It seems to me in our journey living with pain, that one of the central ingredients that is really useful is to cooperate with pain. To allow what is showing up here and now today in my life the space to be here. Just this attitude has a tansformative effect and impact on me. When I agree with what life has brought this very day, this very moment, my relationship to it changes, transforms. It sounds basic, to allow things to be as they are, to go with the flow.
Many people use this “go with the flow” in a cliched way. For most people who live with chronic pain telling them to go with the flow will often illicit a response like, well, to put it mildly, f *(*&*&()) off, you have no idea what f $#%#%%….its like living with this pain. If you were in my shoes I don’t think you would be “advising” me to go with the flow!
Those of you who live with serious chronic pain will know exactly what I mean….when other well meaning people advise us about how to deal with pain, yet obviously have ZERO personal experience of it, it just doesn’t work. They just actually don’t understand what it’t like. For some time now I’ve just learnt that there well intentioned advice is just that. Well intentioned advice.
Yet the fact remains there is a way to go with the flow of pain. To allow what shows up today to be here, to have the space in my life, to have a place in my life. When pain shows up, life has brought this, life is showing up as pain. It seems pretty obvious that pain often shows up as a warning that something is wrong and that something needs to be attended to and fixed, nobody likes being in physical pain, and everyone has the right to live a pain free life. Yet what happens to those of us who cannot be fixed, that no matter what medicine, alternative therapies, or whatever healing modalities we try just don’t work?
In my experience this is where we need to turn to to a dimension of life beyond our normal day to day experience. This dimension is often accessed by prayer, surrender, and just simply giving up and giving over to a presence, energy, God, Being, Christ, whatever name you put to it, that is deeper, vaster , stronger, more intelligent, than the very pain that I experience now in my body.
Turning towards the pain, accepting it, allowing it, even welcoming it, WITH an orientation of surrender to a deeper dimension of ourselves, of God, of Being is the only way that works that I have disovered to live in freedom WITH pain. Its like some sort of miracle happens. This is a fact of my experience repetitively, not with mild pain, but with the most severe level of pain that I have ever experienced.
Time and time again, Grace came and showed me this way, that through acceptance, surrender and allowing severe physical pain to simply be here, something more comes, that something more is a mystery, a vast and great presence that can and does hold the pain. It holds it with care, with love, and with complete and utter compassion. That is the balm we need to live well with pain.
We need to do our part though, our part in living well with pain is to practice cooperating with the pain as life brings it. We do all we can to alleviate it, we take our medications, we follow our programme of things that we know helps ourselves, but the most important thing we can do is allow and cooperate with life, showing up as pain.