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SOUL ISSUES:Love How Much You Hate It! 

 

Rev Liz Petipren 72dpi

By Reverend Liz Petipren

  

I am not a big fan of pain. I am less of a believer in “No pain, no gain,” and more of a believer in “No pain, no pain.” Most people struggle and suffer a lot more than they need to. They, and many of us, could benefit more from a dose of kindness to self rather than pushing and fighting to endure situations that rob us of our joy. 

Yet, there is a way to make pain work in your favor, if it shows up. You can use the contrast between how bad it feels to hurt and how good it feels to not hurt. This contrast can motivate you to how it feels to not hurt. The contrast can motivate you to make a new choice that will enable you to endure well-being rather than ongoing suffering. 

When you stick your finger in a flame, for example, the discomfort is a brilliant feedback mechanism. The pain receptors in your fingertips realize that this experience is not in the best interest of your finger’s well-being causing you to remove it -  now! Your nerve endings do not rationalize that suffering is noble and will merit me into heaven, or I must pay off my karma from a previous life, or I am taking on the pain of humanity. The nerves simply recognize that this is not a healthy experience and you would be far better off to stop what you are doing that hurts. You experience a moment of pain, but once you get its message, you ensure the continuation of your finger by withdrawing it. In that case, pain is a helpful wake-up call. 

We have learned to blur or deny the signals from our pain receptors when we get into distressing physical or emotional situations. Often this occurs below the level of our conscious awareness, where the pain is not acute but builds gradually over time. We linger in abusive relationships; breathe polluted air in smog-filled cities; and labor daily at jobs that leave us feeling isolated and depleted. 

If only we were as smart as our fingertips! 

At a deeper level, you are that smart. You know what hurts you and what heals you. Appreciate pain as a signal that “This can’t be it,” and choose instead what is it. 

Affirmation” “I do not seek or endure pain, but I use it as a stimulus to choose what I want instead.” 

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