Speaking to the Pain
Many of the anxiety and stress reactions that we suffer from started with some upsetting or traumatic occurrence in the past and became a conditioned response…
By: Dr. Zev Ballen
Sometimes we have a pain in a limb or body part or we have other unpleasant feelings like anxiety and tension that are localized in parts of the body such as the stomach, the chest, the legs, or the face. These pain and anxiety reactions can be triggered by literally anything that was going on around us when the upsetting experience first occurred. For example a person may unconsciously associate a change of season, the sound of a siren, or the sight of a doctor’s white coat with a past trauma.
Many of the anxiety and stress reactions that we suffer from started with some upsetting or traumatic occurrence in the past and became a conditioned response. Now, even years later (there is no sense of time in the unconscious mind) whenever we find ourselves in a situation that reminds our unconscious mind of the first time that we were hurt or scared, we get that same reaction all over again. Even though our conscious logical and rational mind knows that certainly nobody is traumatizing us in the present, we may still suffer from intense fear or physical symptoms in our bodies “as if” the trauma were happening all over again.
When this happens we can alleviate many of these types of automatic conditioned responses with emuna because it was a lack of emuna or a breakdown of emuna that first caused the problem. The following method, based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush also works for very early traumas that occurred when we were too young to know anything about emuna or about the Creator. But now that you know that everything that happened to you was from the Creator and was certainly for your very best (although you couldn’t understand how at the time), you can speak to that body part or body function that is still being negatively affected by that past experience with soothing words of emuna.
Remember – You are an eternal spiritual self however your body is only a temporary physical creation. As such you have many more choices than your body does about how to react to the challenges and triggers in your life. Your muscles only know how to react in one of two ways, by tightening or by loosening up. Your breathing can only get faster or slower. Your body’s temperature can only go up or down.
Because your body is so simple and so limited compared to you, it has a much harder time feeling the Creator’s presence. So when your body, or one of its parts or functions (like breathing or digestion) start acting up, speak to that part and say:
(Fill in the relevant body part or body function) “ ____________, I know that it’s very hard for you to believe in the Creator, especially after what happened…that He’s the One and Only G-d, and that He is protecting us and has always been watching over us every minute of our lives, but I am your higher, spiritual self and I guarantee you that everything is just fine right now. You are only feeling pain, fear, cramping etc. because you are a body and you don’t know about the Creator’s loving kindness. But believe me, I am your closest relative…we are living together in this body and we were put here together for the purpose of knowing the Creator in these troubling situations… The Creator loves us and cares about us UNCONDITIONALLY…He Has sustained us until this day. The Creator only gave us that original challenge so that we would have the opportunity to learn more about Him and to come closer to Him RIGHT NOW. The Creator is the physician of all flesh and he surely can relieve us RIGHT NOW.
You might gently stroke that physical part while continuing to speak words of emuna to it. Take your time and continue to tell your body how much you trust in and depend on the Creator. By educating your body about the Creator’s lovingkindness and His absolute power to heal these reactions, your body will start to internalize your words of emuna into its cells. As you continue to speak to your body, you will invoke Divine Compassion for that limb or physical function… you will arouse the spark of emuna that is already in that part of your body and kindle a bright flame of emuna that will warm that limb or body part and return it to wholeness and health.
Remember to thank the Creator for His infinite compassion and to thank your body for cooperating by listening to your words. You can use this method to go back and heal situations from the past or to anticipate future situations and prepare your body in advance to respond to future challenges with emuna. When the Creator sees that you and your body are committed to working together and processing your trials and tribulations with emuna, you will have passed this test and the Creator will no longer need to trigger your body in the way that He did in the past.