The ROOT of Sarno’s theory
All the pain is just a distraction. A distraction from the real thing that’s bothering you. Whether it is a divorce , the loss of a loved one, pressures of life, the unfairness of it all …..something is eating you up inside. And THAT is the indirect cause of your pain. The DIRECT cause is a cut off of blood supply to the part of your body in pain (back, hands, arms …what have you). There is NO PHYSICAL TRAUMA – nothing is STRUCTURALLY wrong with your hands, back etc. All the pain is created by the mind – out of fear.
Why do we need to avoid emotional trauma?
The reason we avoid the intense emotional trauma is because we are scared of facing it up front. If we did, we would become a physical wreck.
So goes Sarno’s theory. Rather than become an emotional and physical wreck, our subconscious mind diverts our attention to pain – pain that is most closely related to some daily activity of ours. If we type, the pain will be in our arms and hands. If we play soccer, chances are our feet will hurt. If we walk or sit a lot, the back will be the culprit. In a LARGE number of cases, the back is involved – since most people have a sitting type of job in the first place. The very act of doing our ‘regular’ activity (e.g. typing) will trigger the pain – EXACTLY like an allergic response in the presence of a strong allergen. The response is triggered subconsciously – and, Sarno goes to great lengths to explain that there is NOTHING STRUCTURALLY broken in your body!
Sarno goes to great lengths to describe ways and techniques of IGNORING the pain – and continuing with daily activities as if the pain did not exist. This will convince the CONSCIOUS mind that there is nothing to worry about – and will eventually overpower the SUBCONSCIOUS mind. I do not disagree with these techniques. However, I found something simpler that amounted to the same thing (disrespecting the subconscious mind’s plan)
My (Modified) Solution
I decided to work on NOT CARING what anyone thought of me. Why did I take this approach?
The pain’s sole purpose in life was to distract you from BEING VIEWED as a physical wreck. Once the subconscious realizes that you really couldn’t care less HOW ANYONE VIEWED you, it has lost the motivation to keep the pain alive.
It really works. Trust me – give it a few weeks – in every situation – whether you are waiting in line and anxious about not slowing down the person behind you – or whether you are being over considerate to others at work (and taking on additional workload), try doing the opposite. Try saying to yourself, I DON”T CARE if they think I am rude. I DON’T CARE if they see me as a shirker (just because you don’t take on extra load doesn’t make you a shirker).
Once this I DON’T CARE takes root, apply it to your painful part.
Appendix A – The Distraction
The pain is a distraction from whatever is bothering you. How powerful is this distraction? How much of your life is it consuming. Most people who have TMS are not even aware of the INSANE amount of time and energy that this pain management requires of them. This is as designed by the subconscious. It is MEANT to take over your entire life.
However, most people DO NOT realize this overarching obsession with their painful condition. They feel that, in spite of the pain , their lives are continuing as normal. They go to work, they eat , they sleep – they carry on their day to day lives as normal. BUT THEY ARE FAR REMOVED FROM THEIR ACTUAL NORMAL LIVES. To truly realize this, one has to think back to the time BEFORE the injury manifested itself. What were the activities prior to then? Was ANY time spent thinking about the body part currently in pain?
Life without the injury moved at a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (and faster) pace! That IS meant to be the normal pace of life. TMS slows this down by interrupting (constantly) via the pain. However, like most magicians, the subconscious doesn’t let the subject become aware of this huge discrepancy in his/her lifestyle!