Phantom Physical Pains and Spiritual Awakening

spiritual photo, spiritual flowers, spiritual awakening, spirituality
At some point, I hope to re-write this section as it is rather old and out of sync with how I talk about spiritual awakening.

In regards to pain and awakening, please check out this more recently updated post instead. It can answer your questions about pain and spiritual transformation much better:

Spiritual Awakening and Pain: The Torment of Internal Resistance

By the way, you can find more information about spiritual awakening as a whole in this blog post:

Spiritual Awakening Help and Tips Guide

One of the often discussed, but rarely understood topics of spiritual awakening is the pain that many people experience in their bodies as they embody this awakened awareness. I've seen plenty of long lists of so-called symptoms, but generally speaking, there's a limited understanding of what this pain is about. There is also the unfortunate reality that people with actual medical issues may avoid seeking appropriate help by trying to assume that because their issues are on an awakening list that they no longer need to do anything with doctors. This is not true. Western doctors are as much a part of this world as energy healers and other healers.

But with all of this said--and a firm encouragement to seek out help if things ever get too painful--there is the very real truth that you may feel discomfort to intense pain during a shift from the unconscious to a more conscious state of awareness. If you truly are in this transition, there often is nothing actually wrong with your body.

For those who have gone to doctors and been told that there's nothing wrong, you can very likely trust that assessment. You are transitioning into your natural awakened rhythms. A lot of old pain is coming up. It may continue that way for sometime, but you are not imagining the pain. It is real, so don't ignore it. Face it, and give it space to release.

Forms of Resistance to Awakening

In regards to the spiritual path, pain is often a sign of resistance. Consider that you are an ice cube transforming into water vapor. The energy needed to move you to the water vapor state can be intense. A lot of energy is needed to excited all those molecules into a faster vibration. That's not necessarily comfortable. But what's worse is that we're usually committed to different states of awareness. We say, "No, no, no. I was happy being an ice cube." So we resist the shift, which exacerbates the pain. Anywhere that we resist this shift, there will be an intensification of pain. There may already be pain and discomfort, but active resistance makes it worse.

I'd say that there are two main forms of resistance we all have:

  • Active resistance
  • Passive resistance
Active resistance is when we are making a decision to fight something inside of us. Passive resistance can be the resistance within us that we are unaware of. As we become more aware of ourselves, we often see new levels of passive resistance. Say for instance that you've always thought you believed in yourself. Then as you better understand yourself, you see that you have huge self-worth issues that you've covered up with an arrogant ego, which was what you considered believing in yourself to be. When you see that self-worth issue, you can then see other ways that you've been resisting this process. Once this is in your awareness, you can let go of this next level of resistance that you didn't even know you were doing. Then you bring in more awareness to see even more about yourself because often these types of passive resistance are layered. One layer hides the next, hides the next, and so on. This is where humility is vital because you will suddenly be confronted by truly how little you know about yourself.


Karmic Resistance and Past Lives

I'd say 90% of people will have more than enough work to do with the first two types of resistance (and yes, I totally made up that percentage). However, some of you will have karmic resistance and resistance stemming from past lives (although I'd call them concurrent lives. There is no time. Everything is happening all at once. Think about it for awhile. It's a good way to make the ego mind go to mush because it thinks so linearly). Invasive past lives interfere with your growth and develop in this lifetime, and that kind of resistance needs to be met as much as the other forms of resistance. I don't talk about past lives too much because there are people who are more interested in escaping the difficulties of this world or spiritual thrill-seeking than actually doing work. But I've always found that clearing past lives is a pretty simple matter of becoming aware of what the attachment is with that life. Then I create a visualization with a giant pair of scissors to cut that cord. That's worked for me as far as I can remember, and as always, there are people who can help you clean up this kind of issue if you need it.

