Ending Physical Pain: For Good

Healing

For all the advancements I have made in my life towards happiness and away from misery, I have not discovered how to cure my own pain…until now. Deep inside I believed that my pain was permanent, lifelong and incurable, and yet I equally believed that any ailment can be cured but mine. It was a curious, bipolar reality.

As many spiritual teachers as I have read and listened to, I’ve never found one who I felt fully explained physical pain enough to sufficiently help me understand it. They say that physical pain is resistance; letting go and going with the flow can end pain, and fighting it and hiding from it only cause it to continue. But during a severe migraine or pinched nerve those become words and nothing more; fleeting concepts crushed beneath the weight of my experience.

My pain is severe and chronic. A major part of my life has been spent working a man’s job that my female body was not able to do. To make matters worse I refused to do my job with any sort of ergonomic common sense. All my life I have fought to prove that I am every bit as capable as a man, so I did things that I should not do in order to show the world that I could. Sure, I kept up with the men I worked with and for, but after 10 years I found my body was falling apart. Now I find the smallest effort causes the greatest pain as my spine attempts to fuse itself together causing pinched nerves, migraines and other severe issues.

Earlier in my career as a cripple the pain would cause me to pass out, but over the years I have become used to it enough that I stay awake for the entire process. I am basically trapped in the prison of my body. The pain is sheer torture, often feeling as if there is an axe stuck in my neck or a knife piercing my back or eyes. No medicine will cure it, yet I over~compensate with caffeine and ibuprofen. Episodes can last all day or several days. I cannot find a comfortable position to lay in nor can I sit up. I can’t sleep but can’t stand being awake. I am off work and unable to do anything but lay in bed and wish I was dead. Often, that is exactly what I think to myself during the pain.

Pain

I am not the only one my ailments affect. My Other stops whatever he is doing to tend to my every need. He massages me, cooks for me, brings me medicine and holds my hair back when I throw up. He even cleans up afterwards, much to my chagrin. Often I escape by watching movies on Netflix. He will waste an entire day by my side watching movies if it takes my mind off of the pain. This causes me to feel guilt as he endures watching me suffer but is helpless to do anything about it.

Now that I have returned to school in attempts to get out of the business I am in, I find that sitting in chairs all day during classes further exacerbates my problem. I miss many days of class because of my pain and feel that I am involved in a conundrum; trapped between not being able to sit in the chairs at school but not able return to the working world full~time. Sitting at a desk at home to do homework can often lead to falling days behind. It all feels so hopeless.

The universe is not a concrete, permanent sort of place. No law is set in stone. I have cured mental ailments and physical addictions, issues that many people struggle with their entire lives, but when it comes to physical pain I am helpless.Buddhist Proverb Pain

I listen to many spiritual teachers on Youtube, any and all I can find. Often their knowledge can raise me to a state of bliss enough that I can make it through the day. My sister recently introduced me to Eckhardt Tolle, whose name I have heard for years but have never really come to know. Mr. Tolle’s main message is that of what he calls Presence, to be here, now, at all moments, thoughtless and empty but for the joy of being alive. I’ve begun listening to him more and more. His advice really helps me extract myself from the thoughts that threaten to take my mind away from the moment.

Recently I came across a couple of his videos that stopped me in my tracks. Eckhardt actually explains how to get rid of pain, though I’ve not been sure that I could do what he was asking. Basically, he describes pain like an entity that feeds off the negative emotions which arise from the experience of its pain. He says that pain doesn’t want you to pay attention to it, it wants you to hide from it so that it can pretend to be you and convince you that you are it. His suggestion is to put all your attention on the pain just as you would put all your attention on your breath during meditation, “watching” it to separate yourself from it.

Eckie

In all honesty, the thought terrified me. My whole life has been spent escaping pain. To think of turning and facing it was cause for hesitation. Thinking back I remembered a couple of recent instances when I had actually done this technique without even realizing it and recalled that it had actually worked on minor pain. I decided to give it a try. At this point in my life I would do anything if it means curing the one thing that is holding me back from my dreams.

I started Eckhardt’s pain practice at work. One day I was up and down ladders all day and my “bad hip” began to ache. I focused directly at the pain, “watching it”, as Mr. Tolle had prescribed. Instantly it lessened by half. Any time I would take my mind off of it, it would flare and intensify. I would return my focus back to it and it would lessen. Over and over, all day long I kept the pain from getting worse, and it didn’t even hurt that next morning when I woke up as it had so often.

