Over the coming weeks I’d like to explore with you a system of thinking about pain and it’s management – a system that you are already engaged in.
The first part of this system involves three levels, and describes your experience of life and living; it’s quality and enjoyment (or lack of). It’s important to identify at which level you operate, so that you can see how you can progress to a better quality of life through your awareness.
So what are these levels? The first level I will discuss is level three. Level three people tell themselves constantly why they can’t do the things they want, or why they can’t have the results that they want, and it is usually because of some factor external to themselves – their spouse, their boss, their family, their education or more importantly, their health and fitness. Level three people are invested in their story, the ‘reason’ why they can’t do the things that they say are important to them. “I can’t work because of my bad back”, “I can’t play sport because of my migraines”, “I can’t travel to see my family because I have no energy”, and so it goes.
Level three people are skeptical that there is any help or relief in sight, and will sometimes even become angry if their story is questioned by unsympathetic people who just don’t understand how they suffer. Alternately, level three people will hide their symptoms and troubles from outside scrutiny, and will subsequently isolate themselves even further because they don’t allow themselves to talk about the difficulties they face.
If you are constantly giving reasons why you can’t and it has something to do with your health, chances are you are engaged at level three, and your life is a shadow of its potential. If we move up the scale and examine level two, we find people who have an awareness that perhaps they can create a better life and better health, but may not have a clear idea where to begin. These folks may investigate different and alternate ways to increase their options, and may even implement some suggestions, techniques and therapies that they come across.
The capacity for a more fulfilling life and an increased level of happiness is enhanced at this level, although setbacks may still occur when things aren’t going their way. They may also find that they regress to level three at times when they are stressed and overwhelmed, and when a new treatment or therapy is not living up to it’s promise. While operating at level two, they are still attached to their symptoms and fail to see themselves as the creator of their lives. While they may have a greater awareness at this level than at level three, they will generally be unaware to what degree they can positively influence their experience and ensure a higher quality of life and vitality.
Which brings us to level one. Level one people behave as if their quality of life is entirely in their hands. They are able to influence their state of mind, their emotions and so their daily experience because they believe that they can. They are not interested in logic, if it’s true or false – they know that if they believe that it is true, then it becomes true for them.
Now they are not going to suddenly tell themselves they can fly or walk on water, because that would violate the laws of nature. But where their health and fitness is concerned, they believe that they have a say in what their body is capable of, in the miracle that it is, and in their positive intention to create a life of their own design. While they may occasionally slip back into level two, they will generally remind themselves that they are grateful for the good and the bad in life, since it has brought them to where they are today, with all its joys and lessons. They understand that problems are opportunities for growth, and not obstacles to their happiness.
And that the higher quality of problem they are gifted, the more opportunity for growth that they have. Have you ever striven for something so determinedly, even when the odds seemed to be against you, and still succeeded? The ability to overcome odds is food and drink to level one people. Their ability to embrace choice sets the level one people apart from the rest – and they see everything as a choice, and are grateful for the choices that they have. While it may not seem so to some of us, we do have a choice at which level we operate, and therefore we have a choice of our results.
We will typically spend a varying amount of time in one or more of these levels, and we can improve the quality of life that we experience on a day to day basis by embracing level one experience as much as possible.