Where is Freedom in Chronic Pain?


Your True Self is life, being, and love. Love is what you were made for, and love is who you are.

—Father Richard Rohr

Once upon a time, a beautiful beacon of lighta dazzling refraction of the one pure, divine source of all energy—decided to take the temporary form of a human being, to immerse completely in the human experience on Earth.

The beacon of light asked its source, "What will life in this temporary form be like? What is my purpose?"

The source of all energy gently replied, "Your only purpose is to remember who you are, again and again. You are perfect, unconditional love. You will, at times, experience yourself as incomplete, unworthy, lacking, and fearful. But, take heart; it is in those very moments that you are being reminded—pointed back to—your truest, “realest” self. You are so much more than experience arising in a single moment in time. Immerse in experience, of course. Fully embrace the emotions and sensations of experience. But, don't be captivated by them. Don’t become mesmerized by the meaning your human mind gives experience. Remember that your human form is incapable of knowing the full truth. Life itself is trustworthy; your perception is not. Remember that you are only capable seeing the tiniest fraction of the truth. Your peace, freedom, and joy are not tied up in the fleeting shifts of energy of experience. So, hold it loosely. Always come back to who you are prior to momentary experience. You are timeless, infinite potential. You are unconditional love."


When you think about chronic pain or any other type of persistent discomfort, what comes to mind? If you suffer with prolonged periods of pain yourself, you may feel deep compassion and tenderness for others who are fighting a similar battle. You may know what it's like to have your experience dismissed or belittled. Perhaps you know the sting of having someone misguidedly suggest that your suffering is somehow the result of your own doing, your own creation—an inevitable consequence of your stress level or your negative attitude. Maybe you've even found yourself judging or despising your pain, wishing it would simply go away.

But, what if you could zoom out just a bit, and take a broader look at chronic pain and symptoms? What if you could look at the experience of pain through a very different lens?

Beyond the reaches of your protective, interpretive mind, there is an unperturbed space that precedes conscious thought. It is untouched by the shadows of conditioned beliefs. Some call this the healing space. I call it the space where the voice of truth and love reside.

In the beginning, when life arose as YOU in baby-form, there was just one voice; the voice of truth; the voice of the soul. It was pure, free from the contamination of concepts and beliefs; free from judgments, guilt, shame, and fear. Over time, a second voice was acquired, the the voice of the narrator. This was not a mistake or miscalculation of the Universe. It was simply a new lens through which to experience life on this planet. This new voice began narrating your day, telling you how to make meaning of the world around you.

As you grew, that little narrator voice grew louder, adding layers of concepts and beliefs. You began to see yourself less as part of the seamless flow of life and more as a separate entity experiencing life. Experience began to feel personal, as if it was something happening to you rather than something arising in the seamless flow of life. Separation became more than a story; it became your mind’s reality.

As you became more identified with the story of who you are rather than the truth of who you are, you innocently took on the weight of false beliefs, wearing them like a heavy cloak.

At some point, the weight of your spurious beliefs—the ones that had been quietly added to you over years and decades—became too uncomfortable to bear.

Hidden beliefs such as “My worth is shaped by the opinions of other people,” “I’m not enough,” and “It’s on me to get this right” became like giant boulders in an invisible backpack, weighing you down.

Your narrator voice, unaware of these acquired beliefs, offered the only solution it had access to: "Work harder. Do more. Fight. Figure it out. Do whatever it takes to make this all go away."

Thankfully, you—your True Self—knew better. That still, small voice beyond the conscious mind's narration, spoke to you through the very fabric of your body. Your body became the most efficient vehicle for waking you up—for bringing old, hurtful, conditioned beliefs to the surface to be seen and dissolved.

There is intelligence in symptoms. They offer countless opportunities to wake up from the trance of your narrator voice and return to the sustainable, reliable peace and freedom of your truest self.

As old conditioned beliefs are seen for the inaccurate stories they are, the body naturally becomes lighter. It relaxes. Symptoms and sensations are seen through a brand new lens. They are no longer viewed as the enemy because they are seen through the lens of truth; of love. The narrator voice may continue to spin its stories and beliefs, but they’re no longer so compelling. The trance has been broken. Awakening is happening.

The physical body thrives when the expectations and preferences of the narrator are no longer believed to be truthful or authentic.

This is not at all about accepting your symptoms or surrendering to your bodily sensations. I would never suggest that someone accept their pain. After all, acceptance is not something we DO; it’s a natural byproduct of seeing through a lighter, cleaner lens of love. It's a natural consequence of questioning the voice of fear and lack. Acceptance and surrender are what want to happen organically when it no longer makes sense to identify with the voice of the primitive, meaning-maker in your head.

In the midst of chronic pain and symptoms, freedom is your natural state; temporarily obscured by beliefs that look true.

My friend and fellow coach, Natalie, explains, "It has become abundantly clear that LOVE is all we are. Every constriction in the fabric of the body is an invitation to love the parts of us that have become fragmented. Each pain, bruise, or emotional turmoil is simply asking to be drenched in love and reintegrated back into the wholeness of who we are."

We are unconditional love. We are innate wellbeing.



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