We all experience pain in our lifetime. Be it emotional, existential or physical, pain seems to scream “avoid me at all costs!” If we manage to quiet this voice the next thought is “heal this pain immediately!” Both will send us running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken. I suggest that we do something else entirely.
Instead of running from pain or running towards it full-throttle we have to first get ourselves centered or else we run into the possibility of hurting ourselves further. Emotionally we can do this by avoiding our pain with relationships and substances, or drive ourselves nuts examining or becoming flooded with the pain that we are in. Physically we can try to numb ourselves or work too hard, ending up with an injury.
I’ve done all of the above. While it’s important to feel and heal from the pains in our lives, bodies and hearts, we have to keep our heads on our shoulders (or else we’ll end up like the aforementioned chicken).
Making peace with the pain we have is the most important and difficult part of healing from it. It is how we retain balance while healing, a process that takes time and effort. It is the only way we can retain control. Overworking or running from something are both ways that we try to establish control but neither work. How do we do this?
I’ve found peace with pain through meditation and introspection. It’s an active observation of my pains, I do not identify them and if I do, I remind myself of what I’m experiencing and that it is not all that I am. First though, I have to be able to name what I am experiencing. This is the first step into acceptance.
What are you feeling? Is it a pain in your shoulder or an old emotional wound surfacing? I assure you that emotions can be traced to feelings in the body and pains in the body will be causing emotions that you may or may not be aware of. Write them down. Take the time to notice how these sensations travel from one place to another.
As we traverse the maze of feedback loops-physical pain affecting emotions, emotional sensations affecting our bodies and of course, our thoughts affecting both, we can gain a certain mastery and understanding of ourselves with our awareness being the centering force that keeps us balanced and on course to our desired goal.
Nothing in this life is too difficult to navigate with the proper awareness and practices. Pain is one of them. This awareness combined with support from others, we can reach our goals in a balanced, patient and peaceful manner.