Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pain it's all good...just you read and see!

Pain is real, it is quantifiable and measurable.  But pain is more than a nerve impulse traveling from an extremity to the brain along a nerve.  Pain can be broken down into identifiable categories and can be described in many different ways.  When asked to define pain or ascribe a level to it, we use terms such as dull, achy, sharp, throbbing, explosive and so forth.

This allows another person to quantify the pain you are describing to them.  Many healthcare professionals ascribe a 1 to 10 scale for rating the level and intensity of your pain.  1 being the lowest and least amount of pain and 10 being the highest and most severe amount of pain.  This makes pain more observable and easier to treat. No one likes pain and drugs are often administered to help control it. Pain however is necessary as you will soon find out.  It usually accompanies or s a symptom of something else that is going on inside of your body.  Pain is a symptom or side effect, if you will of a wound or injury or problem within your body.

As I have said pain is entirely necessary and a function of the body and the brain, specifically the nervous system.  I also stated that there are categories of pain, which I define as being physical, emotional and spiritual pain.  Each category can be a stand-alone attribute or they can happen together. As described earlier they are each measurable and quantifiable and are rated using the 1 to 10 scale. Yet I contend that each are equally important and need to be addressed.  As I have said no one likes pain and when we are in it, we long for relief and comfort.

Pain treatment varies by degree and method.  Sometimes by drugs or other forms of care.  Sometimes they are treated by time and distance, yet sometimes by a combination of the drugs and time.  In almost all cases pain is treated in a type of process.  First, by removing the cause then treating the residual pain that is left through cleaning, dressing and finally drugs.

However, if you remember I stated earlier that pain is necessary, and it is!  Pain is also important as you will soon see.  I am asking you to stay with me here as I endeavor to try and explain it too you. If death is the anti-thesis to life, then pain is the anti-thesis to living.  With that being said, lets look at how this works.

Physical pain teaches us. It tells the body NO, you can't do that or that there is something wrong, or there is some kind of sustained damage.  Emotional pain matures us ad teaches us how to grow and accept.  Spiritual pain enlightens us and propels us forward. Pain is important and if you refer to my blog entry entitled "The Crucible called life is a training ground" you will find that pain is the heat and pressure applied to our lives that mold us and builds us into the individuals we become.

Physical pain is a warning that tells our mind and body to stop.  Don't do that! Quit! Move Away and in almost all cases screams don't do that again.  Emotional pain is similar in it's message, but in a much more subtle way.  Physical pain we learn from immediately, such as getting burned by a hot object.  We know the signs, heat, smell and of course the end result, and we know right away that we don't want to do it again.  However, emotional pain, the lesson may not always be quite as clear.  We might have to experience it a few times in order to grasp what it is trying to teach us.  Most of the time emotional pain comes from some sort of relationship and is just as painful as physical pain.  Spiritual pain is harder yet to explain, but we all go through it.  It can be a religious type of pain or it could just be something as mundane as reaching puberty, having a mental crisis, or a betrayal of some sort.  However, spiritual pain involves a moral or personal wound or injury.  Spiritual wounds can be perceived and felt as much as physical or emotional pain.  Spiritual pain can also be the dawning realization that there is so much more to everything then you knew.  As I have said spiritual wounds tend to be the trickiest because they are usually a combination of both the physical and emotional types of pain.  As we go further along I will try and make all three of these types of pain more understandable.

We have done all this talking about pain and my three classifications of pain, but what is the definition of pain?  According to Webster's Dictionary "Pain is the unpleasant feeling resulting from injury or disease; any distress or suffering of the mind; sorrow"  As you can see the definition covers the first two aspects of pain but leaves untouched the third (spiritual). Now when I say classifications, aspect or types of pain I am referring back to my concept of Physical, Emotional, Spiritual.

So in order to better explain things I need to talk to you a bit about what I call the "Light Body".  This might sound confusing at first but the concept can be explained and once I explain, I think you will begin to see a much clearer picture of what pain is and how it effects us and how we benefit, learn and grow from it.

I believe that the "Light Body" is made up of three complete and distinct layers or aspects. This is the result of what I have studied, been taught and have extensively thought about.  Whether you believe as I do, or come to accept it is all up to you.  But if you bear with me I am sure you will at least come to understand what I am talking about and can put together your own interpretation.  But feel free to interpret what I have to tell you anyway you like so that it all makes sense to you.  Because no matter I believe once it is explained you can extrapolate your own conclusions.

