My neck jammed 3 weeks ago. I could not move my head and the pain was excruciating. This is the story of how I decoded my pain with Thomas Hertlein and how our “Pain meditation” was born.
Pain is always individual and the purpose of this article is not to claim that these connections work for all, but it is meant to inspire to study and have a deeper look at what pain stands for.
I woke up in the morning and I could not move my head. Excellent, I thought. Just what I needed. I had a lot going on already so having a pain like this seemed to be the icing on the cake. To get some fast help I went to see an osteopath and she said I had torticollis, the muscles around the base of my neck were contracted and painfully touch sensitive. The movement of the first rib, left side clavicle, C7-Th2 were blocked and my diaphragm (breathing muscle) movement was limited and there was a twist between my pelvis and shoulder cradle.
Great. Sounds fancy.
She worked on opening the dystonic condition, a nerve based tension pattern, as well as releasing the twist and managed to relieve it, the pain disappeared for a moment…But it came back, as if I built it again. Like the body would have given an order to tense the same muscles again, create the same twist, stop the same movement and get the same result: PAIN.
Why would it do that?
If the body is able to relax and let go of the painful tension, why wouldn’t it?
This question led me to produce the Pain Meditation with Thomas Hertlein, Human Decoder – my mentor and teacher of body-brain connections.
It’s not often that I “suffer” from pain in the body, but when I do I find it quite interesting and I thought, if I can find answers for myself like this maybe someone else can benefit from my story as well. Because I believe our body is amazing.
I’ve learned that nothing happens inside the body without an order from the brain and this order is based on my interpretation of the surrounding and my need to survive. To put it a bit simpler: My body reacts to what happens in my life and how I interpret the life around me.
This time the pain had blind-sided me and I could not decode it myself, relaxing the tension didn’t help because it came back and painkillers didn’t cure it, just kept the symptom away. I needed some support. So I called Thomas. After a 10min phone call, a few questions and a connection to a completely “separate” issue in my life he managed to help me start decoding my pain and work through my inside to let go of the tension, release the block and allow the twist to open… and the pain was gone.
How is that possible?
“I think pain is an excess of information – a lot of concentrated information on one part, whether that is in the body or another part of our being. Pain can be physical, it can also be emotional, it can be mental and some people even have spiritual pain.
We can think of pain as “high intensity”, intensity that we don’t know how to deal with – this is when pain becomes uncomfortable… I think pain does not necessarily mean that we need to suffer. I believe that suffering is the time in-between feeling the pain and understanding it.” – Thomas Hertlein
One of the very simple connections he taught me was that the human body takes on average 24 000 breathes a day. That is a huge number of breaths and actually a huge range of movement, if you consider how much movement 24 000 times of breathing generates. Only the pancreas has been calculated to move approximately 1-2km a day IF we would be breathing deep smooth breaths all day (which we normally don’t). This is due to the direct or indirect connectedness between the diaphragm (our main breathing muscle) and our intestines, some of which hang from the diaphragm.
What if something causes my breathing pattern to change? The smooth “massaging” movement of the breath suddenly gets limited and the spine does not move as it would when the breath is free?
When this “movement pattern” gets interrupted or changes – how does it affect my posture and through that the movement of my intestines? When the movement of my intestines changes how does that affect my fluid circulation, my toxin circulation and my digestion? When my digestion, fluid circulation, toxin build up change, how does that affect my mood? What feeling does it produce?
Isn’t it interesting?
So my simple “pain” pattern could all of a sudden be tied to a certain feeling and state of being. Which in my case was what made the difference.
“If we have a pain and we understand the pain we can do something about it.
If we believe that we play an important role in the creation of our pain, we give ourselves the chance to play an important role in relieving this pain.
Personally I like this idea that I can do something about it, I can help myself. Maybe not on my own but for example in a team, and I play a role in the creation and solution for this pain, so I am not a victim of my pain. At least not without taking a benefit out of it, a conscious benefit out of my victim role. Which brings us to a possible reason why we have pain. “ – Thomas Hertlein
The decoding started in a very simple way: What is happening in your life at the moment? What feelings do you have? What life events are you dealing with? Which people? Which topics?
