I sat cross-legged in meditation for several hours in pain.
And I liked it.
I was staying at a forest monastery and wanted to better understand how I perceived and reacted to pain in the body, so I decided to spend my entire afternoon sitting through whatever aching arose.
In the process, a strange feeling appeared.
It was pleasure.
As the pain gradually grew more intense over time, the pleasure also increased.
I thought I had made a dramatic psychic breakthrough in my practice by transforming pain into pleasure, and I wanted to ratchet up the pain level even more.
But before I decided to go further, I consulted with the abbot of the monastery.
I told him what I experienced and how I planned to see whether I could turn greater pain into even greater pleasure.
With a bemused look on his face, he said: “You can only trick yourself so much.”
It was then that I realized the futility of my experiment.
Pain wasn’t the problem.
The problem was that I was feeding on the pain.