Pain as Our Teacher

I’ve recently been dealing with soreness in my left ankle, making it extremely challenging to walk up and down the three levels of stairs in our home. The immediate and constant feedback I’ve been receiving, known as pain, has brought forward several insights related to how I view and interpret pain. My insights and train of thought below apply specifically to localized pain that can be treated, whether referring to physical, emotional or spiritual pain.

(c) Carl Studna

The act of healing is expansive, whereas fear is constrictive. When muscles and areas of the body contract or receive injury, pain is felt or created. How do we respond to pain; as a wake-up call to expand, or with fearful thoughts that cause greater contraction?   Healing is an act of revealing the truth, and the truth always sets us free. Pain is either our ally, telling us where we need to expand and bring in the light of truth, or we view it as our fearful enemy, here to bring us down.

How we respond and listen to pain determines whether we expand or contract.

We interpret pain in one of two ways:
Pain = Expansion via insights that lead to breakthroughs.
Pain = Contraction through shutting down our body or mind.

If thoughts (being energy) create things, or determine the physical matter around us, are our thoughts expansive or constrictive? Constrictive thoughts produce fearful emotions that can tighten the body and block our flow of expansive energy. When our energy is blocked, our freedom is hindered and we experience pain. The greater that we’re able to “let go” into the pain, the clearer it will teach us and guide us into greater wisdom and insight.

This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do given that Western culture generally sees pain as something to avoid at all costs! We must learn to practice the art of observing our pain in order to not get sucked into the conditioned emotional response of feeling victimized by it. Rather than asking, “Why is this happening to me?” a more beneficial question would be, “What insights can I gain that will give me greater wisdom?”

When we learn from our pain, it will often lessen or subside.

Imagine if our bodies were always in a state of numbness and we couldn’t feel any sensations, whatsoever. No pain, no pleasure, nothing! We would have no guidance to serve as our compass for making beneficial choices, not to mention that life would be extremely boring! We’re here to learn from our pain and honor its wisdom as it teaches us how to live wiser and more compassionate lives. Rarely easy, but always rewarding.

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