My daughter works with me but has taken on a second job, which means that I’m doing everything myself three days a week. I didn’t even realize that I had convinced myself that I could not physically do the things she had done, which she had taken on co~dependently to attempt to save me from pain. With this new technique I find that anytime I begin to hurt, no matter what the reason or the history or the seemingly~inevitable circumstances, I have successfully turned the pain away. Yet, until yesterday I had only ever practiced this on small doses of pain. I’d been wondering when the next big incident would occur when I could practice this technique on something serious.

I was sitting at my desk doing math and noticed the pain coming on. I watched it, as I have become accustomed to doing. The practice took a lot less time to master than I had imagined. I knew my neighbor might call and ask me to come visit and I was dreading it. Pain makes me want to be alone, but I hadn’t seen him in awhile and it was time. He called and I went to visit.

When I got there he was looking at pictures of his last vacation on the computer. More sitting, just what I didn’t need. I stood for awhile, sat and stood again, watching the pain as I looked at the pictures, but his conversation diverted my mind from my task and it advanced. Eventually it got to the point where I realized it was going to be a “big one”, a migraine that involved nausea and several days of suffering. I excused myself and went home.

My first thought was to turn on Netflix but I chose not to. I went up to bed and lay down. The pain was hitting hard: in my eyes, my neck, my left shoulder in particular. I was watching it but was intimidated by doing so. It was big, really big, looming and threatening to advance. In my mind I was looking for somewhere small to hide.

I realized that there was, in fact, a place inside me that didn’t hurt. It was in my core, the smallest part of me. I began to visualize myself in layers, like an onion, and the outside layers all hurt, but there was one layer in the furthest depths that didn’t. Keeping my eye on the pain I went there, lived there. The one single small little space that the pain couldn’t touch. The tiny glowing dot in the center of this image describes it well.

Aura Egypt

I think I expected that the pain would just go away, but it didn’t. After a while of holding it back I realized that it was only going to go away so much. I gave up for a moment, deciding that I didn’t want to be face to face with the amount of pain that was left. But giving up caused it to take control of me so I quickly returned to watching it. The more I lived in the painless space the more relaxed my body became. It took a concentrated effort not to brace myself against it. After staying in this state for awhile I got up to use the bathroom and my neck popped several times loudly. My muscles had relaxed enough to let go of the tension.

It began to imagine myself laying in front of a huge panel of glass. The pain was behind the glass. I could see it and experience it but it wasn’t me and didn’t control me. It did feel like an entity. I could see its tentacles through the glass, its many~layered little anemone fingers and teeth, very similar to the background behind the figure on the first image on this page. It was many~coloured and hideous but I made sure not to make what I was doing into despising it. It had no power, it merely wanted to live. Pain, as the ego, began as a servant but got out of control, was allowed too much power. To honour its purpose is to set it free. Helpless and unable to reach me it flopped its tentacles and gnashed its teeth.

Thoughts would come and go, my mind telling me about the pain and how bad it hurt and this and that, causing the pain to advance. I would drop the thought and return to watching it. Eventually I realized that thoughts were pain as well. I placed them behind the glass with it, where they belonged. I got really sleepy and began to drift off.

My Other came in with a Starbucks’ Energy Mocha, which sometimes helps depending on the type of pain, but I told him to put it in the refrigerator. I slipped off to sleep and didn’t wake up til morning.

The next day I had little residual aches and pains from it, some that I had to watch all day. Still, they were nothing compared to what I should have been experiencing, what I would have experienced every single other time I got that kind of migraine. I was not able to sit at my desk and do math, but the key here is that I was not suffering.

It works! It really works. It’s the only thing that has ever worked. In the video, Eckie (as I like to call him, precious little man that he is) says that with regular practice we can become completely pain~free. Knowing how much better the pain is while watching it and holding it back, I never want to go back to allowing it to take me. I can choose to refuse to feed it.

Cure

We cannot reject the pain, we cannot fight it. This, too, is resistance. The secret is simply to watch it. Observe it. Stop identifying with it. It is not you. As the video says, observe how you want to talk about it, how you take a strange pleasure in it. When I first heard that I laughed out loud because I’ve never taken a pleasure in it….or have I? Pain serves a purpose, and no matter how much you think you hate it and how much you think you are ready to get rid of it, it is serving you somehow. I believe that my pain stems from not being valued as a child. My mother hated me the most because I was most like her and she hated herself. But when I was sick she took excellent care of me. Being sick was the only time I ever received affection from her.

