How much physical pain can a human endure?
Is it simply mind over matter? Why is some people’s pain thresh hold higher than others? Is it possible for our bodies to take on super human strength if needed?
We are so amazing.
The power to defy pain and even at times embrace it is just incredible. Even more so it seems if the pain is gladly given and taken for the love of God. Deep in the remote jungle in southeast Sri Lanka at Kataragama the suffering goes on all year round with mutilation and laceration being on the daily agenda.
Image via Wikipedia
Why? I hear you ask.
There is a temple there that is sacred to Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist followers. In the month of August the year round rituals reach fever pitch, the height of ecstasy as the faithful start their hard physical torture at dawn, theses trials will go on through until the evening.
One man would stand stock-still and endure a steel skewer being put through his cheek; there may be little or no blood. The skewer is driven on through his cheek, through his tongue and then out of the cheek on the other side of his face; this skewer stays there while the man dances a long slow dance till dusk.
The rhythm of a bell can be heard coming from the Kataragama temple. There are men, who will then take their punishment; a whip severely opens up the skin on their bodies.
Other men force knives through the fleshy parts of their arms and legs, whilst another man takes the pain of 40 hooks being inserted into his back, a fine rope is attached to each hook and the man is hitched to a cart laden with gifts which he must pull to the temple, a draught beast for the gods.
A mother faced with the decision to lift a car a few inches of her trapped child.
Could she do that?
Because we are mammals we have a self-preservation switch, keeping us out of day-to-day dangers. But when a Mother is confronted with the imminent death of her off spring, the preservation switch turns its self off. Giving the mother the strength to lift what would be considered an extraordinary weight.
In 1992 a woman called Angela Cavallo who lives in Georgia. He teenage son had his car jacked up on the driveway of their home. He had been removed a tire and was underneath the big old Chevies trying to remove something that was stuck as he pushed to loosed it he rocked the car off the ramp and on top of himself. He was knocked out cold, as a child neighbour rushed in to tell Angela there had been an accident.
Angela, rushed outside to find her son not crushed but caught in the wheel well. Angela lifted the car just a few inches to get the weight off her son, she then held the car up for 5 minutes until neighbours came and replaced the jack then pulled out the boy from beneath. Just incredible, she only lifted a few inches, she did not lift the whole car off but the adrenaline rush gave her super human strength, mentally and physically.
Farmer Samson Parker, had to do more than cut a field of corn whilst out working in the desolate fields of his farm. He was out harvesting with an old rusty corn picker when some of the stalks got caught up in the machines rollers. Instinctively he reached in the still moving rollers with his gloved hand to pull out the corn stalks. The rollers grabbed at his glove then it got hold of his fingers.
Samson tried for an hour to pull his hand free whilst shouting for help but the surrounding isolated fields held no rescue party for Samson. He managed to reach an iron bar and jam it into the chain and sprocket that drove the rollers.
He bravely managed to reach into his pocket and pull out a penknife making the decision that he would have to cut off his own fingers for any hope of getting free.
The rod and sprocket pushed him faster into making the decision to cut off his own arm as sparks started to fly onto the dry corn stalks on the ground beneath him setting it a light.
With the skin dripping from his arm from the heat of the fire he started to cut of his arm or die. He only felt pain when he hit the nerves in his arm but the ever-increasing fire stopped him from passing out and as he reached the bone he dropped to the ground using the force to snap the bone in his arm. A tire exploded on the corn picker, throwing him five feet free of the flames.
He ran heading back to his pickup truck. He managed to drive to the highway to flag down traffic. Nobody stopped; even when he turned his truck into the middle of the road to force people to stop they drove into the hard shoulder to get round him. That was until a Doug Spinks stopped and phoned the rescue helicopter.
So it would seem in moments of life or death or enduring pain for the love of someone we can take our bodies to the limit, pushing all our boundaries, to accept the pain and the consequences.