Pain Is Subjective!

Pain is Subjective

I often listen to athletes talking about their level of pain that builds up during a race, and they often ask what they can do about it.

We seem to feel that any physical symptom that arises is a fixed position that cannot be moved or transformed in any way. This is simply not the case.

Even the medical fraternity has started to investigate the powers of meditation and hypnotherapy, as a way of decreasing the need for anaesthetics in surgery. The simple fact is, that if you come to the realisation that you are more than a physical bag of bones thrown together in some interstellar game of chance, then it’s reasonable to accept that perhaps doing some practise around our consciousness could enhance our performances in sport. Why would that be so? Because from the perspective of consciousness, pain is subjective.

The Pebble Analogy

Ok let’s look at some examples.

Let’s say for instance that you are in a race and pain is building up in your torso. The pain increases, and the natural tendency is to tighten up and try to ignore it, but usually at the cost of form and function. So what can you do?

You need to bring this pain into consciousness. In other words, instead of cutting yourself off from this pain, you need to move towards it. Moving towards pain consciously creates a space for it to be there; yes, this is a psychological application that has an amazing impact in the body when you apply it.

I like to use my pebble analogy here, because it does a great job of explaining how this works. When you throw a pebble into a pond, the pebble hits the water and concentric waves fan out from the source of impact, in this case the pebble. As the waves fan out, what do you notice in the middle where the pebble hits? Yes, the water becomes clear and there are no waves, those waves are moving outwards leaving space. The pebble represents consciousness.

In the same way, bringing the focused consciousness to the point of pain in the felt sense, causes the pain to dissolve outwards, away from the source of pain and tension. What is left behind is a transformation of the pain and tension into space and power.

Try it For Yourself

This is something that you can try for yourself. Instead of judging the pain as negative, accept it fully and move towards it, allowing all the feeling around that pain to be there and to be fully felt. In this lesson you will learn that pain won’t kill you, but also that you can be in pain, and still relax without tension.

I believe that for any athlete the only question worth asking is: “Can I be here and relax with this pain?” Like everything, this is trainable and hardly anyone looks at it. Perhaps it’s time you did!

I’d love to hear from you, to let me know what you find out about your own capacity to handle pain using this analogy. I will be diving deeper into the judgement of pain in our upcoming Mind Series workshops in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Information can be found here if you’re interested.


Grant Giles created Sports Supports after 30 years as both an athlete and coach, and 10 years studying ego psychology. Grant understands first hand what it takes to succeed in sport, regardless of which sport this is, and what level you are competing at. Not only does Grant understand the ego at an athletic level, Grant has also suffered from anxiety and depression throughout his life, having experienced first hand the debilitating effects of the mind. Grant has an easy, caring nature that allows him to meet his clients in a way that creates an ease that allows him to facilitate personal growth whether that be on a sporting or personal level, or both.

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