Transmuting PAIN into EASE
Not a flattering picture, but I felt compelled to share this. The way that we view the phenomenon of pain is vital to how we train and how we live. It’s also the first lesson that must be understood by every new student to maximize their results in terms of both healing AND performance.
I used to see a face like this and think it was a sign of being too forceful and strained, and immediately labeled that as bad (perhaps because my ego loves to find “smart” sounding answers and pushing through pain seemed too unrefined and meathead-ish).
I was critical of pushing through pain for a long time, but there is a time for everything & I’m not always right (though I often think otherwise ?). The truth is.. fear of the unknown is usually the root of our negative view of pain.
You feel intense sensations when you venture into uncharted territory, but just because those sensations can be overwhelming in their magnitude doesn’t mean they have to be labeled as good or bad.
Perhaps what you’re feeling is just a NEW sensation that is being heightened to draw your attention to it for the sake of determining if it’s a threat or not. It may help to think of pain as a CAUTION sign rather than a STOP sign.
If you can remain calm in the face of this intensity, you will be much better able to accurately determine whether you are truly incapable of continuing and if you’re at risk of injury. More often than not, you just need to experience this new feeling with enough repetition to no longer elicit an over-reaction.
It can be scary to go into that place beyond your comfort zone. You don’t know what’s going to happen there due to lack of experience with that particular situation. Because of this inherent fear of the unknown, it takes a great deal of trust to go into it completely.
You could say that pushing through pain requires faith. Pushing WITHOUT having the faith that you’ll get through unharmed is where non-commitment creates injuries.
I want to clarify, though, that I am definitely NOT saying that pushing through pain is always necessary. There is no set rule of when to always go into it or always avoid it. We have to learn over time how to make those decisions in each situation.
Pain, Part II: EASE
Ironically, the greatest lesson of going through pain is finding EASE.
Without going through the pain (fear) of the unknown, you can’t find the gold just on the other side. Just on the other side of pain is ease.
You’ll also miss the gold if you get ATTACHED to the feeling of pain when breaking through your current barriers. Pain & fear are bi-products of the growth process but they are not the goal.
You don’t need to search for pain, you just need to learn not to over-react to it.
If you can avoid over-reaction and stay focused on the task at hand, then your body will automatically search for the most efficient and effective solution to the problem.
You don’t have to consciously do this. In fact, TRYING to control the entire process is a great way to dumb down the natural intelligence of your body.
When you feel the wave of sensations that we often label as pain, you just have to listen. I don’t mean listen to your body and try to analyze what it wants and find a way to give it that. Just listen.
Imagine that your blocked or weak physical areas are just stressed out people who need to vent. What’s the worst thing you can do when someone just wants to vent? I should know, I’m the king of trying to solve problems when all I need to be doing is listening ?
Just listen. Don’t try to figure it out or solve some complicated puzzle. It’s much easier than that. Just listen. Let your body release pressure by venting. If you find a spot where your body yells at you, just hear it out.
If you let it yell and really LISTEN WITHOUT FORMING A RESPONSE, then it’ll eventually quiet down and begin to match the whispers of the rest of your body so that you don’t have to keep fighting it.
This is the gold. If you learn to listen to your body as you hope others listen to you, it won’t need to yell as loudly or as often. This is how going into pain can be the secret to finding EASE.
It’s amazing how fast healing and growth can happen when you let go of some of the responsibility. Trust your body, give it equal footing with your mind in conversation, and… JUST LISTEN.