associative pain works because we do not resist it. it works because productive pain does not exist in a vacuum nor is it a singular experience.
when I am in pain I am also many other things. I may feel successful or dejected, I may feel hopeless or irradiated with pleasure. pain and pleasure co-exist. once we get past the farce that pain is to be denied, ignored, or focused on we can truly engage its lessons.
to disassociate from pain is to engage in self-loathing, self-flagellating, hardened behavior denying a true part of the experience, an inalienable part of the self. reaching for practical words in this context is useless. to deny pain or to engage in a battle with pain is a useless waste of energy and a self-loathing pursuit. to associate with the productive pain of endurance is an acceptance of experience.
accepting my pain often cascades into my enlightenment to a new spectrum of experience, deeper shades of my practice. the pain is part of me and it takes a certain gentleness to accept. I am my pleasure and pain at once. if we can soften, approach our pain with vulnerable familiarity it won't stop hurting but we will stop wasting energy rejecting it. pain can be befriended. my pain is now a great teacher, yet another source of information to me as I conduct mountain movement.