For years now, I have been awakened at 3 a.m. by neck pain that often culminates in a migraine headache. Lying down seems to make the pain worse, so I usually get out of bed and sit in the living room. Often, I have taken strong medication to get rid of the pain, not always successfully. Headaches of one kind or another have plagued me since I was a teenager. Tension morphed into migraine in midlife. Having tried every possible traditional and nontraditional remedy, with little success, I had almost resigned myself to always living with chronic pain. It was a never-ending drain on my life energy. That is, until recently.
During a weeklong retreat in Costa Rica with Panache Desai (see recent posts: “The Silence Within” and “Infinity”), I learned how to rid myself of the pain through a deep meditation of “allowing and receiving.” When I returned home, I was initially nervous that I would not be able to repeat the miraculous releases from pain I had experienced on retreat. Admittedly, my apartment is not tropical, nor does it have a view of the Pacific Ocean! Thankfully, I was still able to get rid of the headaches most of the time, partially because of a shift in my own perception: I finally recognized that Spirit, or my Higher Self, wanted me up at 3 a.m. for a reason, and neck pain was an effective way to get me out of bed and into the receptive meditation mode.
As I sat meditating in the predawn hours, breathing deeply and letting go into “allowing and receiving” (and sometimes listening to Panache’s meditation CDs), I found that the pain would slightly abate but not disappear entirely until I had passed the three-hour mark. At that point, I could begin my day, not only pain-free but also filled with a deep joy and love for the world around me. I saw only blessings everywhere I looked. It was just amazing.
Clearly, then, I was supposed to practice allowing and receiving for three solid hours on a daily basis. (One morning, when I slept through the usual 3 a.m. time, a loud voice in my head shouting my name woke me up with a start at 4:30. No sleeping in!) After several days, it occurred to me that I was being firmly guided to follow this regimen not just to get rid of pain but also to learn how to allow and receive everything: anger, sadness, and fear as well as beauty, joy, and love. Challenging events, emotional reactions, stunning sunsets, loving friendships—they are all part of the human experience on Earth, and it is impossible to have one aspect and not the others. They are the intricately interwoven blessings of being alive. That perspective alone has completely changed how I experience life on a daily basis.
Through this meditation, I practiced how to live from a place of receptivity instead of resistance, gradually learning how to be in the flow of the energy of life, however it showed up. Allowing and receiving has seeped into my moment-to-moment experience. Each day, I open more and resist less. My inner default setting has shifted from defense to gratitude, from worry to trust. The accompanying insight for me is that physical pain is not inevitable. I discovered that it was the voice of Spirit within my body persistently trying to get my attention. At long last, I woke up and listened.