Have you ever suffered from a sharp pain in your neck and thought to yourself you must have slept wrong? Perhaps you have back pain, knee pain, joint aches or any other assortment of body misalignment's that plagues your body with alarming frequency. All the while you pointed your finger at something outside of yourself as the culprit?
As a nurse I have been given many opportunities to hurt my back given the physicality of my job with turning patients and helping them move about safely. Yet my pains and ailments, I have learned, have not been from something I did to myself, rather was given to me to help me learn about myself.
I have done a lot on mind-body work, and through my meditations I have unlocked answers to my most inner truths, all with the help of my body. I have opened up doors I didn't know existed, simply because I was willing to listen to my internal messages. I no longer see ailments as annoying occurrences, rather I see powerful teachers that have been placed there so I can grow to be the me I was born to be.
It all started when a friend of mine recommended a book called Focusing by Eugene Gendlin. He was ahead of his time in the field of experiential psychotherapy in the 1970's. He came up with this method of getting quite, tuning into your body and focus on the part of your body that is ailing you. Once that section is the center of your attention, you need to name it. Once you name it, the pain goes away. This not only makes you feel physically better, but now you have some amazing insight into your life. Here's how it worked for me.
When I was going through my divorce I spent the first year of living with this pain in my lower chest and upper abdomen region. It wasn't painful, as much as annoying. I knew intuitively that it was an emotion that was being repressed, but the thought of dealing with it scared me more than the pain itself. So one day, after reading Gendlin's book, I ran to my room, with only 10 minutes to spare, and tried to "focus" on this pain and try to name it.
Like anything new, I was somewhat of a skeptic. I thought for sure I couldn't accomplish this in such a short time frame. But after a couple of minutes, I managed to visualize the pain and through a process of elimination (calling it "heavy", "wall", "deep", "suffocating") I finally came across the word "love". I realized very quickly what that meant for me, and at the same time, the pain went away. The lesson was powerful and the pain became a thing of the past.
Another instance I had with listening to my body was when I had knee pain that went back and forth between knees. It became so painful I had to limit my walking (and I so love to walk). I spent a lot of time icing and heating the site, as well as popping a lot of ibuprofen.
One day I thought I would go and talk to my knee through meditation. What I found out was that I needed to "take bigger steps". I listened, adjusted my life and have not had any knee pain for over four years.
So, when your body starts to bother you, stop for a moment and listen to what it has to say. I bet once you listen, the pain will disappear as quickly as it came. And I also suspect you will have some pretty good insight on your life. All because you listened.