Nobody wants to feel pain. In fact, we try to avoid it as much as possible. Often, when something starts to hurt, our instinctive response is to remove ourselves from the source. An example of this survival mechanism is the involuntary reflex that ensures that you will quickly remove your hand from a hot stove.
Pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is something that we would rather not experience. When we start to feel something that we do not like, the survival mechanism kicks in and we instinctually close ourselves off from feeling the undesirable sensations and any affiliated emotions. We get so fixated on avoiding the pain that we never allow ourselves to examine the emotions that may be rooted underneath.
Your mind has worked itself up to believe that any pain is bad. Subconsciously, even the slightest appearance of an undesired feeling triggers you to lock yourself into a position that prevents you from feeling it. Conscious awareness of the part of the body that houses the discomfort gets diverted by limiting the depth of breath and movement in that area.
In an effort to distract you from feeling the actual emotion, the mind gets preoccupied with fear and avoidance. The anticipation may actually be worse than if you had actually allowed yourself to go into the pain. Before you can really let go of any undesirable emotion you first have to feel it fully.
Prior to the series of events that arose from the brain infection, my initial symptom was an intense headache. During my rehabilitation from the effects of the injury, I would panic at the slightest inclination of the start of a headache. I was terrified that the headache was an indication of another attack on my system. I ensured that the headache would not worsen by quickly requesting more medication to dampen the pain. But after a time, I made a different choice. Instead of medically numbing the symptom, I allowed myself to feel what I had been so afraid of and discovered that my fear was greater than the pain. I soon came to the realization that I had already endured the most painful part of the illness and survived. Yes, the headaches were painful, but I was able to endure and am stronger for it. The knee-jerk reaction to avoid the headache at all costs was based on my fears that I was relapsing and would be symptomatic again. I was only able to face my fear and discover my inner strength when I found the courage to go into my pain and feel it in its entirety.
What would you discover if you allowed yourself into the areas that you keep shielded by pain or discomfort?
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” – Eckhart Tolle