Pain is Good For You

In the United States, we are constantly given the message that pain is our enemy. We are taught to believe that we should be happy and comfortable, that life should be convenient and fun, that if we are unhappy or in pain, we should take a pill to take that pain away. We go to great lengths to avoid pain, from drinking too much, going from one relationship to another, working relentlessly, isolating ourselves or other mind-altering substances (to name a few). Many of the clients I see have problems now-not because they had pain-but because of the consequences they now suffer from avoiding that pain. Many people stay in miserable situations and refuse to follow their dreams out of fear of pain. What lengths do you go to in order to avoid pain in your life?
If pain was truly the enemy, why would such a sophisticated system (the body and mind) find it necessary to keep imposing it upon the living creatures of the earth?
Joseph Campbell was a gifted teacher, lecturer, and expert in comparative mythology and religion. He once said, based on looking at the common characteristics of heroes in stories spanning across the globe and through thousands of years, “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
Pain is your greatest indicator that something in your life needs to be healed or acknowledged. It is your body and mind’s way of trying to help you live a better life. It is your pain that points to the origin of the problem, and can be your most valuable source of personal growth.
Historically, shamans also go through a process of purification by pain and suffering. In the process of healing themselves, the shaman becomes a “wounded healer”. Joan Halifax (The Shaman’s Initiation) says, “Those who have gone through this initiatory crisis are often more gifted, heartier, more full of humor, and wiser than most individuals in his or her culture. It is clear that the rigors of the initiatory journey, combined with the challenge of the shaman’s work, usually require more than a little strength of mind and body. These experiences of suffering, which are usually felt as defeat, a failure of strength, I discovered are the basis of personal power”
There are times when nothing can be done to ease the pain. Times when the hurt is so big in the body, mind or spirit-that there is nothing to do but wait and persevere. Everyone has a choice in these situations whether to use this pain for destructive purposes or to grow in compassion, dignity and courage. You can use your pain to justify rage, bitterness, and contempt, or you can allow it to grow you into something more than you were before. If you can use your knowledge of pain and healing to help another who is in pain, you will be a beacon of inspiration and courage in the world.

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5 Responses to Pain is Good For You

  1. Shawn Thompson says:

    Great Blog Anna, Love the pic’s along with the messages, I’ve just read the latest post, The Pic set the tone LOL 100% Pain. Love it, First thing that came to mind was a scene in “League of their Own” with Gena Davis saying it was just to Hard, Tom Hanks said “Thats what makes it Great, It is supposed to Be Hard or everyone can do It” “Thats what makes it Special”

    I Hope all is well and your finding Balance in Married Life, I wished I had more time to have Spent with you and Kevin, Please add my email and keep in touch. …Shawn


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