What is the purpose of pain in our lives? This has been the big theme of the day as most people in my community are either nursing an injury right now, physically or emotionally. So let’s discuss.
Pain can be physical, such as a broken ankle or it can be emotional, in the case of a broken heart or the cavernous emptiness of isolation. Pain is a signal for us to stop everything we’re doing and take a deeper look. In most cases, the physical pain is the easiest to move through because we can see the place of injury and watch it heal. When we are dealing with areas of emotional pain, it takes a certain amount of self-awareness to first acknowledge that the pain exists, pinpoint where you are feeling the sensation in your body and then take steps to process and heal the internal wound. Emotional injuries cut deep and if we don’t take the time to see them for what they truly are, we can spend the majority of our lives protecting that old wound, and fearfully avoiding things that could be the very medicine we need to heal once and for all. The tricky part about dealing with emotional pain is that you can’t see it. That, and your subconscious is doing a damn good job of keeping that old hurt all covered up for you so that you can continue living in your comfy, predictable ego-bubble where you know exactly who you are and what you think about everything. Our subconscious is made to protect us from harm and this is the part of our brain that screams when someone brings up a topic or person that hurt us in the past. The very thought of a person’s words or situation that inflicted a blow to our sense of selves can cause an uncomfortable physical reaction in our bodies. Holding on to all those layers of protection slows and weighs us down. By allowing the pain to surface, it can be released and we can heal and move forward with a new lightness and confidence.
“If you change the way you look at the things, the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer
I’m so thankful that I’m taking this moment to be introspective as life is bringing up some big choices and things to consider right now.
I see pain as a teacher and I know that if I have a physical reaction to something that has hurt me in the past, it’s my body’s way of signaling to me that I need to stop, take a deep breath, relax and process what’s coming up. Pain opens my eyes to the need to ask deeper questions and get clear answers so that I can see the truth and move through the sensation to the other side. It shows me where I can let go.
In my Kundalini teacher training, we practiced white tantric yoga where I would sometimes have to hold a meditation for 62 minutes with my arms straight out by my sides. We aren’t allowed to leave or get up during this time. We would simply have to sit with the experience and watch what our minds were telling us to do. Mine would rage, “get me the hell out of here,” on repeat for the first 5 minutes. Then, I found that the only way I could get through such an intense physical experience was to acknowledge the burning sensation in my shoulders, send my breath right to that spot and consciously make myself relax my straining muscles. The endorphins that flooded my body after one of those meditations shot me right out into the cosmos. It’s the most blissful feeling to come out the other side of something like that, like a rainbow after a tornado. Relax, take a moment, and soften. Embrace pain as a tool for your own growth. Rather than running away from an uncomfortable situation, face it. Take it head on and watch how everything changes and melts away.
Day 4: Breathing through it.