Healing Inner and Outer Pain – Part 3 of 3
I am always doing inner work in other areas, too, so it wasn’t just the sciatica motivating me, but it did give me more concrete motivation. This inner work, rather than chiropractic or anything else, actually led to the greatest improvement in my pain condition.
The greatest reduction of my actual physical pain came when I was sitting in contemplation and there came a moment when I was able to forgive my father for something – I don’t recall what – and my sciatica pain immediately dropped by about seventy-five percent. Immediately! This supports the age old teachings that essentially all suffering is born of some form of unforgiveness of grief and grievance. All that goes on in the body is something that has its origins in the mind. Our unkind and frightened beliefs have us at war with ourselves and others and our bodies, relationships and lives in general pay the price.
If you think about it, any time you are holding onto a grievance or are judging another, which is just not forgiving them for being the way they are, you are causing yourself pain. We are taught to complain and judge as if that would solve our problems. We think that judging others for their faults or differences gives us a higher social status, even when nobody really ever knows who we are judging for what. Think about that for a minute. You are up, they are down. People with a more open heart know this is painful, and their compassion prevents them from judging.
Those who don’t see the pain in it don’t really see their own pain, but it’s there. I have seen the difference between being in what I would call an everyday sort of judgmental state, and suddenly letting go of all judgment. I recall one day when I had been doing prayer-mantras, thanking God for healing my mind. After a while I noticed that everything I was looking at as I drove the freeways and roads of Las Vegas on my errands that day had a sort of screen of negativity over it, but I could see it was my own negativity. I was judging everything is a subtle way.
Noticing this I next found myself able to just stop the judgment and just see things as they were. The difference was amazing. On, off, on, off; I saw both sides. Again, it was amazing. When I let go of judgment I felt really good, happy, and everything I saw as I drove looked okay. It was peaceful. In the judgment mode I found I was indeed in a subtle but clear state of mental and emotional pain, and I could see that it was all my doing.
Observe yourself in this way. When you look at things and people, are your perhaps maintaining a low grade disdain or disapproval of them? As I sit here and look at my messy desk I can see that I have a bit of a judgment haze going on still. I have to ask myself what does that do for me? Does it get me to neaten up? No. Does it excuse it to others, winning points for me because at least I’m expressing disapproval of it as they may be? No. Does it make me happy? No.
Judgment is painful. Judgmental people are a pain. Nothing good comes of it. I would have to say that ending judgment and learning forgiveness are essential to a pain free life.
So this post is primarily testimony to you that the pain of the pain you are in is your own creation. What you do with this information is up to you. For those suffering physical pain it is certainly a massive challenge to transcend the experience of pain in this way, and a major achievement in one’s personal psychology. Yet a broader application, that of looking at the distressing situations of your life and finding yourself able to be at peace, even happy in the face of them – and especially to forgive them – will transform you life forever.
It takes determined practice to change your life long responses to pain or displeasure of any sort. One has to change core beliefs and behaviors that depend on the idea of being helpless and crying out to others to fix things in your life. While it’s fine to ask for help when you need it, a deeper understanding of the ego tells you that all of its emotional distress is based on getting others to fix things, or around pinning the blame on them for what went wrong. What you will face in this very worthwhile task is a brain that has grown neuron connections to support the ideas of blame and helplessness. Yet by practicing other ways of thinking you grow new neuron connections and those that are disused are gradually reabsorbed.
Don’t let the challenge discourage you. Think of it like learning anything you have learned before, such a playing a musical instrument, typing, dancing, lines for a play, a language and so forth. All you are doing is training yourself to do something new, and something that is really closer to your heart. In fact, underneath the learned negative behavior is your true nature, which is loving, forgiving, peaceful and strong. So you are really just learning to be who you really are. Take heart. There is great hope. Don’t beat yourself up when you see you still have more to learn. Feeling bad would just be more of the same old way of thinking. Just keep practicing. Be happy you know what to do.
PS: I did, after several months, discover that Advil worked perfectly for my sciatica pain, without addiction or high cost. No other medication did. I did at times have to take three pills, but it worked. Even so, I didn’t discover the ibuprofen trick for a while, and as you can tell, that was certainly an education, one for which I am grateful.