Q&A: Is Pain Part of Spiritual Growth?

Physical Pain Part of My Spiritual Journey?Here’s a question from within the community that deserves your attention to do it justice.

It comes from a delightful young woman who’s manifested major success, but feels stuck now. What say you, wise ones?

I’ve recently recovered from anorexia and substance abuse, and have used the law of attraction to manifest so many more amazing things in my life. It’s astounding how much my life has been healed with good vibes!

Except for one thing.

I’ve had awful health issues ever since recovering, namely digestive symptoms that cause me pain every second of every day. I ignored them for a year, convinced they would go away – but nope. No doctors, nutritionists, or natural healers have been able to help. I’ve had to quit my singing career and day job because the symptoms are too debilitating. I spend my days in bed, and am desperate to finally get to do all the things a normal twentysomething does!

I’m really lost, and have one big question: Could this be something I’m meant to suffer? Or should I only be focusing on health, and have unwavering faith that I will be healthy again some day?

Here’s the thing: being ill has made me grow spiritually so, so much. That’s why part of me wonders if it was meant to happen.

But I feel like I’ve learned what I needed to, and I can’t take any more of the suffering, not after so many years of addiction and mental illness. I feel like I’m weak already from the big battle I had to fight. I’m in such need of inspiration!

Looking forward to hearing from you all in the comments …

  • March 5, 2015
  • diksha says:

    Hi Jeanette,
    This is regarding recitation of mantras. Could you please tell, how a female can recite a mantra for 40 days continuously, since the monthly periods will interrupt.

  • diksha says:

    Hi Jeanette,
    I know this content is not appropriate here. But still.. This is regarding recitation of mantras. Could you please tell, how a female can recite a mantra for 40 days continuously, since the monthly periods will interrupt.

  • Jeannette says:

    Your input is fabulously helpful as always, my friends.
    Thought you might like to read this note I got from our questioner:
    “Oh wow! I’m so overwhelmed (in a good way), I can’t believe how varied the responses are and how many things I have to think about. My mind is blown. I cried right here at my desk. Thanks so much for your input, it is exactly what I needed to hear.”
    Thanks again, everyone! 🙂

  • Michael says:

    Hi. Can you give me your full birth date, time, as close as possible, and location. Maybe I can provide some helpful information. You can email me at michaelgrossmanart2me.com.

  • H. says:

    I really feel for this woman in your post. I know that she said that she has tried natural healers, but I’m wondering if she has tried something called Body Talk.
    It a miraculous modality that I have been learning. It works on a quantum level and heals the body, mind and spirit. I have heard so many cool stories of healing with this modality. The man who developed healed himself of Epstein Bar disease.
    I have a friend who was allergic to cats. She was with her son during a session and the practitioner was addressing the cat allergy for him. She is no longer allergic to cats because she was present at her son’s session. Amazing!!!
    If she is interested, she can go to the International Body Talk website and find someone in her area. http://www.bodytalksystem.com/seminars/index.cfm

  • Gary Bodley says:

    Dear One With Pain,
    Another word for spiritual growth is expansion. All life experience causes expansion. However, expansion is meant to be joyous.
    You do not need to gain spiritual growth through pain. While pain may indeed lead to spiritual gain, pain is never necessary. Pain is a side effect of your feelings which have manifested in your reality.
    Anorexia is the attempt to alter the physical condition of your body. You do not like your body so you try to change it. Changing the conditions leads to pain. Loving the conditions as they are and purposely feeling for what you desire leads to changes that occur using the leverage of universal forces. Fighting against what is and taking uninspired action to change your conditions causes pain.
    Drugs are used to alter your feelings. You feel bad and the drug causes you to feel differently. Now that the drugs are gone, your bad feelings have manifested into pain. Pain is the physical representation of how you have been chronically feeling for a long time.
    Your life has unfolded perfectly to bring you where you are at this moment in time. You are now open to new possibilities and the Law of Attraction has brought you to the brink of a new possibility. You have found interest in spiritual growth and this interest is leading you to learning about universal forces and the mechanism of physical reality. You are meeting people who understand that there is more to this reality than meets the eye. You have arrived at the beginning of a new path.
    Nothing that has happened in your past need affect your future. The fact that you are here now is what you might appreciate. This is a feeling reality. How you feel is the only thing that really matters. You have control over how you feel as long as you practice and exercise your mind. You can choose the thoughts you think. You can choose to look at things you like and feel appreciation. You can expect to feel good. You are supposed to feel good. Start right now demanding to feel good and do not allow yourself to dwell on thoughts that feel bad.
    You intended to grow spiritually in this lifetime, but you intended to do so joyously. You are as worthy as any who has ever lived. You are unique to all the universe and this fact proves your worthiness. You have been given free will and can do, be, and have anything you want. You can choose to feel good or bad. Your reality is simply the reflection of your predominance of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. You choose all of these. You have power to change them all. Decide now to feel good and make this your only work.
    You are loved more than you can imagine,

