The road of pain treatment initially seems to be the easier path. For acute pain, which usually resolves over time, it is. The three main features of the path of pain treatment are receiving the proper diagnosis, getting correct treatment, and consequently being cured of the pain. For those of us with chronic pain, in order to receive proper diagnosis and cure, we are willing to spend tremendous amounts of time and money. Unfortunately, no matter how time and expense it costs us, most of us are still left with our pain.

Nevertheless, many of us continue treading this path. We continue our search, spending year after year seeking to get our pain medically exterminated. Each failure may be devastating, but not knowing or not wanting to know any other solution, we get back on our feet and move on to the next pain treatment. Under such circumstances, we can become addicted to the chase, finding it more exciting and less threatening to seek a cure for our pain than to resume living our lives. We may find the excitement of discovering the latest procedure, the last drug, and the newest pain curing device (together with the claims and testimonials) far less complicated than trying to figure out what our life has become. It would be more difficult to consider that we might never be as productive as we once were, for the realization to dawn that we must prepare for a very different future than one we had planned.

The search for a pain cure can be a search with no end. In our world of high tech medicine, there will always be new medications, new techniques, and new machines appearing on the horizon – each claiming to relieve or even eliminate our pain. We can spend our entire lives trying to find the big cure. The sad irony is that this search can distract us from truly mastering our pain. In the excitement of the chase, we don’t look at our pain and what memories it may trigger from our past. We don’t ask whether by pursuing the big cure we’re running away from something. In other words, we do not search for the meaning behind our pain. We only want to take a pill, get treatment, or undergo a surgical procedure – anything to rid of it.

But pain does not occur in vacuum. It always occurs in connection with someone. Pain, in other words, is inseparable from us. Having been inflicted with it, sooner or later we must overcome to the realization that this persistent pain will never be cured by something that lies completely outside us. We need to look inside ourselves in order to understand what our pain is telling us, try to read it cues, and learn what it is we are doing that might have led to its appearance. We might have been cruel to ourselves or to others. If we can change our behaviors, we might finally begin to heal.

If we look closely at ourselves, we might find – behind our present aching – shadowy pains that burn from another time. These pains seldom come to the surface; they remain hidden in the deep recesses of our body and mind, hovering on the edge of our awareness. Rarely exposed, these pains are somehow connected to our life force and smolder inside us, forming a perpetual fire.

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