The pain issue, revisited

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on October 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

Although daily pain is less and less of an issue for me, thankfully, the fear of pain as well as sudden unexpected pain continues.  We strengthen  the nerve fibers to pain by checking for pain.  Ignoring or suppressing pain is not my intention, but allowing sensation to register from my larger picture is my intention.  Fearing pain is a response post-injury that potentially limits exploring movement that may not indeed cause pain.  There is a fine line that must be discovered by the whole self between fearing pain and reacting to that fear, and sensing with accuracy what is truly happening,

Most of us have what F.M. Alexander termed “faulty sensory appreciation” that is based on our habitual way of being.  He emphasized  that we cannot trust our interpretation of sensation, as our habitual responses have flawed our entire systems.  We can’t know what has not been previously experienced with any accuracy.  The instrument of our self is not reliable until we have the guidance of people more intelligently organized than ourselves.

So now, back to pain: I have accepted as a given that my knee hurts fairly constantly, with varying degrees of intensity.  When I am afraid of pain’s increase, I narrow, shorten, and generally contract.  If, instead, I allow my thoughts to rise up, see the bigger picture of myself, view with curiosity the world outside my sensations, fear diminishes, pain lessens, and I can see pain as a tool for response, rather than allowing pain to dominate my experience.

Although this may sound simple, it is not easy.  People who endure continued pain struggle daily, hourly with finding a larger view than the sensation of pain. Life can so easily slip into pain as a dominating factor.  Depression, despair, and helplessness are very possible life results.  All the nerve connections for checking on potential pain become strong, and any accurate assessment shrinks.

Applying Alexander principles of attending to the whole self may bring hope and possibility.  Pain may still continue, but may not be dominant as sensation.  We learn, as Alexander students, to attend to a wider, deeper, more expanded view of ourselves, and to engage in daily activities with more choices in response, and an intention to dynamically allow the activity to do itself.  We revel in exploring physicality  in a conscious manner.

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