I have blogged about pain a few times already—not that it is my favorite topic; I just consider it as part of my everyday life. The morning after I do yoga, I welcome it. Every time I get rid of my unwanted hair, plucking or waxing, it is there. From a simple paper cut to a more terrifying root canal, pain is my inevitable company. But these are all physical pain—the kind I find easiest to deal with. And to heal.
The other day, when Teacher Pio was in lecturing mood, he said that there are different types of pains and wounds—physical, subtle (referring to emotional and psychological), and even spiritual. He continued, “when you give yourself to someone….” Now I won’t get into that; just let him tell you his story, he he.
I have been wounded several times over (I’ve said it here), not the physical kind, and for various reasons. Sometimes healing does not come so easy, and so is forgiveness. Add to that the usual remarks from well-meaning people:
— “You should not feel that way.” Fine, but the fact is, I am feeling this way! I am hurting. I am in pain. Please do not make me deny it.
— “Learn to forgive, as God has forgiven us.” That’s noble. But that’s not my issue. I am in pain. A Catholic priest once told me when I was blabbering about my pain and how frustrated I was for not being able to forgive those who hurt me, “So what? Who told you that you should forgive them?” I was shocked. Of course, this statement of his should not be taken out of context, as a long processing came after his rhetorical questions.
— “Pray.” As if I don’t.
— “Move on.” Could you please tell me how?
— “Let go.” The best response to this remark that I have ever heard came from my former spiritual directress. She said, “You cannot let go of that of which you do not have a firm grasp.”
The article When Pain Comes Our Way, Honoring All Experiences has a profound message on how we could honor our pain (instead of denying it). It has brought me memories of my crisis period and how I struggled to find healing, only to realize that it comes only after acknowledging, embracing, and honoring that which needs to be healed.
I am still on my way to recovery and yoga plays a part in it. Not only has the practice taught me to listen to my body and emotions; more importantly it has brought me healing through self-love as well as pointed me to where my subtle hurts lie. Thus, I always tell my friends, yogin or not, who are experiencing chronic body pain to listen to it, dialogue with it if they can…as honoring pain leads to healing.
The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
Don’t Forgive Too Soon, Extending the Two Hands that Heal by Dennis Linn, Sheila Linn, and Matthew Linn
Healing Spiritual Abuse and Religious Addiction by Dennis Linn, Sheila Linn, and Matthew Linn
Healing Life’s Hurts, Healing Memories through the Five Stages of Forgiveness by Dennis Linn and Matthew Linn