The pain that we feel is often looked at through the lens of causation, in particular, a lens which looks for a 3 dimensional cause such as a pinched nerve, inflammation, or some other derangement of tissues. We look to professionals to give us a diagnosis, which will determine the type of treatment and will give us some sense as to how long the pain will stick around for. This is a rational but limited approach.
The goal of this effort is to find a way to stop the pain from happening. Medication such as pain killers (nice name don’t you think?), anti-inflammatories or over-the-counter pain relievers are the usual go to’s.
However there’s an advantage to looking through a different lens at the pain. This lens we could call “don’t shoot the messenger”. Pain is a powerful message from the body to the brain. And the message that it carries is the subject of this series of articles. If we can receive the message and shift our experience because of the message, the pain ‘miraculously’ goes away. The advantage to using this particular lens is that you can get to the root of the problem.
And the root of the problem is our thinking. We tend to live our lives day after day on automatic pilot. And unless something radical happens, we tend to feel the same feelings, think the same thoughts and have the same behaviours day in, day out.
We also tend to blame our external circumstances rather than look at our internal perceptions and thoughts as to how we’re meeting a challenge.
People deal with all kinds of major challenges, sometimes several at a time. For example, you may feel overwhelmed because your daughter is getting involved with drugs, one of your parents is developing dementia and you don’t know if you’re going to have a job next week.
Feeling overwhelmed is to feel the pain of not being able to manage one’s experience. This is the second type of pain.
There is a reason behind the feeling of overwhelm.
In order for you to get the message, the feeling of overwhelm has to get to that point in order to wake us up out of our automatic pilot. The pain of not being able to manage one’s experience is the ‘something radical’ that actually is giving us an opportunity to choose new feelings, new thoughts and new behaviours.
It’s the point at which we can choose to make something a priority that we were overlooking before, such as our personal health or the health of our relationships.
It is not the external circumstances that are responsible for how we’re feeling. It is how we choose to engage with those external circumstances. We can choose to feel powerless or we can see that we have the power to choose new thoughts, new perspectives, new behaviours and to make new rules and boundaries.