Healing is a journey; does it have an end? What does it mean to be healed? Well broadly it means to be whole, unbroken, mended, complete. But what if you've experienced an un-mendable loss, such as losing a limb, developing some kind of disability that has no remedy? As we age, often our abilities that we had in youth, diminish to varying degrees. However, many people advanced in age will tell you that there has also been growth in other areas. Maybe they feel wiser, have more compassion, have a larger perspective on life. Does healing mean returning to a previous state, an ideal condition of body? I don't believe so.
There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain, is a signal that our body is creating, in response to stimuli. Sometimes that stimuli is hidden, unknown, unresolvable. However, what we do with that pain is what does, or does not create suffering. Suffering is the inability to endure, resolve, or lessen the pain. This pain can be physical, such as a headache; emotional such as grief, and mental such as anxiety and angst. Mental and emotional pain are almost inseparable from each other, and there is more and more scientific evidence to show that physical pain is closely linked to emotional and mental pain.
We deal with pain essentially in three ways. One, we remove the stimuli, by taking our hand off of the stove, by leaving the abusive situation, by following our natural impulse and changing something. However sometimes we don't know how to cure the cause. Sometimes that is out of our control.
The second thing that we can do is numb out, disassociate, medicate. This doesn't change anything except our experience of the pain. It diminishes our awareness of our own signalling. In the process we often lose our sensitivity to all things, including the good stuff. This is the chronic state of most of the world. This is the multi trillion dollar world of pharmaceuticals, drugs, alcohol, and every other avoidance tactic in the book.
Thirdly, we can re-frame, we can experience it differently. Humans are incredibly adaptable. It is what we're good at. Its why we've stuck around, and its the hope for our survival. We have to adapt to the tremendous challenges that we are now throwing on our own path. Our capacity for this is truly remarkable. In fact, the dis-associative capacity we have is an adaptive technique.
With intention, and adaptation, often through learning new skills, we can interpret the stimuli in a new way, perhaps at first by talking about it in a new way. For example, we can call pain, bold sensation. We can describe it numerically. This is a method used in western medicine to take some of the emotional content out of the physical pain, while giving a patient more language to communicate the nuances.
Things like meditation and mindfulness can help people to just observe the sensations, and feelings, while also self regulating, guiding their awareness to other sensations that are also present; such as their breath, the sensation of relaxation, the sounds in the room. Being exquisitely present, can lessen the fear around the sensation of pain, and make it just a thing, without a story. Not that it shouldn't have a story, but in this moment, instead of being caught in the story, we can let go of it and find some peace, some lightness. The pain may or may not diminish, but our experience of it can change from suffering, to just an awareness of sensation.
I know many people with a lot of self care knowledge, who still experience health issues, pain, acute emotion. In fact those very tuned in people, those sensitive people are often more effected than others. Their senses are sharp and in tune, their bodies give them all sorts of signs and messages, but they also have the tools and practice to just witness these things; and sometimes have no suffering. They take it in stride. They are gracefully not healed.
My own experience of this is pretty profound. In some ways I feel more and more wound-able, even more sensitive, more vulnerable and yet I find that my spirit and my mind are filling the gap. That I'm letting go of the idea of perfect bodies and perfect health. There is a paradox here, because in that letting go I find an energy and vitality that is so magical, so trans-formative, that it makes me laugh out loud, makes me shameless and fearless. Its a voice of intuition, a voice from spirit that says that I don't need to fear anything, and that is a tapping into the true source of health.
So on one hand, the healing journey never ends, there will always be wounding, and loss and pain, but in that, even through that, we can tap into the real thing that we're looking for, not just the alleviation of suffering, but the true essence of health. Be-ing fear-less. Be-ing spirit. Heavenly Embodiment.