When a person experiences constant severe pain, it can drive them to the edge, where they might consider suicide as an option. This article is written by a person that experiences pain of that intensity. Pain pills can make the pain tolerable, but cannot always take it away. This article shows an alternative way to cope with pain and experience a deep selfless reality.
Pain can wake you up from a deep sleep. It excuses you from social events and can intrude in a deep meditation. It is impossible to ignore and difficult to distract your attention from. A person in this situation will try almost anything just to give themselves a break.
There can be a lot of advice given to them by well-meaning people who have never experienced such pain. Some useful advice can be to go deep and pray; you need to love God with your whole heart; or try to program your mind to interpret the pain in a different way. All of these may work, but it takes a deep surrender to make them effective.
A main obstacle to using these techniques is your subconscious programming. For example, with love, you can resist it if you had a dysfunctional relationship with your parents. Pain is not subject to poor subconscious conditioning, for pain is a powerful vehicle that breaks through your subconscious limitations. This is not done by choice or conscious reconditioning, but is because of the intensity of pain.
Maybe the biggest resistance to go to this depth is that “you” do not exist there. This has to be a selfless journey, for if you hold onto your identity, it is impossible to transcend to this depth. This means that you have to let go of your attachments, your plans and even your fear of the unknown. Then, when you do that, you experience a selfless love in a spiritual moment. If you resist letting go to this extent, the benefits of pain cannot be experienced.
Many people try to control pain with thinking, but pain cannot be rationalized away. For intense pain to be dealt with, reasoning does not work. It has to be an experience. The difference between theory and experience can be shown in a simple example. When you go to a restaurant, you read the menu, which is like thinking. Eating the food can satisfy your hunger, which is like an experience. If you arrive at a deep state of being surrendered, this is a positive experience. If you are religious or have studied meditation, that depth is shown to be sacred. If you believe what you read, you will naturally allow it to happen to you.
Another possibility, which is seldom heard, is that pain is a vehicle that drives you to a depth that is hardly ever explored. Pain can break through any barriers that you have in your subconscious mind, but you have to be surrendered in that journey. This means that you are not focused on thinking and your mind does not react to the pain. Surrender is both difficult and easy when experiencing pain.
The difficult approach happens when you focus on the pain itself, which is the natural reaction. Just like when you were young and skinned your knee, your reaction was to put your hand on it. In the same way, when you feel intense pain, the natural reaction is to put your awareness on it.
The easy approach, which may not be easy for some, is to relax and focus beyond it. Relaxation leads to a comfortable surrender. This happens with a relaxed breath as you focus beyond the pain. Of course, you will still be aware of the pain, but that is not your main focus. There is a natural reaction to pain when you are relaxed, for it drives you deeper to a place that you are not familiar with. That journey has to be when you are surrendered, with an easy breath.
Fifty years ago, coaches of natural childbirth began to teach women to relax when they felt contractions. This would release the natural tendency to tense up, which would only complicate the birth process. This is similar to when you experience pain without surrender.
Spiritual seekers and yogis study years to attain this state of being, but intense pain when you surrender has the ability to take you there. In your mind, you have to decide what you would rather live with, focusing on intense pain or surrendering to a selfless reality. To reiterate, the benefit of pain is to surrender and let it lead you to that selfless reality.
© 2014 Marc Lerner