Here are three aspects to physical pain:
- Taking care of it in a sensible and conventional way. Go to the doctor to have it checked out. Do whatever is needed to take care of the physiological problem it reflects.
- How we relate to it. If we are caught in fear and struggle in relationship to the pain, it creates a whole world of suffering.
- Our experience of the pain itself. Do we see it as solid, an object? Or do we see more clearly how the mind creates its own experience of the pain?
It’s pretty self-explanatory how to take care of it in a conventional way.
Here are some ways we can explore how we relate to the pain and how our mind creates the experience of the pain itself:
Examine any beliefs about it. (The Work.) It’s too much. I can’t function. It’s too distracting. I am a victim. It’s pain. It’s a problem. I need it to go away.
Examine how the mind creates the experience of the threat in the pain, the pain itself, any commands for it to change. (Living Inquiries.) What images, words, and sensations make up my experience of a threat? What’s connected to these? What images, words, and sensations make up my experience of the pain itself? What images, words, and sensations make up the commands for it to change or go away?
Notice the space it happens within. The boundless space outside and inside of it.
As with anything else, when images, words, and sensations seem “glued together” there is a charge there. Sensations give the words and images a sense of substance, substance, and reality, and also charge. The images and words give the sensations meaning. In this case, that’s how the additional struggle and suffering is created. The mind creates it for itself. And by examining how it creates its own experience of the threat, pain, and commands, something shifts. Our relationship to the pain shifts, and our experience of the pain itself shifts. We tend to befriend it. The charge may even soften or fall away. (We can also examine any threat if it doesn’t, and any commands for it to change.)
We can also notice the space it happens within. Notice that any sense of boundaries is created by images (possibly connected with sensations that gives the image of a boundary a sense of substance and reality). And notice that the space outside and inside of the pain is one space. This tends to “dilute” the experience of pain, which also tends to shift our relationship to it and our experience of the pain itself.
- inquiry on physical pain
- change our relationship to the pain + our experience of the pain itself
- a lot of suffering (all?) comes from our relationship to it
- also, we tend to solidify our experience of it through our stories about it (including our images, subconscious ideas about it)