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What is the Meaning of Pain?
Is There a Message in Our Pain?

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Ask A Healer Spiritual Wellness Series

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Pain Relief Exercises

by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted

What happens when we ignore pain?

If you were a safety engineer in a nuclear power plant and an alarm went off – Let’s say it is the FIRE ALARM for the boiler room – Would you call the electrician and ask them to turn the alarm off or would you immediately check out the boiler room? Of course, you know the answer. You would assume there was a problem, or the alarm would not have gone off. Only after you had physically checked the alarm location would you have questioned whether something was wrong with the alarm itself.

The body is a most exquisite spiritual alarm system, responding in a millisecond to the slightest mental, emotional or physical imbalance, anywhere within the body. Yet, we tend to blame the alarm and put off checking the boiler room, so to speak. The only time the body system doesn’t work instantly (sending out alarms of pain, illness, mental struggle or emotional upset to our mind), is when we’ve decided to turn the alarm off. It is possible to reroute our own electrical response circuitry. We override our system when it seems necessary for our survival.

When there is childhood trauma, for example, many switch off the body alarm because they don’t feel safe to voice it. Then, over time, a traumatized person will not realize they have shut the natural alarm system down. The myriad small, gentle signals of slight imbalance sound out without conscious awareness. If this shutting down of the natural instinct for self-preservation would actually heal past trauma, it might be useful past the childhood years when it may feel necessary to be quiet.

However, not responding to an alarm in the body doesn’t put out the fire of damage any more than ignoring the warning of a boiler fire will make the fire stop. If a person continues in this manner long enough there is eventually such a backlog of unanswered alarms that the system is overwhelmed. Just as the engineer who would opt to focus on the alarm itself instead of tracing the cause, it is possible to ignore our own “boiler fires” until they consume us in acts or rage, terminal illness, or insanity. Turning off an alarm doesn’t make the reason for the alarm go away but allows whatever is out of balance to become more and more unbalanced, unhindered and wild.

You are the only one who is with your body system all the time. You are either aware of your electrical alarm system and responding to it on a moment-to-moment basis, you are in some state of partial awareness–catching some signals but missing others, or you are running on automatic pilot (using the same programmed responses you’ve used since childhood, without awareness of other options). Most of us fluctuate between these three levels.

If you deal with any kind of chronic pain at all, it is due to your tendency (up until now), to blame the alarm and repeatedly shut it off rather than checking the cause. If you deal with any kind of serious illness, it is because you have (in the past) shut part of your alarm system down and are now experiencing the inevitable overload to your body system. In learning to allow healing of the human body, communications between the personality self and the body system must be clear.

The natural state of the body is perfect health. Any deviation from perfect health is the result of some way we are not honoring our spiritual selves. Any time a physical, emotional or mental imbalance is present, it is absolutely and always true that a spiritual imbalance is present. For permanent healing of the human body, the ultimate goal is to utilize the alarm system of the body to investigate the spiritual state of the being and take corrective, holistic action to bring the being back to a state of living that is consistent with their spiritual path.

It isn’t about religion or life purposes. It is about living in accordance with the spiritual being each person is, beyond all those ideas. It’s about being true to your Spirit. The trueness of your Spirit Self can be communicated to you, clearly and precisely, by your own body system. When you are living in accordance with what you believe to be progressive, joyful experience, your body will respond by functioning efficiently and in good health.

When you go against what you instinctively know to be loving and good choices in life, your body will let you know by speaking through the language of the body. At first, the alarms may be subtle–excess tension, slight depression, muscle aches, sleeplessness, congestion, headaches, etc. Then, they may progress to pain, memory problems, chronic fatigue, spasms. Finally, illness will manifest and some form of action will be required.

To re-establish communications with your body system, devote time to remembering how your body speaks. You can do this by beginning to pay immediate attention to any feelings of pain, nausea, spasms, tightness, itching, etc., as well as sudden emotional or mental shifts that seem to take you out of balance. The key is to notice immediately when your body is sending out a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual alarm and to stop action immediately, long enough to notice what was really going on with you at the moment the alarm sounded. What were you thinking about, or getting ready to say? Were you in fear? Dread? Is there unexpressed anger, or other emotion, associated with the current situation? Were you reacting to attachment or expectation? Were you unconsciously resisting what is?

