When we let mental machinations go, pain is simply pain. It cannot be avoided in life. To try to avoid it is part of the sickness. The more we are able to experience and accept it, the sooner our suffering subsides. We do not need to explain away pain. We cannot figure it out. We can, however, receive it. In the simple receiving, pain transforms into something quite different. Not only does the pain transform, but more important, we do. As we practice Zen we see that pain is not bad. It is simply pain. If we spend our lives running away from painful moments, we shut out a great deal of what life brings us, both the pain and the joy. We can neither laugh when we're happy nor cry when we're sad.

In Zen, we learn how to feel and accept painful moments, to become larger than our pain. When we are willing to accept our experience, just as it is, a strange thing happens: it changes into something else. When we avoid pain, struggle not to feel it, pain turns into suffering.

Brenda Shoshanna in Zen Miracles