We live in a culture that wants to stop pain.
Just walk down any supermarket or chemist isle and there’s an array of drugs all designed to numb both our physical and mental pain.
And these products are top sellers, because people just don’t want to feel pain.
Yet have you ever stopped and asked yourself:
What exactly is pain?
Sure, we recognise pain when it shows up in our body.
We experience it, and generally don’t like it.
But what exactly is it?
Pain is a strong sensation from somewhere in the body that occurs when specific nerve endings have been stimulated.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine pain is seen as blocked energy in the body that needs releasing.
OK, so now we know what pain is, let’s explore the next question:
Why do we experience painful sensations in the body?
Pain is the body’s way of trying to communicate something to us.
Given the body can’t communicate to us via words, it uses sensation instead.
In that sense, pain has a role to play; a very important role.
Pain is there to tell us something.
Pain is information being sent from the body to the brain.
It is not to be feared or get frustrated about.
Pain is designed to alert us to something that needs to change in our life.
And pain will keep demanding our attention until we decide to look at it.
Even if you do numb it with drugs, you’re not actually getting rid of the pain, you’re simply putting it aside to deal with another day.
Or perhaps doing yourself more damage!
Imagine for a moment, that you didn’t have the ability to feel pain.
You’d be in big trouble, yeah?
You would constantly be at risk of seriously injuring yourself and not even knowing it.
The ability to feel pain is a good thing.
We need pain.
The main reasons pain shows up is because we have injured ourself, we are ill or we are going through a time of transformation.
Yes, sometimes personal growth – transformation – is painful.
One example of this, is childbirth.
You’re not sick, you’re not ill; you’re going through a massive transformation on many levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
When a baby is teething, this is another example of transformational pain.
When we work out at the gym – the good pain we feel as part of a healthy workout – is yet another form of transformational pain.
We’re getting stronger; our mind and body becoming more resilient.
And yes, sometimes that can be accompanied by pain sensations in the body.
It’s actually our resistance to feeling the pain that makes the pain so painful.
This is evident in our example of childbirth.
When a woman is able to surrender to the sensations in her body, her body begins creating a cocktail of yummy chemicals that naturally ease the pain.
Women even have orgasmic births, when they’re able to lean into the pain, as opposed to resisting it.
The more we resist the pain, the more the body creates tension.
More tension = more pain.
As we go into fear about the pain we trigger off chemicals in the body that increase pain.
The pain gets stronger, the resistance gets greater.
And before you know it, the pain is simply too great to bare.
You may have experienced this in any area of your life.
What’s the answer?
Listen to the pain, as you would a wise mentor.
Really feel it.
Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is a choice.
You can avoid the pain or you can choose to fully feel it and accept it for what it is.
The body’s way of communicating something important to you.
The pain is your friend.
It is there to show you great insights about yourself.
To open you to some deeper understanding about yourself and about your life.
What’s really interesting about pain, is that once you feel into it – give it the space to share the insights it has shown up to share – then the pain can resolve itself.
That is of course, if we take action on what our body is communicating to us!
We can learn everything from simply observing ourself in the world.
From being open to experiencing things that may not feel so great initially.
Pain really is the gateway to a deeper level of consciousness.
And it is through leaning into the pain, that we are essentially able to heal ourself.