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Pain is a signal from your body that all is not right. It demands that you pay attention to avoid further damage. Although pain can be highly functional, the presence of acute or chronic pain can consume your awareness and take over your thoughts. As you focus your attention on the pain, your energy flows to the area and increases the signal. Even when the area that hurts is quite small, the pain signal can be overwhelmingly large, drowning out all other sensations. Dealing with pain is exhausting. It can take the joy out of life. This very simple exercise releases energy and diminishes pain.
Rate the level of your pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
Focus on the area of your body that hurts. Fully feel the pain without resisting it or trying to make it small. Instead of running from it, treat it like a child who is hurting and embrace it. Comfort it. Relax. Breathe into the pain and offer it the breath of life.
Find an area of the body that has no pain at all. Maybe the only place you can find is your baby toe or the tip of your nose. Hold your attention fully on this area of no pain. Notice how many different sensations you can experience in this given area, even while you still feel pain elsewhere. Then, notice other areas that have no pain. Find as many locations with no pain as possible. Experience each one separately and then as part of a pain-free whole.
Hold dual attention on the area of pain and on a pain-free area. Split your awareness between the two sensations. When you hold both together, the body notices the energy imbalance and immediately begins to equalize. Think of water flowing to the lowest point. If you have difficulty maintain dual awareness, focus on the pain, then on an area of no pain in rapid succession. Continue to shift your focus until a more balanced state is achieved.
Rate the level of your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Are you surprised to find it has decreased? Or stayed the same, yet takes less of your attention? Try this every time pain threatens to overwhelm you.
Why this exercise works:
Pain draws your attention and your energy to the site of injury. At the same time, pain blocks the flow of energy away from the area. Consequently, stagnant energy that does not contribute to healing increases, as does the discomfort. When you focus on your pain with resistance, anger, and fear, the pain grows even larger. Energy follows your attention and, the more emotionally filled attention you give the pain, the more you feed it. In essence, you create an emotional-energy complex (see Body Sounding). By embracing your pain, love replaces fear and the complex melts. Then, when you move your awareness to a pain free area, your energy is able to move from the area as your body self-corrects.