I have done some somewhat risky things in my life. I have, understandably, been dubbed as risk-taker or adventurous or fearless.
The first one indicates that I take big risks. I believe a better way to describe it is that I assess risks realistically, decide if I can accept the consequences (good & bad) and proceed optimistically. So I’m more of a risk-accepter.
The second may be true, though I would consider myself an explorer. Exploring our world. Exploring our inner mind and emotions. Exploring the stories of of others. Exploring what may be beyond.
The third is utterly false. I have felt a lot of fear. Some of it is unnecessary, which I call worries. Some of it is necessary and can save our lives. Some, well, is simply irrational.
Today I’m considering the Fear of Pain. Fear can be important. In critical situations, it can save our lives or the lives of others. Pain can be important. It can signal when we are injured and our survival (short and long term) can depend on healing. I have come to believe, however, that the Fear of Pain is unnecessary.
Looking back, I recognize that I have feared pain for most of my life, from nearly the very beginning in fact. I feared the pain of abuse. I feared the pain of abandonment. I feared the pain of confrontation. I feared the pain of fighting. I feared the physical pain.
Around 13 or 14, I injured my knee. I’m not even sure which one, at this moment. For weeks or longer, it hurt and felt unstable. I remember consciously deciding that I didn’t want that again. I can see where unconsciously I began avoiding things that I thought would hurt my knee, like running. (Funny note, a moderate amount of running has been found to help keep the knees healthy.) I prided myself in not being a runner (and thus having healthy knees) for a long time. That was until early summer of ‘17, when I majorly damaged my left knee. It look nearly a year and a half for it to feel stable underneath me again. Then I simply felt old and had much more compassion for those who suffer from knee pain and instability.
Around 15, I had my first bout of severe sciatic pain. Going to the doctor, they found that I had 2 bulged and 1 ruptured disc. Fortunately we decided not to have surgery and eventually my back healed and the pain went away. Strangely, I took a sense of pride that I had injured my back that young. We can be odd. Over the years, I would have sciatic pain return time-and-again. Often, a visit to a good chiropractor would resolve the issue and a week or two later, I’d forget all about it. I realized that I began making both conscious and unconscious choices to avoid things that I believed would bring it back. The way I sat, the positions I would take, the activities I would do. I began limiting myself due to the fear of pain.
This time, the pain has resisted leaving and has gotten worse. Fears have been felt as well. What if the pain never goes away? What if it gets worse? What if I’m this way (limited) forever? What if I can’t take care of myself? What if I need to rely upon others? What if I’m abandoned? What if I’m hurt?
All of these fears go beyond the current moment. The multiply the experience of pain that I’m having. They expand the experience of suffering. None of them helps.
I respect Fear and understand that it has a place, reason and benefit.
I respect Pain and understand that it has a place, reason and benefit.
I release the Fear of Pain and understand that it has no place, reason or benefit.
I release the fear of pain.