From the the Christian image of the crucifixion to statues of a skeletal Buddha, pain and suffering, and pushing beyond them, have been perennial themes in religion and spirituality. Both in the East and West — from the samurai to Freemasonry — practitioners have contemplated their own mortality, as part of their practices, reorienting themselves away from trivial personal concerns and toward, to borrow a term from the East, the “Way.”
Yet, today, we are increasingly concerned with comfort and security. Even spirituality itself is repackaged to reassure rather than to challenge practitioners. Offering rare insight, Craig Williams, author of Tantric Physics Vol I: Cave of the Numinous, elaborates on pain and its lessons in the martial arts and Tantra:
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“Pain is one of the keys to unlock man’s innermost being as well as the world,” wrote Ernst Junger. “Whenever one approaches the points where man proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his dominion.