General karmic resistance is kind of like the black mold in the garage or basement of the spiritual path. We don't really know how long it has been there. We don't really know how it got there or what caused it (okay, so we do know the causes for mold. Just go with the metaphor here. Imagine this is some kind of unexplainable mold). But it's here, and it's uncomfortable or down-right painful. For me, I know I'm dealing with general karmic crap build-up when I really have no feelings, thoughts, or stories coming from it other than general discomfort. The discomfort can be anywhere in the body too. So you can imagine that this old, old issue is lodged in your voice. Your eye-ear-noise-throat doctor says nothing is wrong and tells you to suck on some more lozenges. But that's not getting at it. I've found energy work and visualization in my meditation helps. But mainly it's just about being aware of it, and that awareness is like a beam of light. Over time, it burns that old karma away. Then it releases, and much like my blog about releasing pain, there usually follows a whole new level of opening in your life when something so dark, deep, and uncomfortable releases.


Mystery Body Pains Remain a Mystery

So for the karmic junk, many of the pains you will have felt in your body will remain a mystery. It's not a conclusion I recommend running to. All the other tools that I recommend on this blog (journaling, meditation, spiritual healers, spiritual teachers, spiritual community, etc.) are aimed at helping you to know your space. That's really the big thing about spiritual awakening in many ways; you are suddenly getting to know you. For many of you, that awareness brings the awareness that you are living in a lot of pain. Many people unfortunately try to blame the awakening as the generator of that pain. While awakening is kind of like a flood that pressurizing everything, what is it that is being pressurized? It's you and all your resistance to...well, to you. In many respects, the illumination of enlightenment shows you how much you don't like you and have fought yourself your whole life. Seeing that reality under a big spotlight by itself can be overwhelming for many people, and when it comes time to clean up your inner space, the accompanying pain may feel excruciating. I felt divorced from my body for about a year and a half. It was a terrible feeling, but there was much that I didn't know about myself. Until awakening, I was pretty much a mystery to me, which is a sad thing to say. And then I learned about me.

With that said, there are some things that you will never really know what they are. Some phantom pain in your chest, your ear, your left foot, and so forth comes and goes. You feel better, and not just better, but it's like you're renewed when an issue leaves during this time period. There is a big difference between relief and release. When someone feels relief, it's just because the issue isn't being activated anymore. The issue, however, is still there. So when another similar situation arises, that issue will cause more pain again. With release, similar situations can arise, but you won't be in pain anymore. If you truly released your issues with your mother that were lodged in your heart, when she suddenly tries to start running your life again, you won't be bothered. Your body won't resonate with what she's saying. You may actually feel love and compassion even if she's being cruel.


Listening to the Stories of Your Body

But most of all before we start blaming karma or claiming all body pains are mysterious, it's important to listen. Listen to your body. We live in a culture that abuses the body. Your body may have a lot of pain simply because you've been abusing it this whole time. Maybe your whole brow ridge is sore constantly not because of a third eye/6th chakra opening, but because you've been plucking your eyebrows for most of your life. Now, that you're listening you can hear your body yelling, "OW!" Sometimes, it really is as simple as that. Your body is saying, "What you did hurt me, and I don't want to do that anymore." For many women, they've tortured their bodies their whole lives, and awakening shows them this truth. Men do it too, but generally speaking, not as much for beauty. More commonly, men torture their bodies emotionally. Many men are walking powder kegs of pent up and unexpressed emotions, which can lead to all kinds of physical discomfort. Most men in Western Society seem to wait for a heart attack to actually tell them how emotionally wounded they are.

The main message here is to start listening. Maybe you need to journal about it. Maybe you need to ask for forgiveness from your body for whatever you've done. If you've been into contact sports, imagine all the times where you've hit someone. That shared pain is stored in your body. The body may want you to remember and release that pain. There can be so much pain stuck in the body, and it is important to remember that the body is a sacred vessel. So to embody the awakened self means that you need to allow your body to heal the old wounds and pains that you've experienced in this and other lifetimes.


Problems With Sexuality and Sexual Pain

One of the darker aspects of this culture is how we ignore sexuality, but the body does not do this. Sexuality and sexual organs are as much a part of the body as fingers, teeth, and hair. For anyone who has had sexual abuse, these issues are often even more greatly repressed. The resulting pain memories that surface as awakening dredges all things up to the light from the bottom of the river may be really intense. Some people lose the ability to be aroused because it's like the body is saying until you know how to heal this space, you can't use it. A lot of things can go on down in this space, which is why I'm such a strong advocate of a personal spiritual sexual practice to loving reclaim this space. Sexuality is not segregated from spirituality, and it is unfortunate that this idea ever took root. So if you are having phantom physical pains in the space of your sexuality, then now more than ever is an important time to develop a personal practice to lovingly and mindfully bring awareness to this space.


