Pain Pain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day

We've all been there -- wishing fervently that pain was not part of the equation. But pain is always part of the human journey. There's no getting around it.  The problem isn't so much with the pain. It's with our misguided conditioning that pain shouldn't be there; that a "good" life, a "happy" life, has no pain. That's a dangerous myth. No wonder everyone on earth is trying to find ways to medicate their pain.

We would be far happier and healthier people if we were taught from when we were very young that pain is OK, that it's a normal part of life; and if as parents, instead of desperately trying to take away our children's pain or protect them from it, we instead just held their hand, or cried with them.

There's an important shift in consciousness that happens when we understand that pain is OK. We learn to accept pain. Instead of resisting and running, we accept. When we accept, pain isn't so painful.  We can be more relaxed about the human journey, knowing that pain is a normal, healthy companion.

The present moment is a mosaic of many different pieces, many different feelings. Pain is always a part of that mosaic. Sometimes it is a huge piece that falls dead center in your present reality; other times it is a tiny whisper at the far corners. Learn to embrace it, whatever size it may be at the moment.

What's the payoff? Why do what is counter-intuitive and sounds crazy? Be OK with pain? The pay-off is that you can then feel peace. Pain and peace are good companions. Many people already know this. If you've been through a tragedy, or a deep loss, and finally come to accept it, you know that you can feel peace and pain at the same time. In fact, if you can't accept the painful parts of your life, you'll never find peace.

Peace is an essence we are all after. It's ironic that people look for ways to medicate their pain in order to feel peace. Thanks to our inaccurate conditioning, we have it backwards. In reality, when we run from pain, we run from peace.

What is pain, exactly?

Some pain is grief over what has been lost. Accepting loss means that we allow ourselves to grieve it. There are many things that we lose besides loved ones. We also lose homes that we love, jobs, careers, opportunities, partners, friends, precious objects, and even respect or our reputation. Sometimes we need to grieve old ideas that no longer serve us, or beliefs that we have outgrown.  There are many things we experience that we don't usually recognize as loss. But if we don't recognize them and grieve the loss, we get tense and physically out of ease. We can become rigid in our thinking, defensive in our posture toward the world, and stuck emotionally so that we can't move forward in some areas of our lives.

Pain can also be anger at the way things are affecting us in the present moment, confusion at why this is happening to us, and fear of the uncertain future. These 4 authentic and healthy pain emotions - grief, anger, confusion, and fear of the uncertain future - are all present to some degree when we allow ourselves to feel our pain, though one of them is usually in the forefront.

Keep in mind that authentic pain is always pain that we feel in the present moment. It is not about the past or the future. If we're in the past or future, our tricky mind has sucked us out of the present and into a story - usually involving blame, shame, guilt, outrage, pity or self-pity.  If you are experiencing one of these "artificial or phony emotions", then you've left the present moment in an attempt to escape your present pain with a story your mind has made up. Stop, and feel your authentic pain. Don't medicate with a story. Don't medicate with any of the artificial emotions.  Accept the present moment and stay with the pain. If you do, your reward will be that eventually you'll move into a feeling of peace and balance and acceptance. If, however, you stay with your story and the artificial emotions, you will remain stuck. Your mind will drag you around and around like a mouse in a cage, and you're doomed to repeating your story over and over again with no satisfying conclusion.

In the end, no pain - no gain, as the saying goes. But don't have a meltdown over this. Just think of all the other great feelings we get to experience in this life - like joy, creativity, ease, freedom, fun, community, collaboration, serenity, support, unconditional love, humor, grace, courage, wisdom, stillness, transformation, balance, sustainability, beauty, clarity, inspiration, divinity, flow, healing, peace, strength, perseverance, adventure, satisfaction, fulfillment, wholeness, ...the list goes on!

And it can all go on at the same time as pain. Pretty cool! So when you're feeling authentic pain, no matter how deep, set your intention to also experience one of the essences above. Totally do-able.


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