I used to think that it was necessary to get to the root of the trauma in order to heal. Though it would be beneficial to discover what pain means to us and how we are using it for our own purpose, we don’t have to know the “why’s and how’s” to overcome obstacles. I cannot remember the first 13 years of my life and I may never. I had to move on. I couldn’t wait to remember to heal. It used to really bother me, but now it’s okay.

Without further pause let me share with you the video that is changing my life! I would never have believed it had I not witnessed it in action. It’s scary, and it’s not comfortable by any means…not yet. It’s better than what I had before, and I can see light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in my life. No ailment is forever, no symptom set in stone.

 

5 thoughts on “Ending Physical Pain: For Good

  1. ~*Experiment Number Two*~

    Yesterday I woke up at 5 am very ill. It was the second time I tried the new gluten~free Cheerios, with the same result as before. I am allergic to gluten. It gives me terrible migraines with nonstop nausea and vomiting and severe muscle pain. I called in sick and prepared for the task at hand.
    Instantly I once again found that place I had discovered before, the “core essence” of myself that was not in pain. I went and “lived there”, holding myself inside the painless space. I was not as successful at holding the pain in front of me behind a glass wall, as I did previously. The pain was a crescent~shape, from my temples around the back of my head to my neck. I was able to hold it outside, as opposed to being completely inundated with it both mentally and physically as usual.
    I was not able to hold the nausea back as I had before, and had to run to the bathroom several times, but the experience itself was not as unpleasant. With gluten sickness, the severe pain in my head and neck cause me to almost black out with the pressure that throwing up creates in my head. Because I was able to hold the pain back there was no pressure; the act of release was just that, a release of what my body perceived to be poison in my stomach.
    Because of my nausea I could not hold down medicine, but neither was I searching for a chemical cure. I felt fully confident that I could handle the pain on my own. As previously mentioned, I watched Netflix movies that day, but it was not to hide from the pain, rather to entertain myself. In fact, I found that watching movies, which diverted my mind from the pain, actually made it hurt worse, so eventually I stopped watching and lay back to focus solely on the pain.
    As previously experienced, I focused on the pain long enough that my muscles relaxed and I was able to go to sleep. My Other came home between his shifts and we slept for a time. When I awoke I found the pain to have increased and the nausea had returned. I focused on the pain, making my eyes a kind of watchdog keeping the pain between a fence and I.
    Not one time that day did I suffer. It did hurt, and it was annoying, and I wished that I wasn’t missing work, but I accepted what was and focused solely on minimizing the pain as much as possible.
    Whatever this sounds like to you, however successful or not, I cannot describe the joy of no longer being terrified to be in pain. To know that I have control over it is literally like being released from a prison cell. I find myself tearing up thinking about it. Pain is done controlling me. It is my turn to control it.
    In my past negativity I noticed that every time I had back pain, the next day at work would offer up some task that proves to be the very thing I should not be doing with my back in such a delicate state. Today was no different, but how I perceived it was. I was not afraid to do the task at hand; if it caused me to hurt further I would face the pain head~on. I observed myself several times attempting to feel sorry for myself as I would have in the past, but that just doesn’t fly with me anymore. I no longer require sympathy from myself or others. I am strong.

