let’s talk about pain, pt2

That meditation CD that made me go to sleep (god bless it) also first demonstrated the idea of getting curious about pain. Watching it. Feeling it and noticing if it changes, how it presents. This was a very useful practice as well. Nearly a decade later I would learn from the Feminine Power course to go further and inquire from the pain into age, size and origin – this works with emotional pain as well as physical pain. It can be transformative. But it’s not always possible. Sometimes the pain is simply too distracting to find the part of yourself that’s curious, and sometimes I’m just tucked away in a corner of my psyche rocking myself back and forth to endure it.

But, even then I’ve learned to apply mantra to the pain. At first, for me it was the Pilgrim’s Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me) but it changes. I did Ashaya’s Ascension and use those phrases sometimes. Also, the statements in Paul Selig’s work get a lot of play when i am in that state. And it’s helpful. It gives me something to do other than just be in agony. It keeps agony company. Speaking of which…

About 5 years ago I started “The Presence Process” which is very powerful and transformative in many ways. Something in this process had me begin a practice of visualizing a porch close to the one when I lived at “camp” (imagine a beautiful porch overlooking water and foliage and general splendor, with a couple of Adirondack chairs. This process (and i’m pretty sure it’s not part of the actual instructions) had me inviting my pain to come back to the porch with me and have a seat. I’d offer it lemonade. But mostly we’d sit. Coexisting, looking at something beautiful. Sometimes I’d get insight into the pain and sometimes I wouldn’t, but separating myself from the pain, giving it respect and attempting to develop mutual equanimity through nature has been a very powerful tool for me, too.

Recently, I heard a story about Swami P, founder of the Vedanta Society of SoCal. For some reason he had to undergo surgery without anesthesia. He remembered All Is Brahma, and thereby pain is Brahma, too. He approached the pain as Brahma and, well, as the story goes his being was so still through the surgery they thought he died and he woke up with a sheet over his face. But the moral of the story to ME is just remembering this pain is part of God and approaching it thusly. This makes an enormous difference in my experience of the pain whenever, of course, i can remember to use it.

These are the big strategies, but I’m going to explore this more through these days that I can anticipate will have the practical world of surgery coming up…

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