Thursday, August 29, 2013

Face the Pain

Image credit: Morning Meditations/
Today is Thursday, August 29, 2013.

Yesterday I wrote a post on my other blog, Reaching for the Sky, called "What You Resist, You Feed."  We are so focused on what we are trying to get away from that we inadvertently draw that very thing into our lives.  This comes about because of the negative emotions that we attach to the thing we are resisting.  Negative emotions are very powerful, and what we don't realize is that emotions bind us to people, places, conditions, and situations. Today, I'd like to focus on pain, both physical and mental or emotional pain. 

We spend an awful lot of time avoiding pain in this country.  Millions of people, including children, are on prescription medications for various kinds of physical and emotional pain.  If the medications really ended the pain, you would be able to take it once, or for a short time, and then stop, and the pain would be gone, but it doesn't seem to work that way.  People stay on meds for extended periods, even years, and many of these medications are habit-forming.  The only winners here are the pharmaceutical companies.

Some people turn to addictions such as smoking, drinking, or "recreational" drug use to dull the pain.  Others create for themselves a hectic lifestyle that buries the pain by making their "busyness" more important.  Whatever you use to resist the pain, you only succeed in inviting more pain into your life.

Experts agree that whether you are dealing with physical pain or emotional pain, the one thing you have to do is face it.  If you continue to resist it, the pain will continue to dog you.

Let's take physical pain first.  If the pain is acute, it's a sign that something is wrong with the body.  It is a message that there is an injury or illness that needs to be treated.  Pains of this nature should never be ignored.  Early treatment is generally simpler, shorter, less invasive, and less costly.  Chronic pain, on the other  hand, is something that a lot of people have learned to live with because their doctors have told them that there's nothing that can be done, or that pain is simply a function of old age.  Some people take aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin or Tylenol, or narcotics to deal with the pain.  Others seek out chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, electrical stimulation, biofeedback, or behavior modification to deal with the pain.  The problem is that these techniques focus on an outer cause for the pain, and while they can be very helpful, they should be only one part of a two-pronged approach.

Chronic pain is often caused by negative emotions of sadness, grief, worry, anxiety, and fear.  The problem is compounded when people dwell on their pain, which magnifies it.  People end up feeding the pain that they wish to rid themselves of.  The only way to stop the pain is to go to the source, the negative emotion that is causing the pain in the first place.  You may have to re-visit a very negative incident in your past in order to do this, and many people have past-life issues to deal with, as well.  The good part is that when you deal with your emotional issues, you are dealing with root causes, and you are able to deal with both the emotional pain and the physical pain at the same time. 

The first step is accepting the pain.  The Buddhists have a good handle on this process.  They "accept what is" without all the negative emotional baggage that goes with it.  In other words, they step back from their emotions in order to see the issue more clearly.  Once you have accepted the pain, you can begin to search for the root cause. 

The cause is always inside of yourself, never with others.  When you blame other people or outside influences for your pain, you are only giving the people or situations that you blame power over your wellbeing.  Which would you rather be, the victim or the survivor?  When you stop blaming things outside of your control for your pain, you can begin to control it yourself.  

On the physical side, it's important to find an understanding health practitioner who uses a healing modality that works for you, and you need to be an active participant in your own healing.  It's necessary to ask questions, be informed, and don't give up.  Some people have reportedly even downplayed their pain so that their doctor wouldn't "feel like a failure."  Seriously, whose pain is it, yours or the doctor's?  If the doctor isn't doing his or her job, then communicate that, or find another doctor!

On the emotional side, it is up to you whether you wish to consult a therapist or deal with the issue by yourself, but it's never a bad idea to find out what others have done to root out the emotional causes of their pain. Even for methods that you do for yourself, such as meditation, it's helpful to have a teacher or mentor to get you started.   Try whatever method appeals to you, and give it a fair trial. Don't forget to build a support system of understanding friends and relatives, and most of all, don't forget to seek out the support offered freely by the Creator.  :-)

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