Feeling the Pain of Physical Injuries

Tim Jackins,1 at a leaders’ workshop in England, January 2012

When you suffer physical damage,2 you should hurt. It is part of the way your body works. It’s not a mistake. Pain is part of the way we function. It’s part of a lot of different systems, and it helps our bodies respond to damage.

We’re so afraid of pain. There’s nothing wrong with it. It does not drive you “crazy.” I don’t think pain itself can kill you. I think the pain you feel, you need to feel. Sorry.

It’s not an accident, it’s not a mistake. It’s part of what developed through evolution, part of notifying your body that it needs to send resources for healing. The pain needs to be there. And you need to discharge on it, and paying attention to it helps you to do that. You need to not be stoic about it. It’s there to get your attention. It’s not there to be ignored. What works is to pay a lot of attention to it and to say what it’s like. Get someone else’s attention on it, too—and don’t muffle it, don’t try to cover it up. Look at what happened and keep your mind there.

What comes up are all the undischarged feelings about physical pain. Almost none of the feelings are about the present-day injury. They’re about old hurts that have waited and waited for you to come back and discharge them. The whole string of restimulations comes up, which is confusing because a little bit of damage can hurt all out of proportion. You need to understand that you are bringing up all the old pain from undischarged times. Just go ahead and look at the pain and discharge on it.

You will have grief or fear, depending on what happened earlier in your life and how your parents handled your early physical hurts. If your folks were really scared and you fell down and there was a little blood, they panicked, and you will have lots of fear and that’s what you’ll work on.

If it’s a bruise, somebody needs to keep your attention on it because your tendency will be to put your attention somewhere else as fast as you can. You need to pay attention to the damage—not cover it up, not spray it with something, not ignore it, not do all the things society pushes you to do—and you won’t want to notice, so usually somebody has to help you. This is your counselor’s job. Somebody has to touch it enough that you feel the damage. The point is not to deepen the bruise, although everybody feels like they’re being tortured. The point is to notice the damage that has been done.

Your counselor needs to have a certain level of awareness and not be too timid or too insistent so that both of you can pay attention to the injury and you can discharge on it. There is big confusion about pain because we are all so scared about it, aided by capitalism’s enormous drug industry. Physical pain just hurts. That’s all it does. It doesn’t hurt forever. It just hurts. Anything that interferes with your being able to pay attention to it and discharge on it slows down the process of healing and appears to put in distress recordings. The injury gets stuck in your head as well as being slow to heal.

You often have to argue with your dental or medical professionals because they are scared of pain, too, and there is confusion about treating pain and curing people. It’s similar to the idea that stopping someone from crying stops the distress. Numbing pain is simply a mistake, and they have no way of correcting it without understanding distress recordings and discharge, so you have to fight. It can be fun, and you don’t always win but you can win.

I’ve fought with several dentists about having an anesthetic. They’ve all been insistent, and I’ve had to talk each one out of it—except when I moved back to Seattle (Washington, USA), where I had the dentist my father3 had so the battle had been fought already. He still asks, but he gives up quickly. He can’t imagine doing without an anesthetic himself. His explanation is that my family has a very high pain threshold. He says that each time, to every assistant.

If you’ve never had dental work without a painkiller, you should do it at least once. (Have a lot of sessions beforehand, so you don’t terrify the dentist.) It will hurt. Then it’s done, and it’s over. It’s literally entirely over. That’s it. You are not confused. It isn’t aching or numb. Something resolves very nicely. Facing the reality of what’s happening, including the damage, is useful. Anything that hides the reality from you makes it harder in some way.

When things hurt, restimulation does occur (unless we have discharged a lot), but that is all it is. You can still think yourself out of the restimulation and not leave your attention on it.

What I do in the dentist’s chair is look at how the pain feels. I try to focus my mind right on where it hurts. I try to see what it really is, so that I’m not lost in the restimulation of a thousand things that happened before. I try to look right at the reality of it. Many times after I have gone to the dentist and looked right at it in this way, the world is clearer to me. It’s interesting to watch that happen. I don’t know of anything bad that could happen from doing this, so I’m going to persist with it.

1 Tim Jackins is the International Reference Person for the RC Communities.
2 Tim is referring to new physical damage. For discharging well on chronic physical conditions, attention generally needs to be taken off the physical symptoms and put on the emotional feelings connected with the physical damage.
3Harvey Jackins, the founder and first International Reference Person of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07