“Pain is an acquired taste.” This would be a good motto for any physical endurance course that selects for personalities that get off on how badass they must be for voluntarily subjecting themselves to misery. There are a couple of rules for proper usage:
1) It’s a reactive koan, not a preparatory one. You don’t use it to psych yourself up for jumping into cold water, you use it when you’re already in the water to reframe the stress into a positive emotional reaction. If you start dwelling on how everybody else in the world is a giant pussy with no endurance, then you know it’s working. “Fear is a sin” is a much more effective preparatory koan for action. For habitually building up stress tolerance, I recommend using the “fear” koan to enter cold water and the “pain” koan to endure it for progressively longer periods of time each session.
2) It’s prestige hierarchical and anti-dominance hierarchical. It should only properly come out of the mouth of someone who is either sharing stress or enduring more stress than the recipient. Otherwise, it drains the energy of the person hearing it. So if we’re treading cold water together, I can say this and we’ll both feel better from the reframe. If I’m treading water and you aren’t and I say it, then I get the prestige boost from the reframe. But if I’m watching you tread cold water and I say it, I’m just being an asshole and this will increase your stress rather than reducing it.
I only use one other verbal koan presently: “Fear is a sin” (replaces Koanic’s “fuck it, float it”). The only visual one I use is meditating on the Latin cross symbol, which worked great for dispelling spiritual weirdness like “old hag” visitations. I suppose it’s possible I could similarly meditate on other primary symbols like the pyramid or the tornado-like spiral but it seems awfully stupid to screw around with deep brain stuff like that.
I note that the two verbal koans represent two of the three CSR strategies. Maybe a ruderal koan would be something like “I’ll make an exception” or “it’ll be fine”.