The body is a messenger
The body is a messenger. Our body tells us exactly what is and isn’t going well! (You may have noticed – especially if you’re a runner!)
It often uses pain as its means for delivering its messages, a) because pain gets our attention pretty swiftly! And b) because the body has no other way of communicating what it needs ‘us’ (our consciousness) to know.
So pain isn’t the actual thing that’s wrong, pain is the symptom simply pointing out what’s out of kilter…
The body always lets us know directly what is amiss. We ‘just’ have to decipher its messages.
Our body responds to the reactions that we have to events and experiences.
How we react shows itself in the physical body.
Quite literally – we so often end up holding tension in our shoulders when we’re invested in our work on the computer. Working on the computer isn’t inherently the problem. The problem lies in the emotional reaction that we hold on to, and don’t let go of, from our work on the computer.
And often, this is akin to carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.
This old adage rattles around in our parlance for a reason! It’s a very clear analogy of what we’re experiencing when we hold on to tension here…
The body is acting as the physical embodiment of the mental-emotional reactions that we have to situations in our lives.
It’s not simply the housing which ‘we’ use to transport us where we wish to go.
It’s a super sensitive, two-way communication system between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. It is, in fact, the physical manifestation of our subconscious mind.
And in this way, as and when we experience pain, it’s worth stopping and taking note of what our body is really saying to us!
In the West though, we have largely become disconnected from our ability to decipher what our body is telling us. (It’s a function of being so identified in the material, competitive, masculine model of the world for so many generations…)
Once we start to realise that our body is talking to us and is one endless series of codes – waiting for us to decipher them! – then we being the process of becoming empowered by unveiling its messages.
(And even start to change our reaction to the weight of the world…!)
Avoiding pain-relief, is clearly not the same as avoiding relief from pain!
Over the years that I’ve been a clinician, there has been a increasing trend for folk to reject using pain-relief.
‘I try to avoid pain relief’, they say.
It’s an interesting one, when you think about it – there are these little pills which will dispel all of our discomfort…and people, in their droves I might add!, have decided that they no longer wish to take them.
People have decided that they want to feel their pain. Or, more to the point, they’ve decided that they wish to know when their pain has gone under its own accord…and that it’s not being masked, artificially. We clearly want to be in control!
So people don’t wish to avoid relief from their pain – of course not! – they simply wish to know when it’s gone, ‘by itself’…
We actually want to be conscious of our healing…
So when people say, ‘I don’t like taking tablets’, I always say in reply, ‘good’. Not because I think that I know what they should or shouldn’t do, but in acknowledgement.
In acknowledgement that they’re ready to be conscious to the process of healing. Acknowledgment that if we’re open to fully experiencing our pain, we can take the leap to understanding that we can resolve our pain ourselves.
Pain doesn’t go ‘by itself’. It goes because it no longer needs to be there; when the circumstances around its manifestation are no longer holding it in place in our body, pain eases.
Taking a leap of faith
If we manifest our pain ourselves (through the tensions that we hold on to as a reaction to the situations that show themselves in our lives), surely it’s equally as possible to manifest its resolve as well?
That seems like a bit of a leap of faith, doesn’t it?! That we are the ones who have the power to determine how our pain resolves.
But it’s the only natural, logical, conclusion, isn’t it? If we can create it by our own tensions and unreleased emotions, by the same measure we can shift these too, can’t we…?
An integrated approach
Since Descartian times, Western medicine and anatomical exploration has tidied away the body into physical little pigeonholes; ‘aha, this is the shoulder, and here is everything that we know about the shoulder’…or, ‘see the brain here, this is the master of all other function…’
Now, this model has certainly been changing over the last 4-5 decades as (very very slowly) the new integrated, interconnected approach has been unfolded by science to replace these old-school, compartmentalised approach.
We now know that the systems of the body – the digestive system, immune system, the endocrine system and the neural system – are having a backwards and forwards conversation with one another. It’s no longer a ‘top-down’ brain-oriented model (hurrah!), it’s now clearly understood that that the workings of the mind-body complex are initiated from the body’s ‘knowing’…through a transference of ‘information’.
Or intelligence…Or energy.
Life, as we know it, is a body-centric, ever-changing, integrated, energetic experience.
(Rather than a fixed, head-driven, the brain-runs-the-entire-show, distinct and discrete idea…)
Looking versus seeing
Don’t we love a scan? Isn’t it extraordinary that we’re able to see inside and take pictures of the body?! Even real-time ones, if we want!
The capabilities and the developments of modern technology are truly wonderful.
And yet our fixation with ‘having a scan’ to determine the nature of our physical ail is fundamentally flawed… For two reasons.
Firstly, the body is constantly changing, which of course we know from just noticing our feet throughout the day! But let’s consider the spine (because as a society, we especially love to have a scan of the lumbar spine when we’ve got back pain…) – the spine is a wonder of change, all throughout the day. Not only is the level of hydration in the discs naturally changing during our waking and sleeping hours, but also the appearance of our discs will change with function (even within the hour!).
And what’s even more curious is that pain-free spines will show ‘abnormalities’ on scans!
Register that for a moment. If a back that’s experiencing no pain, can show with bulges here and there…what correlation can we attribute to the appearance of the spine in relation to the symptoms that we’re experiencing?
The truth is, very little, in fact.
Particularly when we take a static snapshot of one discrete area of the body, when really it’s a whole, moving, living, breathing spine.
What our ‘one-moment-in-time’ peers inside can tell us can lead to mis-representations, labels, assumptions and information that we come to believe (mostly because we’re told it by a ‘doctor’. No cynicism here – the ‘man (woman) in a white coat’ phenomenon is a thing!). And also because, who’s generally going round scanning ‘happy’ backs…just to compare?!
The real issue is that we have become obsessed by this ‘scan the insides to see my problem’ technology because it exists.
It has developed as a further step down the Descartian compartmentalised idea of the body being separate from the mind. The second issue with scans is here – that we have become ever more insistent that the *structure* is the problem here, and furthermore, that one particular structure is ‘to blame’ for our pain… When really the system works as a whole. Scans, and ‘blaming’ something specific, very much reiterates an erroneous separatist view of the body.
When really the issue is energetic.
Yes, the body will show inflammation at areas of irritation…but the real question to be answered as we look to heal from our pain, is ‘why the irritation?’, what’s contributing to our discomfort, which experiences and how are our responses to those situations keeping us hooked in a non-flowing, stuck loop?
Which energetic circumstances are leading to our energetic issues?
(And although we do need to look inside to answer these questions, we actually don’t need to see inside.)