Made to Suffer

The professor speaks to me of pain while twisting it into a kind of pleasure which is not a new sensorial experience for me, but is new to have someone attempt to explain it in such clinical terms. Intrigued, I close my mind to all other thought and listen with marked attention. There is a blurring of boundaries which takes place both inside of his mind and inside of my own as he describes the body’s natural responses to stimulus, both hurtful and enjoyable, defining each as ‘punishment’ or ‘reward.’ I watch his eyes, flashing almost imperceptibly when he uses certain terms. Like ‘administer’ and ‘the subject’ and ‘threshold.’ Taking a sip of water to quench my thirst and attempt to cool the heat beginning to simmer in my veins, I slide a wet finger across my lower lip and take a note down in my notebook. It is the separation which is the illusion. It is the labeling of a feeling such that categories may be constructed to fit inside a mind which is instinctively fearful of discomfort. How we fear and crave discomfort in the same sweaty breath which holds the heart and mind suspended above the mundane human experience, elevates us for a few heavenly moments into the divinity which expands beyond the body, only rarely accessible through it. Forcing myself to concentrate on this man’s teachings, I observe the slowness with which he crosses the room in front of me, setting a pace, a rhythm, the deliberate pattern of his steps a metronome back and forth rustling a fire beneath my blossoming curiosity.  Perhaps to suffer is a prerequisite for euphoria, not entirely apart from it, some kind of distorted abundance. A terrible excess. To suffer is to feel deeply everything except the thing you most desire to feel. As a lover suffers the undesired absence of both the pleasure and the pain inflicted by her object of affection. It is the void which is the gaping, the ache, the mystery. As a poet suffers for the word. For the ache of being made aware that the word is there, just beneath the surface of her own skin, yet cannot be touched.