Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Are Not Your Pain

   The title-statement of this post sounds daunting, or perhaps even unrealistic for those of us who deal with chronic pain & discomfort; and yet, at the same time it can be a real blessing too.
The idea that "we are not our pain" is a powerful place to begin in understanding how to manage and even transform our discomfort as we move towards a more positive and empowered place of acceptance about what is happening in our bodies.

  Pain itself is an important part of living life. In Buddhist teaching it is said that all emotions are suffering. Though pain is not really an emotion, it is a signal worth paying close attention to.
In fact, a person with no pain receptors, or of they were not functioning properly, the likelihood of having severe injuries to oneself would be great. So our pain is something that can actually be helping us understand that something need attention.

  How we work with the signal 'pain' is where the deeper path towards understanding begins. One of the most powerful methods of actually managing pain is to not identify with it too much. Even thinking that
"I am not my pain" with sincerity throughout the day can help to transform this attachment that can often plague our psyche for all that live with the discomfort of pain.
We live in a society that places a lot of weight on comfort and ease and yet life is full of challenges. Acknowledgement is a powerful tool for discovery: "I experience this pain" and then honestly cultivating the deep knowing that
"I am not my pain" then the next step is to work with what that pain is about and what we can ultimately learn form it. This simple protocol is an empowered place to begin to understand and transform it.

  The next tool to learn is a method known as The Body Scan. This is done by laying down somewhere comfortable and starting at the left toes, moving up the leg ever so slowly, scanning as you go for how things feel. Proceed until you reach the hip-area, then starting at the toes of the right foot and doing the same until you reach the hip-area, then go on to work your way throughout the pelvic region and up the spine and through all your internal organs. If you feel nothing in your toes for instance, there is no need to wiggle them to create feeling. We are just using what is called Bare Attention as we go. On any give day your experience will most likely be different, if you feel nothing, in an area, your scan of that spot is of nothingness, if you feel pain you can just feel it without attaching any more to it, but just using this bare-attention in the process of discovery.
Once you get to your shoulders, begin at your finger-tips and work up to meet the breast-bone, and up the neck & head.
This scan is best done in a relaxed environment and over about a 45-min period. Finally you will let the energy move entirely through your body from tips of toes through your crown, or top of your head; then just relax and let your body melt into the ground, or bed, or where ever you happen to be practicing the body scan.

  Practicing the body scan once a day for 3-4 months can train oneself in obtaining information that normally is difficult to get in the normal busy life-flow.
It is a valuable and personal tool that you can develop with some practice. The Body Scan has been taught to many suffering from chronic pain with significantly positive results of decreased pain.

  I welcome you to try it out for yourself and remain with the practice for several months before judging it. Here is a link to a guided meditation of the Body Scan posted by Jon Kabat Zinn.
If you would like to read more about this process I will refer you again to the Book
Full Catastrophe Living. In there you will find more information on the body scan as well as other information on managing pain and developing awareness of ones emotional and physical life.

Blessings of Health and Goodness to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment