One thing that was particularly exciting about my recent trip to Asheville is that I stayed in the camping area, sleeping on an air mattress and sleeping bag for five nights, and the Guillain-Barre pain did not bother me at all. (Of course, the fact that I was at a gathering of Sufi healers may have had something to do with it!) This fact has been extremely liberating to me; it has opened up new possibilities. I no longer feel as restricted by the disease as I did before spending five pain-free nights at the campsite.
The pain has bothered me this past week, though. Many times I am able to reduce the pain, or do away with it entirely, using some breath-prayers (wazaif) I’ve learned from the Sufi Healing Order, or by sending healing light to the pain, or by relaxing entirely the part of my body that is hurting. One thing I learned in my Buddhist Psychology class at the University of West Georgia (I took some cool courses in grad school!) is this:
Pain = Sensation x Resistance.
The more resistance we give to hurtful sensations (physical or psychological), the more painful they are. The less resistance we give, the less painful they are.
I’m not always able to reduce the pain, though. Sometimes the pain just is, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Yesterday was one of those times. I went to bed with a dull, achy pain in one leg. (At least it wasn’t the sharp, stabbing pain I sometimes feel.) Before I fell asleep, though, I began to feel a warm, energizing sensation flowing through the leg, chasing the pain away. It felt like my leg was being bathed in light. I have felt this sensation before, when a priest lays hands on me and prays for my healing, or when my partner Michael does massage or energy work on me, or when my cat Kato does feline message therapy as a “minister in fur.” I can only conclude that someone was praying for me at that moment. I have quite a few friends, from many different spiritual paths, who do pray for me, or send healing energy to me, according to their traditions. I don’t know who it was, but I’m grateful. I was able to go to sleep and wake up this morning pain-free, thanks to a very real experience of healing grace.