Last year, I had one of the most mystical, transcendent, mind bending experiences of my life, and it didn’t involve yoga, meditation, or anything psychedelic.
Instead, my very profound moment happened when I discovered a truly life altering, virtually instantaneous solution to relentlessly crippling back pain.
One afternoon last year, I noticed that my lower back was starting to throb for no apparent reason. I didn’t pay much attention to it, but that night, I was tossing and turning as I tried to sleep through the ache.
Over the next few days I visited several massage therapists but, to my surprise, it didn’t help at all.
The pain got progressively more pronounced over the next few days to the point where I even woke up in the middle of the night with stabbing pain so intense that I begged my boyfriend to take me to the Emergency Room.
Instead, I made an appointment the next morning to go see a reputable doctor who specialized in chronic pain.
I hobbled into his office and he did an extensive series of tests on me before declaring, with absolute certainty, that I had a herniated disc.
He shared that he had seen hundreds of patients with the same condition, and that I’d probably mostly recover within 3 months, but in the meantime, I could only sit for 10 minutes at a time, could not exercise, could not do my daily hatha yoga practice, and could not fly on an airplane unless I was willing to risk being “wheeled off in an ambulance” if there were turbulent conditions.
I had two trips involving air travel planned, so this was especially problematic news. He handed me all sorts of printed literature to back up these instructions.
Needless to say I was distraught. I went home to stand and lie around, the only two acceptable positions I was advised to stay in for any length of time, and found that my pain was actually getting worse with this diagnosis. I felt stiff and uncomfortable.
I didn’t know it was possible for pain to be this bad.
For the next couple of weeks I tried strong pain killers. I tried anti inflammatories. I tried every single traditional medicine and alternative medicine approach to healing back pain. Nothing was working.
I accepted my fate as a victim of chronic pain and started to feel quite depressed about it.
A few days later, I limped into a social gathering and found myself tearfully sharing my situation with my friend, Todd, who I shall refer to from hereon in as Saint Todd.
Saint Todd then proceeded to change the course of my life forever.
He told me that his brother had read a book that completely cured his herniated disc, and suggested I check it out.
I was skeptical but willing to try anything, and asked him for the name of the book.
When he told me what it was I realized I owned it already. I had bought it a year before when I was experiencing really bad neck pain, but found it boring and put it down after the first chapter.
The book was Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno, a reputable Western medical doctor and NYU Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine who has been researching chronic pain since the 1970’s.
The next day, I lay down with the book and decided to give it a second shot. This time, the book was speaking right to me.
It began by asking me if I had any perfectionist or Type-A tendencies… Check!
And if I had ever experienced any of these symptoms: Toothache, herniated disc, neck pain, hives, hay fever, food allergies, stomach pain, tinnitus, fatigue… Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check!
And finally, if I was willing to entertain the idea that there was nothing wrong with me, and that I could resolve all of these issues simply by acknowledging that there are feelings that my psyche deems too dangerous for my conscious mind to experience, so it creates a real physical distraction, e.g. the pain or disorder, to make sure I pay attention to only that and not the emotions…. Wait a minute… Could this even be possible???
My mind flashed back to the day that the pain started.
I had gone to a friend’s house to record a promotional video for my website. When we sat down on the couch to review the footage, I noticed that there were quite a few spots where I got overly excited about what I was saying and looked like a crazy person, with bulging eyes and a gaze that could bore a hole in the camera. I cringed.
That’s when my back began to throb.
I hadn’t even looked at the video footage once since that day, since I was avoiding another experience of self judgment.
In that moment, I intuitively knew without a doubt that the book was right.
The experience of seeing myself on camera had triggered something so big that my psyche decided to create a diversion – my “herniated disc” – so that I wouldn’t have to feel my feelings of shame and terror around being seen this way.
Was this knowledge really enough to heal me, I wondered?
As I read on, there were dozens of examples of people who had healed decades of pain and suffering simply by learning this information.
The information was the only medicine they needed, because once they knew what was going on, the jig was up, and there was no more reason for their brain to instruct their body to create the deceptive problem.
The medical diagnoses they received were incorrectly linking their physical conditions with pain. For example, pain often shows up in a different location than a herniated disc does on an MRI. Apparently, most normal people have herniated discs and many people don’t feel a thing. According to the book’s author, Dr. Sarno, there’s actually no scientific proof that a herniated disc causes pain.
The book’s surprising recommendation was to stop all treatments for the pain.
No more massage sessions, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture appointments, healing herbs, anti-inflammatories, special diets – none of it. My assignment was to resume my life and do yoga, sit, exercise, run, play, bend over, pick things up the wrong way, and slouch to my heart’s content.
I shared this prescription with my partner, who was understandably nervous for me to try it. After all, conventional medical wisdom says that these things could hurt my back forever and that backs are fragile. But Dr. John Sarno said the exact opposite, and I knew, deep down in my heart, that the words in the book were true.
So I sat for a few hours. My pain started to melt away as I relaxed.
Then I went for a long walk, which felt glorious. The pain kept receding.
I did a forward bend – it felt so good!
And then I did my entire Hatha yoga practice. It felt so daring…
By the time I finished my last sun salutation, my back pain was 95% gone, with just a bit of residue. I could hardly believe what had just happened.
How could I go from screamingly intense searing pain to no pain at all just by acting normal? My entire world – my reality – was rocked.
What did this mean for my health, for the health of others, and for our chronic-pain ridden society?
One aspect of my life purpose is to connect people with their heart’s wisdom so that they can experience fulfilling, joyful lives. And nothing will short circuit a joyful life faster than a boatload of stabbing pain, because it limits our options and is a vortex for our attention.
Immediately I wanted to shout from the treetops and share this information with everyone I knew so that they too could heal their pain and fully live their lives. But first I wanted to wait a while to see if the pain returned, to make sure this was a long term solution.
The pain never came back.
Not only that, but I haven’t had a kink in my neck since. And the piercing toothache I’d had for 3 years vanished, just like that… I’ve had several other issues spontaneously resolve, as well.
I’ve quietly shared this book with a number people, including my clients, who were suffering from debilitating pain, and many of them have also had profound and complete healings from a life of pain.
Now they can truly live their life purpose without limitations. Some of them have said that they finally feel alive again.
And now I feel confident sharing this message with a much wider audience because I am living, breathing, joyful proof that it works.
I feel grateful to have had the experience of recovering from such profound pain because now I get to be a messenger of healing for so many others, which is a great gift.
My big prayer is that reading this helps you or someone you know recover from a life of pain. Please send this to anyone you know who could benefit from this information. (And get the book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection!)
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