I was meditating on Monday and I inwardly asked for direction. What do I need to learn now? What came to me was “pain.” I need to learn to accept pain, and even to find comfort in it.
I often find myself backing down from pain, both physically and emotionally. I avoid confrontation so as to avoid the pain of criticism or rejection. As for physical pain, I work out and do yoga, both of which allow me to experience some degree of pain. But what I always find is that when the pain arrives I back off. When lifting weights instead of working through the pain, I drop the bar. One of my favorite poses in Yoga is the Camel pose. I like it because it is a very challenging pose that I can do with only minor modification. The problem is I can only hold the pose for a few seconds because of the pain. I would greatly benefit from holding it longer, but it hurts way too much.
A driving force in my life (and most people’s) is fear. What I fear is pain. The best way to begin to release fear is to learn to appreciate pain. When I got this “message” during my meditation, I felt very much that it was directed toward physical pain. I thought particularly about my experience with yoga and the poses that challenge my body. I feel like dealing with pain begins at the physical level, then moves into the emotional level, and ultimately to the spiritual plane.
Conveniently enough, I had already scheduled an appointment with pain at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday. I have been thinking about getting a second tattoo for a while and finally had the nerve to follow through. The process of getting my tattoo took about an hour. In the first phase I nearly passed out. The artist got me a cup of water and lounged the chair back. Kelly, who was along for moral support, went to the gas station and got me a Coke. I reminded myself to breathe (just like Alain, the artist, had instructed me) and stayed with it. It was difficult and required me to be present. I am very good at visualizing all sorts of things at painful moments that only make matters much worse. I couldn’t let my mind lead me astray. I had to just feel the pain as it was. It was quite a challenge for me as the tattoo is big with intricate detail. After it was over the reward was this beautiful symbol on my leg to remind me of my spiritual journey. Throughout the day I could feel the twinges of pain near my ankle and strangely enough I appreciated and found comfort in them. It was the feeling of aliveness as my body worked to repair itself. I believe that in moments of great pain and pleasure we are made accutely aware of the divine energy within us. It is another reminder not to run or hide from the opportunities that may bring us both….
Here is a picture of the tattoo. Unless you are one of my tweeps, this will probably come as a complete surprise to you. I haven’t shared my desire to get a tattoo with very many people. It is Ganesha. The first person who told me about Ganesha, described him as “the remover of obstacles.” It is this attribute of God that will lead me beyond the distractions and keep me on my spiritual path.