Of course, pain comes to us all, and in a variety of forms: physical, emotional, spiritual. I wonder if pain is at the heart of all human experience - as a basic fundamental fact of life or, possibly, the requisite vehicle to growth and evolution.
I don't know.
I do know that I hunger for answers on how we can help ourselves through the pain that will inevitably find each of us. How to better balance with other essential elements of the human experience: elements such as joy and peace.
Because of my background, I turn to biology and psychology to help point me in the right direction as I seek answers for myself and others.
The pain we experience -and how we deal with the pain- varies depending on the type of pain (e.g. physical, emotional, spiritual) as well as many other factors (severity, duration, co-existing conditions, genetic makeup, environmental influence, etc). Yet, despite the multifaceted nature of pain, it is the common experience of pain that binds us together, cultivating empathy for our fellow man.
Who among us has been spared the acute pain of injury or illness, or the crushing ache of a broken heart? Perhaps some of us have yet to meet up with the more chronic, disabling pain of persistent disease or the ever present beat-down of a dysthymia or full-blown depression.
But it may be upon you...and me.
When it comes, how do we cope? Or, ideally, how do we overcome and evolve?
I believe there is a science to this process: a scientific approach that can utilize the modern tools at our disposal (medications, physical manipulations, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many others) but also incorporate a more holistic view.
With scientists waking up to the notion that the mind-body connection is real, there may be a greater opportunity at hand: The invitation to analyze, uncover and understand not just who we are today/where we've been or where we're going, but who we really are at our very core.
Psychobabble designed to make the bad more bearable? Maybe. But this process of self-discovery could be a major key in harnessing the power that can and does emerge from human suffering. And making sense of what this journey is really all about.
The Science of Pain
The Psychology of Pain
Self Help Strategies for Pain
For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H.