Spiritual Tools for Coping with Pain
with Enza Vita

Q: How can I work with chronic pain? If everything is “perfect as it is,” how could a body be created that does not function perfectly all the time?

A: Awareness itself is a limitless ocean of eternal perfection but our present bodies are just one object that rises like a wave, stays for a while, and then falls back into the awareness that we are, just as everything else does.

The body is a transient form, made of matter, and it is not permanent and yes, our physical form is subject to change, to disease, to injury, old age, and death. This is the natural order of the universe, and as such it is neither good nor bad, perfect nor imperfect. It’s just the natural cycle and flow of existence.

When we work with pain, first we need to make the distinction between physical pain that is the body’s response to some outside stimulus and psychological pain or suffering.

Physical pain

If we are in any kind of physical pain, there is no need to masochistically grin and bear it. We want to do whatever we can in the moment to lessen the pain. Whether the pain is acute or chronic, the wise course of action would be to do whatever we can to alleviate it, including seeking prompt medical care.

Psychological pain

Psychological pain or suffering, arises out of the false belief that one is a separate self, and this belief results in all kinds of fears, worries, conflicts, problems, and doubts. This type of suffering can be eradicated by recognizing the cause of that suffering, which is a false sense of self.

Accepting What we cannot change

If our pain is psychological or if physical pain persists after medical care has been sought, then we must try to gratefully accept what we cannot change. Instead of fearing the pain and trying to push it away, we focus intently upon it, especially when the pain is intense, because this offers us a spiritual practice that can help us realize what we are.

We observe the strong sensations that are occurring in our body.

To whom do they occur? Who is the experiencer, the sensor, that perceives these sensations? Who is the one suffering? We look very carefully and see if we can find that one. Is there actually anyone there that we can point to?

These simple exercises teach two extremely powerful lessons: First, if I am the awareness that perceives the one who is suffering, then I can’t be that suffering someone! Secondly, if I am what is aware of the object, then I cannot be that object! Whatever it is, if I am aware of it, it cannot be me. This is the most fundamental step toward liberation that anybody can take.

Enza is the editor and publisher of InnerSelf Newspaper and founder and director of the MahaShanti Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the awakening of all beings. Enza is also the author of the book Always Already Free and her latest book Instant Presence. Based on Enza’s own experience, Always Already Free and Instant Presence guides the reader from the seeking process through the integration of enlightenment into everyday life and reveals that spiritual enlightenment is not a faraway dream, but the ever-present reality always available here and now. For more information, visit www.enzavita.com or connect with Enza through her Facebook page