Last night I was doing some exercises for my mildly frozen shoulder, as the physio refers to it. The exercises he suggests consist of stretching my sore arm past what's comfortable, experiencing some pain and using the good arm to help move the sore arm past where it usually goes.
As I did the exercise I could see that I tensed up when things started to get painful. I was in effect bracing myself against the pain. And then I thought, why don't I just regard it as sensation, rather than pain (which of course has a negative connotation). Oh and if you don't mind, stop holding your breath and gritting your teeth!
As I just breathed and observed the sensation I felt my body relax. Not pain, simply sensation, the stretch the pull, the tightness, a little numbness, an ache in the bicep. A dose of awareness.
And low and behold, the stiff arm moved back past where it normally went. I just experienced the detail of the movement. I continued to do the exercise and as I did it I thought about how it applied to so much more in my life; how I hold myself against things I don't like, how I regard certain things as pain and stop there without really experiencing them, how I resist what I regard as unpleasant.
I could see how the picking and choosing of experiences, qualifying them and judging, weighing and measuring them sucked them of their true nature. To walk directly into what is without naming it, that offers true possibility. I could see how relaxing, changed the whole experience, allowed me to be with what was.
And so the Physio in his matter of fact way was in fact offering some Dharma. Experience some pain (if you want to call it that). Move past what you deem as comfortable. Stretch yourself. Use your strengths to help you with what hurts. And if you keep on doing this, consistently, it can bring healing. I am reminded again of how much teaching there is in the body.