  • Tammy says:

    Everyone has given you wonderful advise. The vibrational responses here are assisting in your healing right now. Pain is definitely an inside job. As Jeannette said, no one is ever supposed to suffer. Suffering from pain is the manifestation of a resistance we are having toward something or someone. Sometimes we are unaware of what the congestion is centered upon. But remember that is all it is – a CONGESTION. Take the attention away from the pain – as hard as it may be – do not focus on it or expect it. Put the attention on what you DESIRE – the polar opposite of what you are experiencing. Your desire is one of ease and relief. You do this by giving ALL the attention to your breathing – breathe in life deeply, and fully expel life back into the Univerese. Direct the breath to the area of the body you are feeling discomfort. See the afflicted area in your imagination, and with each breath thank the Universe for your healing – the cells of your body will respond to the oxygen filled gratitude you are providing them. Now see and feel those cells rushing toward the afflicted area, filling it with energizing relief and ease. The cells of your body want you to feel good. They know how to keep everything in balance just perfectly. Our thinking directs the cells to perform the duties they were created to carry out. They are not doing anything they are not told to do – even if they are told subliminally. Pain can definitely be an experience, but it is not an entity. It is powerless. Be consistent in your treatments. Treat yourself as many times a day as you may need, but never mentally tire yourself. You must have faith in your power and faith in the unseen. Let the Universe and the unseen do its artistry.
    You Are Healed!

  • Katy says:

    As all have said here, it is all optional! The spin we put on anything is our take on it…label etc. I certainly do not believe anyone was ‘meant’ to suffer. It happens but again a physical reaction to a condition we are deeming ‘bad’ or ‘awful’ and our feeling negative emotion is Source letting us know we are not letting the love in, thus resistance. Perhaps knowing the fact that we ‘feel’ emotion at all (feels good or not so good) is to remember that it means Source is with us always – and wanting us to choose other thoughts to start improving the emotion which starts to draw improved circumstances to us.
    As others have said…make peace with where you are, trying not to label it awful or wrong – as there is ALWAYS relief waiting there for us. Finding relief from where you are is taking the next step and the next into more ease, more answers, more joy and improved health. It may be gradual or it may be more complete. But the body listens and absorbs from us. Find the moments when you are not as uncomfortable and start THEN to change the story in your head, and when any ‘uncomfortableness’ is present, this is the time for distraction, till you can find the relief and ease for that improved story or ANY story about what is good in your life. Often I have found for myself if something in my life is not going as I desire, I’m in some habit of looking at something (and labeling it…who me?? lol) as annoying, unpleasant, unfair and what do you know the Universe is matching me up with THAT. 🙂
    Loved all the insightful responses…thanks Jeannette for putting it out there 🙂

  • sonia says:

    From my experience, pain or disease is always a sign of resistance, more often than not resistance to something you’re not even aware of. 3 years ago, I thought I had manifested my dream job as a chief editor of a magazine. I love writing, I love meeting people so it was all I ever wanted or so I thought. Yes I could manage my time but I had so many events to attend to and interviews to make that it drove me crazy and I love to write, sure, but not on command and not with strict deadlines but I kept telling myself it was a perfect job. Months went buy and a pain in my shoulder started and then became excruciating. I went to a chiropractor but went on with my crazy schedule. It ended with a burnout. I had to stop. You’d think I would have understood by then, but no. I kept going till the magazine basically sank because of bad finances and I ended not being paid for the last 3 months. All the time my body tried to tell me to change some things and I didn’t listen.
    What I would do if I were in your shoes is accept the disease and even thank your body for it because she’s trying to get your attention. Journaling may help you uncover what you’ve been stuffing inside. Take a look at your life, what have you been “tolerating”?

