“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.
For the last few months my health has steadily deteriorated (my story). Increased pain and a decline in my already limited mobility has been a true test of my faith.
I don’t mean faith in the religious sense but a real challenge to the belief I have that I can manage chronic pain through a blend of meditation, mindfulness, diet and other natural methods.
It is important to me to feel in control of my condition and not the other way around. I don’t like using labels, it’s so easy to get caught up in the definition of who you think you are.
Eckhart Tolle once said “Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.” This often applies to medical conditions too. It is easy to fall into the “I have ………….. and therefore I cannot ……………. and will never …………..”.
I shall never give up on trying to improve my health but I no longer try to resist it causing me further emotional distress. I have a quiet acceptance now, a peaceful place inside of me that is always there, waiting for me to reconnect at any time, no matter what my external circumstances are.
I think only those who have experienced chronic pain can have some understanding of how it feels. That said, everyones personal journey is unique. There may not only be unrelenting pain but there can also be anger at your body for letting you down, to the universe for letting this happen, towards loved ones for not understanding instinctively. Throw in a good dose of fear into the mix “is this ever going to improve?”, “am I on a downward spiral again?”, the stress of which causes muscle tightness and pain in different areas as sensitivity is heightened. General function is then reduced further and unhelpful thoughts and emotions such as “I am a burden” surface and once you are on the negative thought train it’s hard to get off. No wonder it’s exhausting.
I feel such gratitude for all I have learnt the past few years. As much as I love teaching my general meditation workshops I am looking forward to launching my programme for chronic pain later this year. It has been a real experience finding methods that work for me and it will be a real privilege to pass them on.