Releasing of Phantom Pain, Arising of New Pain

As you integrate the awakened self, you will notice that almost as one phantom pain dissolves, another arises. This is natural. Your body is finally doing the healing it has been trying to do all your life. Because most of our lives we've learned to ignore, avoid, and repress pain, we've built up a nasty backlog of pain and discomfort. It's not that awakening and integration is meant to feel painful. It's that we've stored up tons of pain through neglect. If we have two broken legs that we've walked on our whole lives, we have to heal them before we can start running. And that may take awhile depending on how much damage--conscious or unconscious--we've done to ourselves. Hence, many of you will go through intense healing cycles before you can really expand into the awakened presence. It's normal, natural, and healthy even if it isn't a whole lot of fun. But this kind of inner purification will also make everything so much clearer in your life, and it becomes increasingly easy to just do what feels intuitively right.

I'm not going to list out all the pains you can have and associate them with awakening. Ultimately, I encourage you to go within when a strange pain arises. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • "Is this just physical in nature?"
  • "Do I need external help to heal it?"
  • "Do I only need to be present and lovingly aware of it?
  • "Do I need to dig into it to understand it and release it?"
  • "Is this something I am actively or passively resisting?"
  • "Do I just need to rest?"

Then listen to your first intuitive answers and trust them. More often than not, I've found that rest is the most important part of the whole process. Given space, your soul and body are an amazing team. They can figure it out. So as fear arises that something might be horribly wrong, just let that go. Don't let the fear take hold and create new issues. Release that. Be present to how you are feeling and do what feels intuitively right for you. It is all part of a sacred process of integrating and holding the beautiful light that you already are.

If you want more help on your path, here's some information about my one-on-one Skype sessions:

Getting One-on-one Spiritual Support

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

You can watch this video for more on physical pain and awakening:

Comments

  1. I have pain on my birthmark. It's been there 2 years. Any ideas if it could be linked to a past life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are having physical pains, I always recommend talking to a doctor first. Past lives are the last idea to think of. There are plenty of things from your past in this lifetime to consider first.

      Delete
  2. I got phantom physical pain for almost a month, and some sort of symptoms like Anxiety occur... I am feeling so lost and I hv to sleep sleep and sleep all the time... I feel abit nervous, scared and helpless... I had depression some years before when I hv a big change in life, I suddenly started to see the devil side of ppl around me, I was so scared, and till now I still hv no idea how to use this power, I feel that I m so worthless, I m worrying that I m going back to the depression but I hv been doing so much "SOS" works to myself, I feel like everything is going back to zero.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to learn to do inner work. Your fears are inside you, and you are projecting them onto other people right now. The more you learn to dissolve your own fears, the more you'll see life clearly instead of through this lens of fear.

      Here's a blog post to help you:

      https://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/2014/08/identify-accept-embrace-and-let-go.html

      Delete
  3. Hi Jim,
    thank you for your website and all your work with helping people to navigate through the awakening process.
    My name is Daniel and I have a question that I am in desperate need of help with. If you have any thoughts or insight to my problem, I would appreciate it very much.