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  2. ~*Further Notes *~

    Over these past days many curious and unforeseen results have been noted, the most curious being a strange lack of the usual heartburn I almost always suffer from. In this new ultra~awareness of my body and its functions, I continually return to realizations of how my thoughts revert back to the victim mentality at work and at home. I tell myself there are things that I cannot accomplish because of “what it does to me”, when, in fact, I am no longer seeing evidence of previous effects anywhere.
    For instance, today I sat in the chair doing math and writing a new post for seven full hours without any of the crippling pain that generally occurs. When I stood after a few hours to walk to the bathroom, an action that would generally involve hobbling, I found myself walking normally. Still, I continue to tell myself that I’d better stand up and move around, as if my mind is working on autopilot based on previous programming. I reaffirm my new abilities to myself with a joy and ease I have not felt since childhood.
    Everything is changing. I cannot stress enough how profound a change this is in me. Previously, as I may have mentioned, I was questioning whether or not I could make it through school. Going for a PhD will require at least five more years from me, if not eight, and this means long hours and huge chunks of every year sitting in the tiny, wooden chairs at school and behind my desk at home. Every time I feel even the slightest pain anywhere on my body I immediately begin “watching” it, which has become a fluid, almost involuntary process that I can now do while doing other things. Generally I don’t even need to focus on the pain for long before it disappears.
    My lack of pain causes me to be better to myself as well. I’ve noticed an inexplicable lack of desire for things that are bad for me. Caffeine in particular is removed from my diet, as well as halving the dose of ibuprofen I take in the mornings to prepare for work. I have asked my Other to stop buying the Starbucks mocha energy drinks that I kept around in case of migraine emergencies. Certain foods that I previously would play with fire by eating, such as breaded chicken and Chinese foods, are curiously absent from the insatiable cravings that I have always felt, which are dropping off quite rapidly as well. It seems easier to deny myself things that are not best for my health, such as the occasional clove cigar I have smoked in the past.
    I believe these effects are largely due to feeling in control of my life. I am holding the reins now, not the pain. I choose if I want to hurt or not, and I can’t imagine falling out of practice and returning to the debilitating pain I was experiencing before. The whole world is open to me now, there’s nothing I can’t accomplish!

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  3. ~*Three~Day Pain*~

    I’m not sure what I did that caused this particular pinched nerve, but my back has been locked up and a piercing pain shoots up from behind my shoulder blade, through my neck and into my eye. This is the worst pain I’ve experienced since discovering this technique, and it’s been very difficult to focus on.
    The first night it occurred, I felt it coming on while watching a movie. I had been sitting for seven hours behind my desk doing math. The previous several days, I’ve been able to sit at the desk for long hours with no effects to my body whatsoever, which I’ve been very excited about. I think this time was different because I’d been thoughtlessly drinking tea all day, and without water my muscles are prone to lock up and get sore. By the time I went to bed I could feel the tell~tale symptoms of a serious pinched nerve/migraine combo coming on, so I prepared myself for a night of focus and concentration.
    At this point in my practice of this technique, any little pain has me instantly focusing on it, because I now recognise that it is the only way to make it better. Every time the pain woke me up I would focus on it until it would lessen enough that I could go back to sleep. I woke up many times that night, and didn’t sleep well because of that, but when I did sleep it was deeply, so I got just enough to be able to function. When I woke up I took a hot shower and was ready for work. I did take two ibuprofen, which I had not been taking for days previously. The pain was minimal. I affirmed to myself that I would stay on top of it during the day.
    My job is very physical, requiring me to go up and down ladders and all sorts of bodily movements that require quite a lot from my arms. That day, focusing on my work as was required meant not focusing fully on the pain. During lunch I had to go to the store and get some caffeine, in hopes that it would help just enough that I could keep the pain at bay. I lay down for about 20 minutes (my boss allows us to sleep during lunch) and focused on the pain. By the time I got up it was all gone.
    My daughter was working with me that day, and she was more than happy to do the hardest tasks to make it as easy on me as she could, but the pain began to return after lunch. I was able to hold it at bay long enough to finish the day out, a huge accomplishment considering that this type of pinched nerve generally has me off work, at home and suffering with no relief.
    By the time I got off work I could no longer see out of my right eye. I had to drive home. I got behind the wheel and sat there focusing on the pain in my eye until it receded enough for me to drive. This, too, is a great accomplishment, because previously if I wasn’t able to drive either someone would have to come and get me, follow me home or I would just drive dangerously and erratically and hope for the best. I got home and lay in bed, focusing on the pain until it got much better.
    During the night, however, the pain came back worse than before. A piercing pain was shooting into my eye with the beating of my heart. Sometimes it was so intense that I had to sit up, and soon realized that when I sat up it lessened. I slept sitting up that night, which isn’t much sleep at all, and focused on the pain as best I could between sleeping and waking.

    The difference between this and other nights like it is that I never once succumbed to the pain. Previously I would have been in tears, sobbing in the bed, overwhelmed with worry that I couldn’t work the next day, pitying myself because I couldn’t sleep and upset because my tears often woke my Other, who would also get no sleep that night. None of this occurred. I didn’t associate myself with the pain. It never took control of my emotions. I am done with that phase of my life; all the lies I tell myself about my pain, the associations I make with it, the sympathy I require from others.
    Though exhausted the next morning I got up and took a hot shower. Again I took two ibuprofen, and had a cup of coffee for lunch, but again I was able to work all day when, before, I would have been home a second day.

