, that it will not be wracked with pain.

Time loops back into the equation because trust and time are intimately bound. One cannot exist without the other. Time itself is a construct; nothing exists but now, the present. We are always in the present, passing through it. We never reach the future, and the past is always behind us.

Trust is based on experience. Experiences that we have moved through in our present as it becomes past, and experiences that we have witnessed others move through.

These events, these singular experiences,
allow us to look at the seemingly endless options in front of us and narrow them down; trust becomes a filter that allows us to make decisions. In the network of life, trust gives us a way of managing what would be incomprehensible.

When emotional trust is broken,

our options become limitless, and we are paralyzed, not in fear, but in choice. We have no way of narrowing down the potentiality of an event/situation without the ability to trust. But we trust — or not — based on prior events, and to override those prior events that taught us that we cannot believe our instincts is something that can only be done on faith.

Chronic pain/suffering is a different betrayal of trust, though. It’s not emotional, and the result is that it doesn’t result in endless options that we can’t filter, being able to say X would be bad, Y would be good, etc. Instead, the opposite happens. Instead of there being a limitless set of options in front of us that we are unable to sift through and properly respond to, our options shrink to few, or none. We learn that we cannot trust our body, that any instruction could result in pain, in broken items, in exhaustion, in – well, the realm of experiences of chronic pain/suffering. But because I can grab a mug one day and have no problems, and grab it another day and would have dropped it if not for the handle catching on my hand, I cannot even have the most basic trust in my body’s abilities. This limits my options, I can’t do anything.

Go to the movies? Maybe, maybe not. might be fine, but it might be so uncomfortable that I am in screaming pain before an hour is out. Go ice skating? Only if I want to risk injury and pain migration. The list goes on and on, until even getting out of bed becomes a chore, a threat. (Depression in sufferers of chronic pain/suffering is, I maintain, a direct result of this, rather than any other factor.)

And regardless, without the ability to trust, whether external or internal forces, the result is that we are everpresent in the now, unable to pass through the present. We become stuck.

…it’s very odd to quote/crib my own writing. If this looks familiar to some of you, well, there’s a reason for that. I suppose I am building a theory! (And at the very least, I am recording a snippet of a longer email conversation for posterity, and further thought.)