Changing your experience of pain
5th June 2018
by Dr Liz Sparkes
“The cure for the pain is in the pain.” ~Rumi
The Latin derivative for the word emotion, ‘emotere’, literally means energy in motion. We can find ourselves searching for a cure, when actually what we are looking for can be found right here, within our physical body. We can notice the energy in our bodies change when we experience strong emotions.
Dr Candace Pert has written about how memories impact our physical body, “Your body is your subconscious mind. Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience.”
We know that the amount of pain we experience is influenced greatly by the emotions that we experience. The interaction between painful stimulus and emotional mind-set is now well documented. As research continues to move forward there are more reports of body-workers, physical therapists and alternative healing therapists experiencing emotional release from clients leading to improved physical health. The idea of tissue memory is becoming more prominent. Experiences, both good and bad can be stored within the tissues and organs of the body, therefore impacting our physical health.
This area is of particular interest to me due to first-hand experience of memory being held within the body. After many years of searching outside of myself for a cure to a condition I experienced, it became apparent that internal work was where I needed to head. When we look within ourselves we can often find what we are looking for.
Where to start?
Meditation will give you a very good starting point, helping you to ground yourself and become more aware of your emotional response to things. When you start to engage in regular meditation the space between an event and your response increases. You will find that where previously you reacted, you will start to choose your response. It is the awareness of how the events around us impact us emotionally that is important.
You can start a practice of sitting quietly and scanning your body for areas that feel a little uneasy, or perhaps ache or are somewhat painful. It is better to start with something small rather than a large discomfort. It is at this point that your mind will want to take over, to analyse, understand and evaluate why this sensation is occurring. This is your chance to kindly stay with the sensation itself, explore it, see how it moves or changes when your attention is devoted to it. Just follow it and see what you experience. Sometimes an emotion may present itself quite quickly, or perhaps this will happen over a period of many meditations. Allowing the emotion to be felt in its purest sense is the opportunity for release of it. Bringing a sense of compassion to the process will ease the suffering. Bring forth an attitude towards yourself similar to that which you would bring to an interaction with a friend. What we feel we heal.
Recognising that unacknowledged difficult experiences will keep surfacing within our bodies in some way until we give them attention is well known. It takes a lot of courage to face emotions, quite often our survival instinct and ego works hard to help us avoid confronting them. We spend a lot of time trying to avoid feeling deep emotions, so the body stores them for us. Meditation can help to facilitate the process of release. Going within ourselves rather than always looking outside of ourselves can sometimes be the answer. Sometimes meditation within a group setting can support the development of a regular practice.
By Dr Liz Sparkes
Tagged as: Dr Liz Sparkes
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