  • Anna BoBana says:

    Physical pain – it is what it is, entirely conditional upon our view of it at the time. Great constant physical pain has a way of commanding our thoughts away from all that distracts.
    It can be the catalyst for anything and everything any of us may want it to be, at any particular time.
    Ultimately, the choice is made by each of us individually.

  • C says:

    Pain/suffering/illness isn’t NECESSARY, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a force for good while it’s here. It’s fantastic that it’s made you grow spiritually! I’ve been there, too — I think we probably all have. But that doesn’t mean it’s the ONLY way to grow spiritually. In your position, I’d examine whether spiritual growth might be a subconscious payoff for having the illness, whether somewhere deep down I might be scared that without it, the growth would stop, or that I’d lose some part of my identity without it, or… et cetera. Keep seeing it as a good thing while it’s here, and don’t give up hope that it can and will go away when the time is right!

  • Nona says:

    I’m going to get a little evangelical here: I swear by EFT Tapping. The Tapping Solution site has lots of great, free info if you’re looking to get started somewhere.

  • JG. says:

    I think it would be productive to think on the unconcious possibilities.
    For example, May there be a (false) belief that spiritual growth is linked to pain and suffering? If so, How much is this growth wished? Is this trade-off worth it?
    There may be numerous unconcious reasons to suffer, and I think as far as we are not aware of them, fighting them, only makes the conflict stronger.

  • Jeannette says:

    This is exactly why I wanted to get you guys in on this one! I knew you’d have lots of helpful suggestions.
    Thank you, Laura, for the tip to partner with the body for gleaning useful info. Nancy, I love your reminder to check for an emotional basis. And Natalie, it’s always a pleasure to hear your insights.
    Thanks for chiming in on this one, ladies! Much appreciated. 🙂

  • Nathalie says:

    I absolutely love what both Laura and AffirmingSpirit have said above. If you follow Louise Hay’s work all our physical complaints are symptoms of “dis-ease”… they happen because we’ve gotten ourselves out of alignment with Source. There is always a deeper emotional basis for the surface manifestations of pain or illness.
    Understanding what those deeper emotional roots are is often enough to dissolve the physical symptoms we are experiencing. At the same time, hunting for a “deep emotional cause” can also cause you to create things that were never there in the first place.
    If your initial “feelers” don’t seem to turn anything up along those lines, then don’t get yourself into a panic over hidden “issues” that you may (or may not!) have. Instead, work on shifting your focus. When we’re focused on pain, it makes it worse.
    I remember being in the hospital with contractions a month before my daughter was born — they had me hooked up to one of the machines that measures the contractions and outputs all the data on a screen and a ticker-tape paper, and they kept on getting worse and worse. And then one of the nurses looked at me thoughtfully and said “let’s try something” and she unhooked me from the monitor. I couldn’t see how bad the contractions were, so there was less anxiety, and the contractions started losing strength. It was a long night, but eventually they stopped and I was released the next morning.
    Which is a long-winded way of saying, find any way you can to shift your focus away from the pain. Music. Comedy shows. YouTube cat videos. Visualizing yourself enjoying a joyful pain-free day. Whatever works for you. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to break the cycle and allow yourself to create a different story.
    P.S. One other thing that might help with the symptoms — I had really bad abdominal pains about 10 years ago. They wouldn’t go away and I got sent to a specialist and he wanted to give me drugs that I didn’t want to take. I did some research and ended up trying enteric coated peppermint oil, which has the effect of soothing the intestinal muscle spasms that they thought were causing my pain. It worked, and after a few months I didn’t even have to take the peppermint anymore. Note: I am not a medical doctor and this is not meant to be construed as medical advice. Just my personal experience. Might be something to ask your own health care professionals about, though.
    P.P.S. We recently had a discussion about this very question of whether pain and suffering are necessary for personal growth in the FB group I run. Turned it into a blog post, if you’re interested: http://www.vibeshifting.com/suffering-and-personal-growth/

