Vigilance isn't what I thought it was.
My chronic pain went away when I came across the Three Principles but I have always found it hard to explain exactly how that happened until something popped for me yesterday that might be helpful.
We often talk about people with chronic pain having a perfectionist personality but I had never seen myself that way. Somewhere along my self-help journey, I realized that I often noticed everything that is wrong, at least to my eyes and the way I used to think. Many of my friends have said that my personality softened after I came across the Principles, I mean I hope I wasn’t too much of a monster before but I was very certain about what I believed and thought anyone who didn’t agree with me was either stupid or needed educating. I know, you probably just raised your eyebrows. Well, I’m seeing now that as I got more clarity about how my mind works, it automatically relaxed my need to be right, it's very stressful having to be the responsible one all the time and that stress kept me in pain. As my mind and personality relaxed so did my body and well, that's when the pain left. Now that I know my wellbeing is innate, I don’t need to be so vigilant about everyone behaving the right way for me to be ok.
Then it popped.
I’ve noticed that many of my clients have been through some kind of trauma, whether it's abuse, violence, loss or an accident, even surgery and as you probably know, one of the symptoms of PTSD is hypervigilance. I had always thought that hypervigilance was about looking for the possible dangers out there but that's a very 'Outside-In' view of the world. For about 10 years after my muggings, I was so hyper and jumpy about anything or anyone that my nervous system was on edge all the time but even as I recovered, my thinking was still psyched up, vigilantly looking for imperfection and I was still in pain. I never saw perfectionism as a way of protecting myself from danger before. But now I see that as my personality softened with the clarity of the Principles, the world became a much safer place, and well, my chronic pain just went away.