How long can pain be endured? Well, for as long as you don’t wish it didn’t exist in the first place!
This may sound paradoxical. But that’s really a good way to deal with pain. Any pain. From a headache to a cancer to a relationship breakdown to a loss – even of a dear one.
When you have a headache, it is a simple, painful fact. There is a headache. Period. That pain, of the headache, is converted into suffering the moment you start wishing that it were not there. Your wish that “it” – the headache – did not exist is causing “you” to suffer. You can understand this better if you become an observe that merely observes the headache. As an observer you are seeing the reality – a form of pain is affecting a human body that you are currently residing in. Is the observer – you – in pain or is the body in pain? Obviously the body is feeling the pain. Because you are able to see it as distinctively different from your real Self. So, in reality, the pain is not affecting “you” when you are an observer. It affects you, however, when you begin to relate to the body, identify it as yours and wish that the pain was not there. That’s when pain, in this case a headache, becomes suffering.
This is true in every painful context in our lives. The key is to become a witness, observe the pain, accept it and not wish it weren’t there. This may not take away the pain in any manner. Nor even reduce it. But it will surely free us from suffering. And incredibly enhance our ability to deal with any kind of pain. When there is no suffering, there’s an inner peace, an indescribable calm that makes journeying through Life, despite the pain, an interesting, at times even beautiful, experience.