Bodily pain is an aspect of being human that we can all relate too. We all perceive pain differently. There is an aspect to each and every one of us that makes us slightly or dramatically different than the next person. There are many ways to calculate this.
Everything that makes us who we are determines how we engage with ourselves and the world around us. Our engagement with bodily pain looks different from person to person. There are so many ways to engage. Two ways that come to mind are A) acknowledgment and B) long term engagement. Exploring these is fascinating because it can show us the process of certain outcomes materializing. The major property of acknowledgement is recognizing that the pain exists but nothing further. Long term engagement is not only recognizing that the pain exists but also beginning a journey with it (more on this later). Sometimes you have to have many instances where the acknowledgment awareness presents itself to eventually begin the long term engagement process. There are also instances where acknowledgement takes place over and over again for a long time with nothing to show for it.
Let’s first look more in depth at acknowledgment. Like stated before acknowledgment here is when something is recognized but no further action is taken. In the depths of this type of engagement our mind understands that there is pain but there is no reason to take any sort of action to deal with it. When this approach is consistently used eventually acute pain evolves into a chronic pain situation. Why would our mind go this route? I believe this happens because it requires less awareness and perceived energy from us to just not deal with it and carry on with our lives. We also justify it as no big deal in order to save money, or preserve our “precious” time. There are all sorts of justifications that arise. Our mind becomes subconsciously attached to this pattern.
Then there is long term engagement. This type of engagement is where action takes place and a journey is embarked on. Peeling the layers of the onion of a specific pain in the body brings us closer to its origin and even sometimes we discover other aspects of ourselves that have been needing to be revealed.
Why does it sometimes take so long to eventually embark on a long term journey? We can look at this from a neuro-chemical standpoint. The anticipation of something happening causes dopamine to run through our brains. This chemical creates a high for us physiologically but once the outcome we are seeking arrives the crash from this is intense, but the high outweighs the crash most of the time so we repeat this. Something to note: the dopamine is released when the anticipation of something is going to happen quickly or very soon. If the outcome of something is a long ways away weeks, months, years then dopamine isn’t nearly as effective in giving us that high our brains are seeking if we engage enough with short term processes. Embarking on a long term journey is when we have to remind ourselves and remind our brains that we are not going to constantly receive the dopamine high, that we are slowly building something that along the way will keep us progressing in some fashion. This moment is when the chemical serotonin is released validating for us physiologically that we are progressing towards something that has deep meaning for us and purpose.
Sometimes we have to get out of our own way in order to see more clear, we also have to recognize those tough times when we just can’t seem to get out of our own way can also be viewed as moments that are bringing us closer to the truth, closer to engaging with serotonin and keeping us grounded.