    It’s so liberating to be in control of the pain, to know that I don’t have to suffer. We WILL experience pain, it’s part of being human. But I don’t fear it anymore. It doesn’t control me anymore. When it happens I don’t immediately become upset or feel sorry for myself or feel hopeless, I hunker down for the long~haul, as they say, and prepare to do some hard work. This morning my neck is a bit achy but I got more sleep than last night. I know I can handle it from here without ibuprofen or caffeine. I’ve taken my life back and it feels amazing!

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  4. The sixteenth of this month will be the two~month mark of writing this post. So much about me has changed since January. I have re~evaluated my emotions and my needs. I have rooted out the belief that my pain is permanent, as well as the reasons for wanting it around.
    At work I do everything I shied away from before with zero negative results. My boss has noticed, though I do not feel I can share my cure with him. In all honesty, I have told him that I am going to the chiropractor more often. Honesty is always the desired path to take, but I find this process difficult to describe in a way that doesn’t sound like hocus pocus to those who see reality as a set~in~stone kind of existence. He, himself, uses pain to gain sympathy due to an abusive wife that does not allow him to express emotion. Perhaps, sometime in the future, I will feel like sharing this with him, but for now it doesn’t feel like the time.
    I am working at twice the speed I have worked in years. Every task I take on is no longer approached with the “What if this hurts me?” state of mind I held before. I know that if something does make me hurt I can get rid of the pain myself. This change in state has expanded into every aspect of my life. I’m less judgmental of myself because I accept whatever outcome my actions create. I am more accepting of others because I have discovered many unconscious reasons for my actions and now can see the unconscious actions of others.
    This past week marked an end to almost constant pain that lasted from the “Three~Day Pain” reply. I began wondering why I had found myself in such a state and how to justify this process when I was in more constant pain than ever. This week I look back and see that, again, Eckie had it right. He said that the “pain body”, the entity~like energy of the pain, doesn’t want you to cure yourself of it, and so it may intensify for a time after you have stopped associating with it in attempts to redefine itself in you. I kept watching it, always, and was able to go about my daily business as usual despite it.
    The acknowledgement that my life is not, in fact over, that I don’t have to be a cripple, that I don’t have to suffer all the way through college, is profoundly satisfying. I am a changed woman. It’s interesting how people react to me now. You’d think that people would be amazed and moved by the change in me but life seems to go on as normal. That’s the indicator that it wasn’t meant to be, the pain. The only person that really understood my suffering was me. No one else misses it. To them I just seem normal now.
    The other day me and my daughter moved a queen~sized bed together. She didn’t even beg me not to as usual. It’s like the memory of the cripple I was is just fading away in people’s minds. My daughter, herself, is where I was six months ago; almost daily pain that she’s convinced is who she is and what she must endure. Even seeing me doing my job with the fervor of someone years younger than I am has not convinced her that this process works. It is still important for her to be the victim, to gain sympathy for herself. She was not abused like I was, but it seems that watching me gain sympathy for my own pain all these years has taught her that pain is how to gain sympathy.
    That’s okay. That’s her walk. I can only hope to show her and others through my increasing vitality that there is a way out should anyone ever desire to let go of what pain gets them. Freedom waits for us to want it.

    One more step towards Forever. I am so honoured to be making this journey.

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  5. ~*Continuing The Process*~

    I watched an Eckhardt Tolle video shot at the Omega Institute, from the era of America’s fallen Twin Towers, 2011. Eckie explains that the pain we suffer is old, from generations before us, found in the DNA. This is why it takes so long to rid ourselves of it completely. Each time we accept pain as the present moment and allow it to be just as it is we are dissolving years and years worth of residual pain passed down from all those that came before us. As a human being, this ingrained suffering is recombinant from our entire species.
    Eckie discusses the oneness of all souls on Earth. He says that one person dissolving their pain in this way is, in fact, dissolving the totale of residual human pain; that we are not just curing ourselves but lessening the pain for everyone. In the same way that a terrorist killing thousands of people sends a shockwave of suffering across the globe, dissolving pain has such an effect for all of us as well.

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