I got up this morning after one of those nights. You know. When you shift around trying to get comfortable, but each new position feels worse than the last.
Anyway, I guess it made me feel philosophical about pain and pain’s purpose, and what this is all about.
And I thought, what if pain is the only way we’ll slow down enough to really take a good look at ourselves and at our lives?
The Unseen Hand
If we look at where pain forces us to go, what it forces us to do, then maybe it makes some sense. Pain asks us to look inward, to be in the body, to live in the moment, to take stock, to re-prioritize, to slow down, to let go, to simplify.
These are mostly pretty healthy things to do.
Are they things we would have done anyway? Possibly not. Certainly, I wouldn’t have. I resent the fact that pain forced me to do these things, and I would prefer to have chosen them on my own, but I didn’t.
I'd Like A Renewal, Please
This might seem to imply that we made a mistake, or did something wrong to get into pain in the first place. But I don’t like to think of it that way.
If I’ve learned anything from my time in pain, it’s that self-blame and self-recrimination are not useful, necessary, or accurate stances to take toward the self.
Maybe then, pain is a kind of course adjustment.
To me, the beginning of pain feels like a strong contraction away from something, like the area in pain has become a fist tightly closed, or a black hole pulling inward and away – a massive retraction from feeling the pain, but also a retraction from life.
Like pain is more of an absence than a presence. What if pain is the sensation of something missing or lost? Well, yes, you say, health is missing, of course, but what is health but a full engagement with life?
How Does Pain Ask Us To Change?
So, the questions become – what does pain ask of us, and what are we asking of ourselves to change, to embrace, to move toward in order to heal? How is pain pointing us toward life?