Pain and Stress [2]

The only receptors in our skin are for touch, temperature, and chemical change. That’s it.

There are no ‘pain’ receptors in the body.

There are no ‘stress’ receptors in the body.

We feel pain because we create a link between a pattern of sensations and pain.

We experience stress because we create a link between a pattern of events and stress.

Using pain as an example: one person may interpret a light touch as painful, whereas another person may express that they felt only a prick or a pinch when touched identically.  One person is not right, and the other wrong. They are both right because in their world (which is the only world that exists to their brain, thus to them) is what they have made themselves believe. From the moment we are born, we learn how to experience and interpret this world: our parents teach us, our culture teaches us, our community teaches us, media teaches us, our friends teach us, our life experiences teach us what to “see” and how to “see” and therefore how to respond to life.

Candace Pert in her book “Molecules of Emotion” writes:book - Pert

“There is no objective reality! In order for the brain not to be overwhelmed by the constant deluge of sensory input, some sort of filtering system must enable us to pay attention to what our bodymind deems the most important pieces of information and to ignore the others.”

This is a challenging concept to accept… how can we all “see” a different world? We can. Candace explains that this is possible because we have all trained our individual filters of the world to “see” and focus on different aspects of the world. We don’t “see” everything before us, we “see” only what we want to see, and sometimes it doesn’t even need to be real in order for us to see it. Case in point, does a monster live under your child’s bed?

If accepting that what we “see” is not necessarily what there is to see, then accepting the newest understanding of the potential of our eyes maybe even more challenging. In the past, as you may recall from biology class, the eyeball has been described only as a receptor, with the light sensitive area on the back of the eyeball – the area called the retina – only able to receive sensory inputs, converting and transmitting those signals into neural messages to the brain for assembly and interpretation, giving us the sense of sight. Now physics, quantum mechanics to be exact sheds light on the fact that our eyes may not only be receptors, but function equally as projectors, allowing our brain to project out into the world what we want to see.

Have you ever been driving your car, when all of a sudden you go through an intersection and ask yourself were the lights red or green?  If so, then what were you focusing on instead of driving? A thought, a feeling, a person, or nothing as you mindlessly followed the car ahead. How is it that you didn’t “see” the light? It was there, others saw the light, just not you that time.

Have you ever stared at clouds with your children, asking them what they see in the formations? Children can see dinosaurs, a witch on a broom, a spiders web, or perhaps the family dog or cat sitting against a blue backdrop.  Do we always “see” the same image as someone else?  Sometimes.  Other times, we need them to share how they see the image… look, there is the head, the teeth, the short little T-Rex arms, and the long tail.  Oh! Now I see it!

Isn’t that life?  You go into a business meeting, you are dealing with a problem and just cannot see how to resolve it in a manner that both the corporation and the client win? But during the meeting, someone points out the ‘how’, and takes the time to explain how they “see” the how coming to be, and then all of a sudden you see it too.  Why didn’t you see it before? Where was it that someone else saw the solution, but you didn’t? Now consider that someone else saw what you needed to see when it wasn’t even their problem to start? How is that even possible?

It is no different in sport. How was the 4 minute mile broken by Roger Bannister? How was the hour record broken by Bradley Wiggins?  How was the 100m sprint record taken down to 9.58seconds by Usain Bolt? How did Phelps win 8 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics? Someone saw something in their mind’s eye, then using their sight they projected it into the world, bringing their imagination, their creativity to life. How did Silken Laumann win a Bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with a still fractured ankle, only 10 weeks after having her entire right lower leg mangled in a boating accident?  She saw it, in her mind, she saw her mind heal her injuries, reconcile her pains, she saw her body strengthen, she saw her win.

Life is about bringing the invisible into the visible.

There may be one world before all of our eyes, but we can “see” any number of worlds: in our heads imagining responsibilities at work, duties at home, a recent conversation, images from media, or looking inside, in our minds creating a solution to a problem, in our bodies sensing the internal world within each of us.  What we “see” is entirely dependent on what we chose to focus on (decision #1), and what we “see” is also entirely dependent on how we chose to interpret (decision #2) what we see. Every moment of every day, we are constantly making decision #1 and #2, unconsciously or consciously, and with these decisions we making decisions regarding our world. We decide if we are safe, loved, cared for or if we are threatened.  We decide if we are hurt, in pain, injured, or if we are stressed, at our limit, or not. We decide to focus on problems, or their solutions. We decide to live in pain, or free of pain.

There is no universal level of pain nor of stress, its all individual.

The concept of limitless worlds existing simultaneously will be exciting to those with imaginations which “see” a world of endless opportunity, countless chances to create, the potential to make the invisible, visible…. to bring to life an idea, a vision, a dream.

The concept of limitless worlds existing simultaneously will be threatening, fear inducing to those with imaginations which “see” a world filled with nothing but danger, threat, harm; to them this concept may induce anxiety, depression, even panic.

So what unifies us to cooperate, to partner, to join together to make a dream come to life, or simply to live peacefully with one another?  Our core beliefs.  What we believe is the root of what and how we “see” the world.  If we were raised by loving, encouraging parents who modeled life for us as filled with endless opportunity, where growth is key, success is measured not at any destination, but in progress, and failure is anticipated, understood as being a measure of and indication of progress, then we will go through life “seeing” it as such. If we were raised in a household where abuse, control, emotional manipulation, and fear were the graffiti across our bedroom walls, then we would be likely to at least start off life “seeing” the world as out to get us, against us, wanting to use us, corner us, abuse us, and we may withdraw from life, or become violent or aggressive as a response to keeping the world at bay.

No two people ‘feel’ pain or ‘experience’ stress exactly alike, because no two people create the exact same link between sensations. No two people “see” the world exactly alike. It can be close, but no one is you, and you are not anyone else. We are all unique individuals, with unique upbringings, unique histories, so there is no possible way for any two of us to see any situation exactly alike…. that is until we sit down, face to face, sharing our ideas, free from judgement, open to the perspectives of others, open to discussing our ideas.  Even then, no one is obligated to agree, and sometimes walking away agreeing to disagree is the only reasonable option.

Perceptions are not fixed.  We were not born with perceptions, our perceptions developed as our senses developed.  Our upbringing heavily influenced and/or inspired our senses, but that doesn’t mean that we are stuck to sense life in the same way for our entire life.  Our senses were trained once, they can be untrained, and retrained, reconditioned to whatever we want to see, to believe.  Our perceptions of the world were developed once, they can be redeveloped.

We are the creators of how we perceive the world, therefore we equally have the power and the freedom to rewrite those definitions.  Every moment is a new moment, an opportunity to see things a new way.  Every day is a new day, with the opportunity to start fresh. We have the opportunity to live a different life, the life we want to live, but that is possible only when we accept that we are in full control, and that we do have the power to change what we “see”.

We were not designed to be victims, we are designed to be victors.

We are each designed to be nothing less than a champion.


  1. If You Think You’re Tough, Do You Feel Less Pain?