- Thoughts for inspired living

May 26, 2009

Can’t Explain Pain

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:25 am

Veterinarians are probably the best diagnosticians because their patients can’t explain the pain.

Humans on the other hand, equipped with language, are equally inept in explaining pain but it doesn’t keep us from talking about it.

My best suggestion is to talk only with your physician or counselor about pain. But even then, it’s hard to explain.

One of the saddest and most freeing discoveries you will make in this lifetime is you can’t explain your pain.

Words are poor substitutes for feelings – always have been and always will be.

Explaining pain is like explaining infinity. We think because we have a word for it, we have captured its essence and can easily communicate it to another. It’s a conceptual discussion that lacks action.

Someone recently asked me my feelings about something and I responded, “I can’t explain the pain.” I recognized it was there but I knew it was futile to make an effort to put it into words. I wouldn’t get a clearer understanding going down the explanation trail nor would the well meaning questioner.

Feeling pain is something that goes counter to our culture. Just look at the ads on any TV program and you will find a proposed remedy for your pain. We have been conditioned that pain is not supposed to exist and that it must be dispensed with immediately.

I would be the first person in line for a pain killer when suffering severe pain. See my blog post called VACATION DAY.

We have not been taught to explore pain. After we explain it, we want to “medicate” it away – pain killers, tranquilizers, alcohol, recreational drugs, excess food consumption, etc.

We make the primal mistake that we are first and foremost logical beings when in fact we are patterned creatures. We have automated our reaction to pain by attempting to explain. The specious thinking goes something like this: “If I explain it one more time, I’ll be free of it.” Enter my favorite Chinese quote, again – “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”

So the sad part is we can’t explain pain no matter how hard we try. The freeing news is we can explore pain and move through it. When we don’t move through pain, it hangs around longer than is necessary and continually plagues us.

Note: This is in no way a recommendation to ignore pain. Some people – the stiff upper lip crowd – are pain deniers and experience pain much longer than is necessary. I like to refer to them as the “Sack cloth sissies.” They are too afraid to face the real issue and endure the self imposed minor pain of denial to take its place.

This is an invitation to move your awareness to your pain and keep it there. The initial reaction will be to flee. It’s foreign to us to just feel rather than explain.

This doesn’t mean to have an internal conversation about your pain. Awareness doesn’t speak. Become aware of the pain. All pain has a physical component in your body. Find out where that pain is registering in your body and sit with it. Hold hands with it and explore the feeling.

This is an exercise in metabolizing pain rather than have it hang around undigested in your body.

I could make an effort to explain how this procedure works but that would just be more talk delaying the action.

Start slow and build up. Find a minor pain, emotional or physical, and feel it fully in your body. Don’t attempt to do anything with it other than put your awareness on it and feel it. You may become distracted because this is something new and out of your comfort zone. Notice the distraction and go back to the feeling experience.

There is something for you on the other side of pain; it’s just something that I can’t explain.

All the best,



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