To overcome pain treat it like a bully

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This post is by Brenda Evers, a valued member of Kate’s blog team.

Pain is hard to define.  Some have defined it as an emotion, some as a sensation, others as a symptom or a medical problem.

And as hard as it is to define, it seems even harder to heal.  In fact, there is so little confidence in healing it, most researchers and writers speak in terms of managing or coping with pain, not healing it.  But judging by the many best sellers related to the topic of pain, and the large body of research results and commentary available on the web, there is still hope for an end to pain.

Efforts to relieve pain by surgery or drug therapies have a long history.  A more recent trend is to look for alternative solutions.  Methods in integrative medicine strive to combine medicine with acupuncture, diet, hydrotherapy, exercise, meditation or hypnosis, among other therapies, to overcome or reduce pain. 

In some of these alternative therapies, there is a focus on learning mental exercises that bring peace to a person’s thinking, and this approach has shown to reduce pain.

A related but not exactly the same (and less known) is a spiritual approach that shifts a patient from mere mental exercises to connecting with a person’s sense of a greater power – with the divine and sacred.  This is useful because, for many people, their initial attitude is often one of powerless and hopelessness, even submission.  But accessing a higher power allows one to take the opposite attitude. And, I have found this to be a more helpful way to deal with pain.  Taking a mental stand against it is an ameliorative, even healing power.

But why would that be?  Why would rebelling against pain help to heal it?  The answer for me lies in aligning my thought with a higher power than pain, a spiritual power. I call this power God.  It is explained in something that Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian healer,  wrote in her 19th century classic on spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures..  She said:  “As human thought changes from one stage to another of conscious pain and painlessness, sorrow and joy, — from fear to hope and from faith to understanding, — the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by material sense.” Her research and healing practice led her to a conclusion that thought can change until it is entirely governed by a divine influence, which she called Soul, and this divine influence brings healing.

My experience with this approach to pain started when I made a mental leap in my thinking.   A friend had suggested to me that pain is similar to a bully.  That idea really intrigued me.  When you think about it, what is a bully?  One internet definition of bullying says “Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others.”  That is the way pain seems to me.  It intimidates, and makes me feel coerced to stop all other activities.  Just like a bully on the playground, it gets my full attention.

Sometime after my friend told me this, I was overwhelmed by pain.  I don’t recall now whether it was a headache or pain from an injury.  I just know that it hurt a lot, and it felt mean—just like a bully.

I asked myself.  What would I do if a bully came to the door of my house and wanted to come in and take all my treasured possessions?  Wouldn’t I rebel and not allow it?  Likewise, this pain was at the door of my consciousness demanding to come in.  It was taking away my composure and joy.  Was I going to allow it?

I decided “no.” I took a stand. With that stance, I felt uplifted and aligned with that power.

Soon, I felt the pain decrease and eventually fade completely away.   And this didn’t just happen once.  I have felt the release from pain many times since.  I have come to rely on this spiritual approach more than the painkillers I took in the past.  When I refuse to be bullied by pain, I am healed.

Brenda, a member of Kate’s blog team, is a writer who loves to learn about and share with readers the connection between spirituality and health. In addition, she is a Christian Science Practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.  She and her family spent many wonderful years in Southern California and now are happy to have returned to beautiful Maryland.