"The Light Body" is comprised of three distinct and fundamental levels that can operate independently or in conjunction with each other. As with pain I break them down as follows: physical, mental or emotional ans spiritual or soul.  These aspects or layers are overlaid over the body all at the same time and are handled by the bodies super computer the brain.  Now one could argue that because they reside and overlap the body they are therefore part of the physical body, which is partly correct.  However permit me to explain and I will try to make it easy for you to understand.

In order for me to do this correctly I am going to have to delve into a little biology and physiology.  The body has a system of nerves that network through-out it's entirety.  This would be the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.  These are easy to explain and simplify if you will.  The central nervous system comprises the brain and the spinal cord with the extending nerves through the spine. The peripheral nervous system is the nerve network that combines the limbs and organs to the central nervous system.  Simple right?  Well I need to break it down a little bit further.  The peripheral nervous system is broken down into two sub-systems called the sonomic and autonomic nervous systems.  Here is where the first break happens between the physical and the emotional and spiritual body occurs.  The sonomic system is where voluntary control of body movements occur.  It is also where sensory input from our limbs travel to the central nervous system to the brain.  The autonomic nervous system is the regulatory system and controls the bodily functions without conscious intervention.  Examples of this are heart beat, respiration, digestion and sexual arousal.  The actions of this system happen on the subconscious level of the brain, however some can work with the sonomic nervous system such as breathing and swallowing.  Both of which can happen involuntarily or by thinking about them.

Are you beginning to see where I am coming from? Do you see the physical and emotional bodies beginning to form?  I hope so because I am about to take you further still to understand the spiritual body and how the three work together to for the "Light Body".  Now keeping in mind that we are still taking about pain and how we react, grow from, learn from and experience it.  The nervous system is read by and interpreted by the brain, the body's super computer. Without going into the psychology of the brain, I will just explain that the spiritual body is house there.  Whether in the subconscious or conscious parts of it or in another place entirely is open for another lesson.  However, I need to say that the brain is hwere the soul or consciousness resides.  It is where rational, irrational thoughts take place. It is here that I believe the Divine Spark lives. What Christians call the breathe of life, and what I refer to as the "Godhead".  It is the part of us that the Divine has gifted us with that gives us life and sentience.

As I have said before all three aspects, or categories of pain exist because the three aspects of the body exist.  It is possible to experience pain on each level individually or collectively.  The body is a miraculous machine, governed and moderated by the brain.  It has wondrous coping and defense mechanisms that help us compartmentalize and analyze as well as quantify the pain we experience. But the overall outcome of pain is the same.  It is a warning, a signal of danger, hurt or damage that needs to be handled and addressed.  How we deal with pain is personal and will vary by each individual. Everybody handles and deals with pain and injury differently.  However, we each receive warnings and symptoms that alert us to the injury or wound.

As we grow, develop, mature and age our body develops an early warning system that helps protect us and identify danger and potential for injury.  As a threat is perceived we might experience a period of heightened awareness, a tensing of the muscles and we become hyper sensitive to body languages, sounds and other signs that attack or danger is imminent.  After this brief period of awareness comes the "Fight or Flight reflex" which is a rising panic within us to either prepare for battle or flee from the attack.  This floods the body with adrenalin and endorphin's that shield the mind from the trauma of pain and injury. This is also known as Shock.

The brain is so powerful that it can override or deaden the impulses of pain to such a degree that a person can walk around on a broken ankle for an hour and never realize that it is broken.  However, it will react in the same way to any other type of pain you might experience. Shock shields the brain from being overloaded by massive pain impulses flooding from the nerves.  How to cope with pain is another topic we can explore later in another blog entry.  What I wanted you to learn from this entry is that there are several different types of pain that you can and will experience, and through each type what you the individual will learn from, grow from and develop and mature from.

They say that time heals all wounds. Essentially that is true, but pain is different and is handled differently, processed differently and ultimately may never go away.  But I am here to tell you this, you can survive pain, there are ways you can lessen your pain and sometimes you can overcome it.  Other times you will have to bear it.  But know and understand that you can live with it and endure it.  Pain is how we truly learn, how we adapt.  If forces us to grow, mature. It can even give us direction, change us, make us stronger and more cautious.

Pain teaches us patience, humility and inevitably through the process we learn frailty and mortality. It can also drive us to explore new possibilities, take bigger risks and chances and helps us face our fears.  Most of all it molds us, builds our character and in a way makes us human.  Pain means we are living and alive, growing and learning.  Though we hate it, it is important none the less!

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B