My pain was preventing me from turning my head. I was able to look directly in front of me, not to the sides or up or down. It kept me focused on only one direction, with a straight back. It also produced a feeling – I was feeling weak and insecure…
“When we have pain we concentrate our attention to this pain, or better said, we concentrate our attention to a part of us. There is a part of our being, of our body, of our inside that draws attention to it. If you have pain you concentrate a lot of times on the pain, it occupies a lot of space in your life… So it might be interesting to have a look: By putting all my attention on my pain I don’t have the space to put my attention to _____________?
Are there parts in my life that I don’t want to put my attention to?
Were there parts in my life that I put attention to and I shouldn’t have – I don’t want to put attention to anymore? “ – Thomas Hertlein
The main feeling I had was that I’m not clear on what I want – I was insecure. A lot was happening in my life and I felt like I cannot choose or I could not find “the honest part” – what do I REALLY want – how can I choose? I had a freshly blooming relationship with someone new, while still being in love with someone from my past. Creating a conflict inside of me – what is my honest feeling? I had a birthday of a loved one coming up and at the same time had organized my life, work and time so that I was preventing myself from taking part on this special day. Feeling guilty for not being there when I thought I should. Also I was responsible for a business while feeling like I have nothing to give, no lightness to share and no energy to find the next step.
“Maybe this pain is even a great chance, a great help that says: “If you don’t want to deal with these problems, with this work, with these places, with these people, great – I’ll help you and take all your space and you wont have to”… So you have the pain and you don’t have the space to be busy with something else… Therefore I want to introduce a thought: Is there something that you didn’t want to deal with, is there something you are tired or sick of dealing with?
If we open ourselves to have a look at some other parts we might already give ourselves a relief to the pain part, because we don’t stress this part so much anymore – we give this part some rest as we already have an excess of intensity on this part. Therefore it might bring some relief and lightness, if we take this concentration away for at least some time.
Meanwhile maybe we find a solution to our problem on a different level. So maybe this problem was created on one level, it shows it’s symptom on another level and it might need a solution on a third level. “ – Thomas Hertlein
What my body did with the pain was very simple: I have no space for anything but the pain. I can not look in any other direction than directly ahead of me. I can only concentrate in the moment I am in, feeling the pain. It also made me look for help, to ask for support because I could not see how to solve my situation myself. I was in a conflict (or five) and had no idea how to handle it…
“Imagine we are so much more than only our thoughts, feelings or our body – we are a mixture, we are the product of this team play. All these different parts of our being connect and form who we are, how we live our life and how we define ourselves in the moment. This is why I don’t believe that pain is only connected to one part of our being; I think our pain only shows itself in one part but has a lot of connection to other levels and this is something that might be useful and interesting to take some time to find these connections that we are making with the pain.
Where do you feel your pain?
For your brain and body it’s already a big step that you take some time to deal with yourself. The fact that you give space already makes a change, because you being open to understand more about your pain already starts a “connecting mechanism” in your brain. It’s like opening a door to your consciousness, which means that the information that is stored in your sub-consciousness (the part of you that makes all these connections) is open – so information can come up. Therefore it is important that we organize our consciousness a little to have some space for other information to come up.” – Thomas Hertlein
So within my 10min phone call – all we did was arrived to the moment and what I was dealing with – and that was the magic. A mess, a conflict, fear of making the wrong step, trying to survive and stay strong in this conflict – alone. “I can’t breathe, I can’t relax and I have no idea how to deal with everything that moves” – The pain helped me to find support; to not feel so alone. When it was connected to dealing with my life I felt accompanied, no longer alone without support; the other person became my support and I could let go. So what seemed to be very physical was actually mental, emotional, social, spiritual and well HOLISTICLY VERY HUMAN.
“With our awareness can make a change, we can play a part and we can feel these connections between our emotions, feelings, sensations, our spiritual truth, our physical truth…We can feel how big this network is and how amazing it is. It is to be enjoyed, not controlled. You can observe like a child or a curious student with the openness to learn, about all these connections, with gratefulness to be taught by your own system. Being able to learn from yourself is one of the best parts of life. Learn about the connections, about the way you created yourself. You created all these connections and now you have the chance to get aware of it.
Maybe you want to take some minutes to stay in this appreciation and enjoy the greatness of your being. “ – Thomas Hertlein
If you find this article useful, I would love to hear about it. Also I am glad if you wish to study your own connections and use the meditation we created for this purpose.
LINK TO PAIN MEDITATION: https://gumroad.com/l/oxpN
Emmi Lahti, Holistic Human Coach – Matrix Room Helsinki Oy