Once you are clear about where the imbalance originated, immediately thank your body for the awareness it has given you and take corrective action. Say an affirmation, say “no”, say “I’m sorry”, do some stretching, take a walk, take a hot shower, smudge, do some toning or play music to relax you. Whatever needs to be done to restore balance, do that.

If it is unclear what needs to be done, just acknowledge the pain as an alarm and do some deep breathing into the pain area. Your answer may come during the breathing, in dreamtime, etc. but it will come if you persist in paying attention. I’ve found the body to be quite literal in it’s communications.

For example, pain in the ear might be associated with hearing (not wanting to hear something, hearing something inaccurately, missing a Spirit message in dreamtime, failing to hear something important, etc.) while blurry eyes can be indicative of something you are trying not to see or something you are not seeing clearly. Even though you may believe your vision is clear on an ego level, it may be unclear on a spiritual level.

Stomach-aches may point to some aspect of your reality you find “hard to digest” while colon problems indicate a toxic situation in your life, or something you need to “eliminate”.

Problems in the sexual organs point to surfacing abuse issues or some imbalance in your sexual relationships, your attitudes about your sexuality, etc.

The specific nature of the pain or injury can also be illuminating. A slight bump to the right hand might be a gentle reminder to pay attention to taking or receiving (depending on the circumstances surrounding the time of injury) while a broken right hand would indicate a much more severe or urgent message. If we learn to pay attention to the “slight bumps”, we don’t have to experience the full-scale alarm later on.

Dedicate more time via group work or training. An integrative Breathwork series or weekly meditation class will be good support now. By meeting with the same people again and again, you create an energy vortex by the group intention, which allows more work, at an increasingly rapid pace.

Use the energies of movement. Free form dance and stretching are great ways to keep blockages to a minimum. Dance or stretch while listening to lectures on tape, or subliminals. Also, integrate slow, rhythmic stretching as part of your meditative process, along with toning. You will develop a new sense of your body, the ways you hold tension, and the locations of “cell memories” that may need release. Get to know your physical form and it’s ways of communicating imbalance or blockage to you. In particular, get in the habit of stretching the neck and shoulders at any time you are tensing about a situation or potential problem. You may be able to reach a point of clarity without developing undue stress, if you learn to keep the energy moving throughout the mental process.

Use the frequencies of sound. Whether you play music by notes or not, try “Spirit Playing”. Sit at the piano or drum and focus on an issue, blockage, question, or point of emotional energy in your life. Take a few deep breaths and simply begin to play. Though you may have some initial resistance to this–the mind saying it is impossible, or the fear of playing something that sounds discordant–the music will move into a place of power within you if you allow it. Just play the energies, letting Spirit direct your hands on the keys or your rhythm on the drum. At some point, you will know that you are actively channeling off negatives, channeling in positives, or balancing something within yourself. If you work as a healer, you may also find yourself channeling harmful emotions for others, so that they may reach a point of balance. Do not be surprised if they call as you finish playing–it happens often here! My husband, Mac, introduced me to this way of playing and it has proven to be a wonderful and powerful tool for me. “Spirit Playing” has assisted in me in numerous absent healing situations, as well as helping me, personally, to balance emotional disturbances in my own energy field.

Take a megamineral supplement. Our connection to Mother Earth (physically) has been incredibly compromised by the leaching of vital minerals from our farmlands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported several decades ago, that vital nutrients were completely absent from the commercially farmed soil and, therefore, absent from our fruits, vegetables, and grains. Trace minerals, which we used to get from our foods, are quite often not present in the previous quantities but can be easily replaced by taking a colloidal mineral supplement. The effect of taking these minerals is that you will be more strongly connected to Earth energies and more able to draw on them. Daily supplementation with these formulas may only be necessary for a short time (it took me about a week to feel a vibrating, solid reconnecting with the mineral energies of the earth), after which time you may only need to take the minerals every other day, twice weekly, etc. Let your body dictate the dosage.

Interact with Animals. Pets, and cats in particular, are wonderful medicine for trying times. Stroking an animal can center, ground, and even lower blood pressure in some individuals. Animals are great teachers, and will provide almost daily lessons for you. They can facilitate your dreamtime journeys in new ways.