What it Means and What You Can Do
Oftentimes, people tend to relate to their body as a separate entity. “This thing” that Ram Dass amusingly describes as “the spacesuit we were made to wear at birth.” An awkward, sometimes uncomfortable and uncontrollable “body suit” that we feel disconnected to. When people say “mind-body-spirit,” it’s as though they speak about them as three separate entities, when in reality they are all are one, each reflecting the other perfectly.
Learning to turn up the voice of the body is invaluable. One of the biggest ways your body will speak to you is through pain. It is your body’s way of telling saying that there’s a problem. In other words, “you need to make a change.” It could be less stress, a lifestyle change, or perhaps a shift in perspective. Too often people think, “I don’t have the time and money,” or perhaps they don’t know how to deal with their pain. Many people chose to ignore their pain, but choosing to live in a semi-state of denial can cost you in the long run. It’s your health. Pain is a symptom that something is out of balance.
Caroline Myss says that your “your biology is your biography.” All of your life experiences, including your traumas, unresolved issues and feelings are recorded and stored in your body. It’s a big memory bank. In Chinese medicine, disease is often seen as a result of emotional imbalance. Past emotions or experiences that haven’t been fully resolved can get stuck in the body, leading to tension or blockage, and potentially disease. While there can be many causes of cancer, a primary culprit could very well be, blocked emotions.
Opening the meridians and channels of the body through acupuncture lets the “qi” or life force energy through the body. Qi flow and balance creates true health. In yoga, when people stretch open a part of their body, it can also open a past emotional trauma, and a big release happens. It’s not uncommon to feel intense emotions or cry in deep poses. This release is very healthy and keeps the energy flowing in the body system.
Eckhart Tolle refers to the “pain-body” as synonymous with the ego, saying that we experience pain when we resist the present moment. He describes the pain body as the culmination of your childhood pain and trauma, an energetic entity consisting of old emotions. You know that automatic reaction you have when your mother or father says, “shouldn’t you be…?”
What is one of our greatest fears? Social rejection. According to recent study, we perceive it the same way as physical pain. Social rejection actually hurts. Regardless of physical pain or emotional pain, the same areas of the brain are stimulated in response to a painful sensory experience. According to your brain, emotional pain = physical pain.
Everyone experiences pain to some degree or another in their life. For some reason, people often don’t want to admit being in pain. But having pain doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. Many of us suffer from stress and have bad backs and stiff bodies. Massage, yoga and acupuncture can help, and thankfully you don’t have do anything drastic to work out the kinks. You can start gently, with compassion.
Begin by giving yourself permission to fully feel. Instead of avoiding your pain, let yourself really experience and feel your physical pain and emotions. When you allow yourself to fully feel, you’re being present to what is there without judging or resisting what is. If you’re angry, let yourself be angry. Just be very aware of your anger. Give your true emotions a chance to exist and breathe. With space to be, you’ll notice that the feeling of pain begins to shift and will transform naturally.
Remember: feeling is healing. And that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly OK.
Notice when you tend to feel pain the most, and what triggers it. Treat your pain as you would a small child. Practice compassion towards your pain. Embrace it. Allow it. Take time to listen and ask: what is the message behind your physical pain?
What would help you to release it?
The more you change your perspective, and accept life, the less your pain will become. Being aware of pain as it arises, instead of resisting it, allows it to heal. It is not about becoming pain free and having the perfect body, but about accepting the body you have now. It might feel like a spacesuit at times, but it’s the one you have for life – so why not take awesome care of it?
Sura Kim is a speaker, author and yoga instructor. She is the creator of Sura Flow “Self-Discovery Yoga,” an integrative & intuitive approach for healing. Sura Flow is a unique synthesis of meditation, yoga, healing and coaching. You can learn more about her work at www.suracenter.com.
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