Chronic Pain is a whole body, whole mind, whole spirit state of being. Pain, as we know, can consume us, and it is essential that along with the medical professionals and loved ones who care for us we reach out to find ways to keep our spirits, our hearts, strong, safe, and well tended to as well.
For many, including those who live with Chronic Pain, a rich resource for spiritual well-being and solace, especially in times of duress and suffering is….
A form of prayer know as
Guard of the Heart.
It is a practice rooted in peace, keeping ourselves, our heart and mind in a state of centeredness and calm. Living with chronic pain we know that stress, in all its forms can often lead to pain so learning to manage our stressors becomes vitally important. Guard of the Heart is an ancient form of prayer that can serve us well in the stressful world we live in today, giving us a powerful tool (as opposed to feeling victimized by it and the pain it so often triggers).
Guard of the Heart is a practice of vigilance and requires us to stay awake and aware, and to, in essence, guard our castle, ourselves, our being. Peace cannot be found in a heart that is left unprotected or worse, exposed to or placed in unsafe environments. We need to learn to sense when we feel ill at ease, when people, places or situations upset us and to minimalize our exposure to them. Our hearts are sensitive to everything, including the people we are with. Our environment is an energy field. We must tend to all of these with great care if we are to take proper care for our spiritual well-being.
“When we guard our hearts, we prevent obstacles to prayer from entering our consciousness by placing our primary effort and attention at the entrance of our heart…” ~ Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
The Practice then entail several steps and a dedication to the practice:
* Become aware of energies that are disturbing or negative to us.
* Pause and stand guard at the entrance to our hearts.
* Stop ourselves BEFORE the process of questioning, doubt, suggestion, temptation and later, upset and blame, begins.
The fruit of the practice is a heart and spirit that grow strong. By not allowing upset into our lives we then surround ourselves with positivity and allow room for love, peace and spiritual well-being and connectedness to flourish.