  • Great points, Jeannette, that suffering and pain is optional! (Even if it might seem like we have no choice…we actually do have a choice what story we tell about sensations we feel.)
    While I am not a doctor, and I don’t play one on the internet, Abraham has recommended that our first step in dealing with any physical sensations is to give them our FULL undivided attention:
    • Where exactly is the pain?
    • What does it truly feel like?
    • Is it sharp? Dull? Hot? Something else?
    While you are giving the sensations your undivided attention, truly FEELING the pain and not resisting it, notice what thoughts/stories from the past or present pop into your mind
    Body sensations can be like emotional *bookmarks* – there to remind us of something yet to be healed. When we feel the sensation fully and follow the mental breadcrumbs, we will often be guided to an old emotional wound that we are now ready to heal.
    Perhaps when a trauma first happened, we were not prepared or able to heal ourselves, so the the energy gets stored in our cells until a later time when we have the skills and wisdom to deal with it better.
    Beyond that, I will say that our *pain* (emotional or physical)—while optional—can often be fuel for not only spiritual growth but also helping others. I invite the questioner to feel her physical sensations and ask, “How might this be a blessing?”
    I would also change the story that no one could help. Hold out the possibility that there is a practitioner who provides a great solution that works wonderfully.
    Sending waves of good vibes and healing energy to the questioner!
    Many blessings,

  • Laura says:

    Okay, a few things come to mind here.
    1) The body always knows. Have you “asked” why you have this pain or what it needs?
    2) Physical symptoms are always a manifestation of something going on emotionally. Perhaps there is some residual issues/beliefs/stories from your anorexia/substance abuse days that is still calling out for attention?
    3) What if you declared and/or decided that you are ready to release this pain for good? I tried this and had miraculous results.
    4) Are you doing anything to contribute to your own healing? I ask this because I too had digestive issues when I was in my 20’s. I went to traditional doctors (I grew up in a very health conscious household so not unusual for us to seek alternative treatments) who told me I had symptoms of an ulcer and put me on 3 different types of medication and altered my diet. They were treating the symptoms. I did seek out a complementary physician who found I had food allergies, malabsorption and a compromised immune system so it was a viscous cycle. I started to read as much as I could on the subject as I want to be part of my healing. I ate well (when I could) and felt like I was seeing someone who was looking at me as a whole person and not just treating my symptoms. Took about a year but fully healed.
    5) What you think might be the payoff in “hanging on” to this illness? Something to explore.
    6) As Jeannette stated, accept where you are and know that everyday you are getting better and stronger. You body has the ability to heal itself (it has been proven many times) and even visualizing what a healthy digestive system would feel like works wonders.
    Hope this helps.

  • Jeannette says:

    My two cents: none of us were meant to suffer. Ever. For any reason.
    So I would consider that optional, once and for all.
    Learning how to opt out of it is what I would be focusing on.
    Where I personally would start is making peace with what is, so I don’t have resistance continuing to fuel this condition. I might study the methodologies of managing chronic pain. I might invite higher power to help me get okay with this reality. And I know you’ll already be good at this – but reminding myself how much this has benefited my life.
    And when I’ve made inroads there, I might then remind myself that it won’t necessarily always be this way. Not because I hate it, but because life has a way of continuing to change. So why wouldn’t this, as well? I mean, I’m good either way. I can still get enjoyment from life even with this condition present, and I’m open to the experience that it might not always be present.
    But first up is making some peace. Letting it be. Releasing my negative story about the physical pain I’m with. Because that part of the suffering is within my power to choose out of.
    Once I’ve done that, I might feel more space to own my power in creating the rest of the story differently, too.
    I might embrace a mantra about how things are always working out for me and life just keeps getting better. And I’ll celebrate the evidence of that wherever I can, no matter how “small” that evidence might seem.
    In that way I become a cooperative component to the best life that Universe has cued up to deliver.
    But I’m so interested to hear from others on this – especially those who have personal experience with something like this.

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