    Two years ago I had an instant awakening which in one hit changed my whole perception on my self and the world. For months I did nothing but meditate and cry and after that I lived for a while in complete bliss and peace. But then deeper issues arised and I found myself having to face a deep wound which comes from my mother. She beat me hard several times a week from the age of three to eleven, until I was sent to a boarding school.
    When this wound opened up in my I found myself in a lot of pain and I discovered I had a huge fear of women and suddenly I was afraid of having even the simplest conversation at the grocery strore. I realized my only way out of this fear was through it. I put my self in situations where I could meet women and then showed them my fear and vulnerability. This was hard and sometimes very painful work but together with lots of meditation, I managed to free my self from this fear and today I feel my mind is silent and I no longer carry any mental fears and I live in what feels like a state of oneness with the world. However, my body has not responded to that peace. Even though I no longer carry any fears of the world or people, since that wound opened up my body is in a state of constant tension that sometimes pulls my muscles in a way that is incredibly painful. This affects my sleep and my overall health in a very negative way. It can also give me bursts of anxiety and panic attacks. I have been meditating a lot with this feeling and put all my light of consciousnees on the tensions but no matter what I do, this pain and tension won´t go away. My guess is that this body pain and muscle tension is the stored trauma my body carries after being so brutally beaten up by my mother but a year and a half has now passed and sometimes it feels like the pain is getting worse and worse instead of easening up. I have met with doctors and done all kinds of medical tests but they they seem unable to find anything. I no longer know what to do about it and I´m desperate to find a solution. Do you have any insights on this and what I could possibly do to get through this and if so, would you be so kind and share this with me.
    Warmly,
    Daniel from Sweden

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your vulnerability Yes. I have a lot to say about releasing stored trauma from the body. You can reach me through the contact form to talk more about it Contact Me Here

      Delete
  4. magwhittaker@yahoo.co.ukMarch 23, 2019 at 4:56 PM

    Hi, I'been meditating on and off for the past 20 years but of recent or six months ago I began Vedic Meditation and I've been experiencing stomach aches(or kideny aches). during and after. I went to the Doctor and had tests done but when I returned for the results, the doctor said he could not find anything wrong. So I am wondering if it could have anything to do with the meditation or its just old age!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mag,

      I would be cautious about ascribing your meditation to the aches in the body just yet. I would point you towards investigating your body more. How you sleep, eat, and exercise (or not) make a huge difference in how you experience the body. These 3 areas should be more deeply looked into to make sure you that you are properly supporting your body. If you aren't, then you should make lifestyle changes to help the body be stronger and healthy, which may address these aches.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  5. About a year ago I was sitting on the ground and I suddenly felt energy pulsing through my hands on the ground into me. Shortly after that my hands started shaking and I started getting joint pains. The Dr can't find anything wrong. Bloodtests have come back negative. Sometimes I feel energy and see it. Thanks for the article. I will try and see if it helps. If you have any other advice I would be grateful. LL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi LL,

      I'd have to talk to you directly to be able to offer further advice. Everyone's body and mind are different.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for this article. It helps alot! Though I am at another confusing point on my journey & could do with some more clarity to deepen my trust to the process... The part of the article that resonates with me is the discomfort & pain from shifting from unconsciousness to more consciousness awareness... Suffering sent me on my journey into spiritual seeking to heal what I was feeling inside 3.5 years, before that I was feeling the best & most confident I have felt in my identity... Now I have devoted alot of time in different meditation & mindfulness practices & read plenty of self help books & have definitely grown in awareness.. Long story short ~ what I'm noticing is the more that I meditate & become more present, the intensity I feel inside my being... Is this due to the expansion in consciousness? The intensity feels like a consistent amount of overwhelming energy from my throat & usually up the right side of my face, in between my eyes & up in the crown, its quite uncomfortable aound my brain & I find it very hard to function in society, my mind feels alwaye foggy & difficult to gather information.. Even find it difficult to associate with close friends & even family, I mainly avoid social events & spend more time in nature & by myself, these feelings have sent me through alot of social anxiety & depression... I'm thirsting to be open & more engaged with life & to be interactive with relationships again, though with how I'm feeling I find it very difficult.... I'm grateful to be on this journey it is, & I feel I'm 90% committed to give everything towards awakened consciousness & transcending ego for the evolution of humanity. The other 10% I'm needing clarification as my mind starts wonder if there is some dysfunction going on the brain, as a few family members are medicated for depression.... Also what Im dwelling on is that I would never put so much devotion & focus on the path if it wasn't for the pain & discomfort I have felt, so I see it as my guidance home to wholeness & awakefullness. My mother & family & friends don't like seeing me disengaged .. If I medicated & was feeling good I feel I coukd easily lose focus. Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Divine wants a 100% of you. That's just how that is.

      If you want to talk further about this, feel free to reach out through my contact form and remind me that you posted this comment on the phantom pains blog post.

      Delete

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