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The Message of Pain

We are excited to announce that we are guests today on 3in30 Podcast. We talk about using mindfulness while experiencing physical pain. Take a listen! We will also be continuing the conversation all week on Instagram and Facebook. But here's a little story to get you thinking about how you may relate to the physical pain in your own life.

Back in the old days there was a king. He was full of fear and worry most of the time, and this made him he neither a good nor bad king. This king was powerful and had many servants, some of which included messengers, young boys and men who ran from country to country delivering and receiving messages for the king. One day the king found out from one of the messengers that the country beside him was planning war against him and this sent the king into a spiral of worry and fear like none he had ever known before. At that moment he was filled with such despair and because he didn't want to feel the despair and worry, he had the messenger put to death, and because that seemed to give him a little bit of comfort he began to kill every messenger that gave him a message that he didn’t like. Soon enough every messenger that the king employed started lying to him. They would only give him messages that they thought he would like so they could save their lives. Not long after that the king’s country was overtaken easily by a neighboring country and the king was put to death.

Pain is a messenger to us. It is here to tell us something important about our bodies and our minds. But when we suppress the pain we are in a sense, killing the messenger. If we want to heal ourselves we can’t kill the messenger or deny it or rage against it. We also can’t ignore it. The challenge comes in listening to it. Really hearing the message and believing it.

One of the first things to remember when we are listening to our pain messengers is that pain and suffering are NOT the same thing. We can separate them into two categories. Pain is often not wrong even though it feels like it, it just means that something in our body is healing. When we get those messages that our body just is not working as well as we want it to we can acknowledge it and actually do something about it, like rest, drink water, eat healthy, or just go slower. Sometimes it may even take mourning over the fact that your body may never be as healthy or move as quick as you want it to. Often people take things too far, they can push their bodies too much and end up taking what was a little pain into a big pain.

The equation is this: Pain + Resistance = Suffering.

It’s only when we resist the pain, by ignoring, denying, or raging against it (meaning that we never think or talk about anything other than our pain) that we suffer. Pain is really just an unresolved need. We can learn to meet the need and hopefully lessen the pain. If you have a migraine, you need to lay down in a dark room and sleep. If you cut yourself you need to clean the wound and have it bandaged or even stitched up. If you broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend and are feeling hopeless and alone, maybe reaching out to a friend and taking a walk in nature might resolve the need.

Want to hear more about pain and mindfulness? We are talking all about it on this week's episode of the 3in30 Podcast. Take a listen here:

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