In regards to pain and awakening, please check out these other posts after you read this one:
And if you do feel that your phantom pains truly are energy and spiritually-related after reading this and the recommended posts, this post can help you in releasing attachments.
One of the often discussed, but rarely understood topics of spiritual awakening is the pain that many people experience in their bodies as they are transformed. But before discussing that too much, there is the unfortunate reality that people with actual medical issues may avoid seeking appropriate help by assuming that this is a spiritual issue too soon. However, Western doctors are as much a part of this world as energy healers and other healers. So check-in with a doctor first if you are feeling unknown pains.
With that said–and a firm encouragement to seek out help if things ever get too painful–there is the reality 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. You are transforming old attachments, and some of those don’t go without a fight.
The Power of Fear
Let’s talk about fear first. Fear is a biological reality. It made our ancestors run from and fight threats to keep themselves alive. Because they’ve survived, we are here. Fear served a function.
But unless you need a jolt of immediate energy to take action, fear is increasingly obsolete, and oftentimes, it gets in the way of truly living our lives. Transformation after a spiritual awakening is a time when it gets in the way. It is also a time when people unconsciously trigger it a lot.
While I’ll be discussing a number of things that happen in processing and releasing old wounds and attachments, the first step in addressing phantom pains is to find ways to calm ourselves. Relaxing the nervous system is critical because fear can make us feel pain where there isn’t a problem. There is truly nothing to do with this kind of fear-caused phantom pain other than to relax. And of course, if we stay scared long enough, the body can physically break down.
This is why I talk so much about meditation. At least 30 minutes of silent, seated meditation every day is crucial. During awakening, you probably need more. Yoga nidra can also be helpful in calming your nervous system and potentially dissolving mysterious pains and ailments.
See the Doctor Again
I’m going to pause again to re-iterate the importance of seeing a qualified doctor. If pain continues, I encourage you to see a different doctor. Not all doctors are the same, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong in the body. Getting another perspective can be useful.
Seriously, we don’t want to jump too quickly to conclusions, and it’s important to address issues appropriately. If the phantom pain is related to a true physical ailment, then it is a Western doctor and not some energy healer or spiritual teacher that needs to be sought out.
Healing an Unhealthy Body
Furthermore, many people are extremely unhealthy in their bodies to begin with. Thus, awakened energy may be illuminating the fact that the person needs to address their health, and these phantom pains are nothing more than a whole bunch of physiological imbalances the person had been ignoring and/or numbing. A lot of people are profoundly divorced from their bodies, and now they have to do the hard work to learn how to eat, sleep, and be active properly.
Yes, spiritual transformation after awakening gets this basic.
In general, most Westerners need to do serious research and make significant changes to eat properly, sleep correctly, and be active enough. If these necessities of the body are not met, the body gets imbalanced, and different “phantom” pains arise as the body tries to communicate to the person, “Hey, I need help!”
Forms of Resistance to Awakening
Now that we have looked at fear, the necessity for Western doctors, and body basics, let’s talk about resistance and awakened energy.
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 excite 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 can be pain. There may already be pain and discomfort, but active resistance makes it worse.
In general, 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 is the unconscious resistance within us that we are unaware of and which is resisting without our conscious choice.
As we become more conscious of ourselves, we see new levels of passive/unconscious 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 resisted this process and the pain it causes you. Once this is understood, you can let go of this level of resistance and pain that you didn’t even know you were doing. Then you have a new sense of clarity. That clarity allows you to see even more about yourself because there are many layers of passive resistance and attachment. 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.
Subtle Energetic Restrictions and Other Lifetimes
I’d say 90% of people will have more than enough work to do with everything I’ve written up above (Yes, I made up that percentage). However, some of you will have deeper subtle energy resistance and resistance stemming from other lifetimes (I 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).
Invasive other lifetimes interfere with growth and develop in this lifetime, and that kind of resistance needs to be met as much as the other forms of resistance. In general, the other lifetimes that interfere with a person and possibly transfer some pain to the individual arise because of sudden deaths and major unresolved issues that the person in the other lifetime never got over. I’ve always found that clearing past lives is a pretty simple matter of becoming conscious of what the attachment is with that life. Sometimes, a person can then create a visualization with a giant pair of scissors to cut that cord.
But let’s pause and appreciate that there are many levels of unconsciousness in people, and I don’t talk about other lifetimes too much because there are people who are more interested in escaping the difficulties of this world, fantasizing, and/or spiritual thrill-seeking. So you may want to go to the next link before deciding that any of this has anything to do with another lifetime. There’s a whole lot of unconscious stuff from childhood that is pre-memory that can rise up and out of us during awakening as well.
Honestly, a lot of things may seem like phantom pains purely because a person is totally out-of-touch with themselves. It’s not subtle; the person just don’t know themselves. In time, a person can get into truly subtle stuff as they’ve resolved a lot of major attachments.
Mystery Body Pains Remain a Mystery
The other tools that I recommend on this blog (journaling, meditation, surrender, 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, you realize 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 pressurizes everything, what is it that is being pressurized?
It’s you and all your resistance to…well, you.
The awakened energy shows your attachments to all kinds of ideas, fears, and desires. 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 intense. I felt divorced from my body for about a year and a half after my initial awakening. 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 sometimes you feel totally renewed when an issue leaves.
I should add that 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 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
Amidst all of this discussion is a very simple lesson: listen to your body.
We live in a culture that ignores and often encourages abuse of the body, so 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 to be “beautiful,” 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 listen. 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 now wants you to remember and release that pain. There can be so much pain stuck in the body, and it is important to surrender to release that pain. In so doing, the body returns to a more natural state of relaxation.
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 and memories that surface as awakening dredges all things up to the light 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 happen 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 consciously bring awareness to this space. For some, however, you may also need to let your sexuality be dormant, which is okay too.
Naming the Phantom Pain
As spiritual transformation proceeds, you will notice that almost as one phantom pain dissolves, another arises. But usually when people do their inner work, they figure out more than a few of them. They stop being mysterious, and many get named. They get named things like:
- The fight from third grade
- The shame of not being good sexually with your first partner
- The fear of your father’s physical abuse
- The emotional abuse from your mother, etc.
The body remembers A LOT, and the mind sometimes figures things out later.
Of course, some things never get a name, and that is okay too. What matters is that your body is finally doing the healing it has been trying to do all your life.
The Pain Backlog
Because most of our lives we’ve learned to ignore, avoid, and repress pain, we’ve usually built up a nasty backlog of pain and discomfort. It’s not that awakened transformation 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 we’ve done to ourselves trying to walk on broken legs through the years.
Hence, many of you will go through intense healing cycles before you can really expand and grow. 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.
No Spiritual Phantom Pains List Here
I’m not going to list out all the pains you can have and associate them with awakening. You can have a phantom pain anywhere in and around your body. 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 surrender and be 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 energy and body are an amazing team. They can figure it out.
So as fear arises that something might be horribly wrong, use your spiritual tools like meditation and yoga nidra to relax. Don’t let the fear take hold and create more phantom issues. Be present to how you are feeling and do what feels intuitively right for you. It is all part of a sacred process of realizing who you truly are.