Pain Management

Linda Rainbird (Wales)

I write this out of respect for all Namgyal Rinpoche taught and gave me in the 33 years with him and the subsequent years still learning from him..

I am sure if Rinpoche were to know I was writing this there would be "Hmmm….", but here goes..

Where does illness begin? When is disease triggered? Is it Karma - is it the dharma unfolding in mysterious ways? Is it because of neglect?

For many years, organising accommodation for Namgyal, assisting in a legal foundation for the creation of a Centre for his Teachings in England, (Maitreya House), working within the world in order to survive, (sometimes three separate employments and over 20 years in Government), 'making a difference', guiding my son through life and all that has entailed.. in short, giving much to many and probably burning myself out by not paying attention to my unfoldment as much as I 'should have'.

This word "should" comes up a lot in the healing process for rheumatoid arthritis, which flared through my body a year after Namgyal passed. At the same time as being diagnosed with this disease I was also diagnosed with osteoporosis - thinning of the bones - another "could be" neglect and stress to the physical body, (or being born after only 6 months in the womb in 1951 weighing 3lbs). I mention this because the medical world treats everybody in a general way, until you get to consultant level, even then one has to be careful. I was made to feel afraid of breaking bones and ending my life in a wheelchair at the same time being informed that I had to walk, free myself of stress, check my diet, etc.

Chronic pain is different from acute - chronic is pain lasting for longer than one year, and is incurable.

Rheumatoid arthritis is overwhelming, and its arrival in my body just after the first diagnosis of osteoporosis six months earlier, was quite frightening. The fear of not knowing what was happening to my body surprised me. At one particular time, when I was getting exhausted from the constant pain and my joints feeling like they were being stung by a thousand bees, I was at the point, despite my initial surrender, of 'letting go'.

The full moon was coming through my bedroom window and, as I laid my head in Tara's lap, I wept quiet tears of remembering so many incredibly joyful experiences with Rinpoche and thanking him for teaching me so much and being so present in my present incarnation, and finally fell quietly to sleep. The dream that came was of Rinpoche embracing me, with my head on his chest, telling me many things but verbally acknowledging that I was right - there are pain doors below the brain that I can close and control. Can you imagine the healing that took place? This changed the course of my disease. I had, whilst being overwhelmed by the pain, meditated trying to 'go under the brain and pain', then I realised that I could control the very pain that was enflaming my body and this confirmation from Rinpoche pushed me forward to healing.

I have now been on a course in the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons in Mid-Wales designed for Pain Management - one of only two programmes running in the U.K. In the last six months I have managed to conquer drug intake for RA and 'flare-ups' and I needed the final acknowledgement from the medical world about these "pain gates". It has been a truly liberating programme - going into any medical institution was a huge challenge for me, that is, going into hospital to get ill, but my accommodation is a small house in the grounds of a hospital, my room is warm, clean and has the most amazing views over the mountains, and along with a small group of eight of us I have learnt so much about the anatomy and the importance of Transactional Analysis in keeping 'stress' away. It is like a retreat and a mini-university course in health and the body.

As soon as the body experiences emotional stress, hurt or harm, or gross fatigue, this goes to the emotional centre of the brain (and blocks the learning frontal part of the brain) and immediately the brain sends a signal down the spine, opening the pain gates, leading to all sorts of things and symptoms. To close these gates there are many things one can do. But first, MEDITATE. Calm the body with the breath - be as gentle as you can with yourself and exercise gently with the body, never pushing anything too much; or yourself. Inactivity is the worse thing for pain and yet when you become very ill you are very inactive! Drugs will only close these gates temporarily. Meditation, breathing, and loving kindness will give control - nothing else!

Pain gates have only recently been acknowledged by the medical world - since World War Two.

On site in these hospital grounds is a small Mental Home - occasionally I see Doctors coming and going - the women doctors look very severe, dressed in black and severe with black thick-healed shoes, clicking around the place with supreme importance. I feel in a state of grace.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License