'Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.' ~ Robert Gary Lee
Is chronic pain your reality? Can you further differentiate if your pain is physical pain or it is it emotional pain? Did your chronic pain start out as physical and become emotional pain or did the reverse happen? Or did you start out by having spiritual pain or soul pain? Did you feel the soul pain turning into physical pain? How would you know?
I believe that all pain is interrelated. It matters not which type of pain started the process. You need to realize that body pain, or physical pain, mind (mental) pain or emotional pain, and spiritual pain or soul pain are all one and the same. The progression of pain, whether starting as physical, emotional or spiritual will always end up involving the other two. If you have pain that is unacknowledged, the pain WILL become chronic. So chronic pain is a body-mind-soul issue, as all matters of your health are.
Methods of coping with pain are a complex sociological, biological and developmental process that medical science doesn’t always understand. There is no quick fix for pain of an emotional origin. Nor is there a quick fix for chronic physical pain. If you have never had spiritual pain or soul pain, then you are living a life that has never been subject to self-examination.
Please understand that throughout this article when I use the term 'pain' or 'chronic pain' I am referring to pain of any origin, whether it be of body, mind or soul.
Throughout this website I claim that health is an integrated concept of healing all aspects of yourself, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Chronic pain is no exception. The body as a messenger of pain is especially significant when viewed in light of my teaching on the Body Window.
In nurses training we were taught that all pain is subjective and therefore ‘real.’ So one person’s perception of pain is different from another’s. It is not always easy to hear a person’s pain and understand it, because we are limited by our own perceptions. What may appear to us as 'fake' or 'all in her head' may be very, very real to the person experiencing the pain. The depth of the body-mind-soul pain is translated through the metaphor of the word 'pain' and while we may not believe it to be physical or 'real,' it is very real to person who perceives it. When the pain becomes chronic pain, it is so very deeply embedded in the person’s body-mind-soul that it IS their reality.
Pain is a phenomenon that cannot always be adequately described. A patient will often use metaphors to describe her pain. William Croft (1993), describes the phenomenon very well when he says, "This universal and basic area of human experience is totally dependent on language, since subjective painful sensations of different people cannot be observed, verified or compared except through their verbalization." (The Role of Domains in the Interpretation of Metaphors and Metonymies. In Cognitive Linguistics 4, pp. 335–370.)
If a person’s body-mind-soul pain is to be best understood, then the subjectivity of her language and the metaphors that she unconsciously chooses must be heard. The embodiment of body-mind-soul pain is spoken in metaphors, because the mind often cannot or will not accept it. Learning what is a metaphor as it relates to the physical body is very important. I believe than one must fully understand this concept in order to provide adequate health care assessments and to truly understand the subject’s pain.
So, as a health care professional, I have learned to listen very carefully to the metaphorical language of others that they use to describe their pain and health conditions. Even Ekhart Tolle, the famous spiritual healing author of "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose" uses the term 'pain body' to describe our emotional pain. The pain body is the stored emotional baggage that we all carry around. It’s an interesting metaphor, isn’t it? He chooses the term pain body to describe emotional pain. He inadvertently connects the physical pain with the emotional pain that he describes in choosing this metaphor. More evidence, in my mind, that we subconsciously connect the body-mind-soul phenomenon through the metaphors of our language. It is a cultural phenomenon.
There is no single word that describes the human condition more vividly than the word 'pain.' It seems to me that we can identify with suffering more easily than other human conditions. 'Pain' is truly a four-letter word in our culture. Think of additional four-letter words we use for chronic pain that describe the emotional and spiritual aspects of pain, equally well: 'hurt,' 'cuts,' 'eats' and 'ache.'
We have many cultural metaphors to describe body-mind-soul pain. We describe pain as burning, stabbing, squeezing and cutting. We have death metaphors, cutting metaphors, and aching, hurting and painful metaphors. We say, 'It pains me to tell you…,' 'He is a pain in the neck,' 'She is a pain in the a--,' we 'give till it hurts,' 'It cuts me like a knife,' it 'Eats me alive,' it is 'eating away at me,' 'the pain is killing me,' 'my back is killing me,' 'my heart aches,' or 'I’ve been stabbed in the back.' I am sure that there are many, many more that you could think of.
When the pain becomes chronic pain, we do everything to avoid it. We deny it, suppress it and run from it, find all manner of ways to treat it so it just goes away. Yet if we do not acknowledge our chronic pain, whether it is emotional, physical or spiritual, it will only become worse! It is only through feeling our pain fully that we can experience it and fully release it. I believe that we try to avoid pain in order not to have to do the hard work necessary to understand the cause of our pain. Or perhaps we chose the path of denial instead of self-awareness because our pain serves a purpose that we are not yet ready to give up.
I know that you may be saying, "But the pain is due to a traumatic accident, beyond my fault!" I would answer that it is possible to suppose that victims of accidents may have created the energy necessary to bring about the accident. Sounds like blame, doesn’t it? I don’t think so. I believe that if you can non-judgmentally look at the events in your life as neither good nor bad, regardless of how it was caused, that you can heal. What this means is that even if you had an accident as a result of fate, and suffer chronic pain, there is a reason that you do not heal. It is up to you to discover why.
What would be the actual worst that could happen, if you chose today to embrace your chronic pain, instead of running away from it? What if you thanked the pain and thanked your body for it’s messages? What if you asked your pain to tell you what it wants to say to you? What if you viewed your chronic pain as neither good nor bad, but just information as to your inner condition? What if you gave your body-mind-soul permission for the pain to go away?
If you are a sufferer of chronic pain, in any form, body, mind or soul, I would highly encourage you to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and ask your self these questions. Light a candle for your soul, so that it can seek the path to Light. Do my heart meditation first to open your heart to receive the messages that your body has to say to you. You can access my heart meditation for free, by subscribing to my monthly newsletter, Body Moments ~ In the Moment with Your Body, and in the confirmation email, click on the back issues. Look for the heart meditation in the December, 2010 issue.
Jones Peak, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
We are all gifted with complex neurological and hormonal connections that allow the focus on one aspect of ourselves to influence the other aspect of ourselves. Our emotional and spiritual state will always affect our physical state.
If you choose bodywork like massage, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong it will improve you emotionally and spiritually. I also love foam rolling, a wonderful tool if used meditatively to understand your pain. See my many articles on this subject.
If you choose to meditate and say positive affirmations, your body and spirit will benefit.
If you choose to connect with your heart to God/the Universe in a spiritual fashion, your body and mind will benefit.
Be mindful of the judgmental metaphors that you use when you describe your body-mind-soul pain. Use neutral and non-emotion-laden adjectives instead. I suggest that instead of using the word 'pain' when you describe your inner state, that you chose the word 'ache,' because your body-mind-soul is truly aching for something.
When you choose your affirmations to help you heal your chronic pain, always use neutral or positive words.
See my article on positive affirmations to help you learn how to create a positive environment for you to heal. Keep reading my website, to learn how to meditate and understand the meaning of your pain in your life.
Learn bodywork techniques as well, because what you do to your body, you do to your soul. My website is packed with free information to help you heal.
If you are in too deep, overwhelmed and need assistance, you may wish to hire me as your personal holistic health coach. I would love the opportunity to help you.
May your chronic pain be healed as you listen to your body’s messages to you. May you find health and healing of your body-mind-soul!