As a child, I remember learning you could start a fire by focusing a magnifying glass on tinder. If you held the glass long enough so the sun would shine through it, eventually the tinder would ignite. I think sometimes we act like the magnifying glass and focus on our pain until it blossoms and intensifies.

I worked with a man once who had PTSD but refused to talk about it. That was ok, it was his choice, but by closing himself off from others, it also forced him to stay exactly where he was so he didn’t heal at all. His physical pain was intolerable. The doctors tried everything to bring it under control, yet nothing worked. Eventually, one of his aides gained his trust and he began talking about his experiences. The aide found that this man believed he had done such hideous things that he had to suffer to pay for his prior behaviors.

This individual focused directly on his pain until he became a slave to it. It ruled over every aspect of his life until he was finally began to forgive himself for the insanity that the situation forced upon him. Then, his pain was brought under control.

I am not suggesting that everyone’s pain is caused by a belief that we have to suffer, but I am saying that we can focus on our pain until it becomes so severe, it cannot be controlled. That is why diversion is such a powerful tactic in controlling pain. When we focus on something we really enjoy doing, we may reach a point where we aren’t even aware of the pain. Getting into a good book, or doing any activities you love to do can help take your focus off your pain.

We all seem to be able to withstand a certain amount of pain, especially if there is an end in sight. When pain reaches the point where it becomes relentless, then you may want to try changing your focus. Meditation is a great way to start, but immersing yourself in any activity that captures your full attention is the key. Will it cure your pain? No, but it can remove it for a while and that can make all the difference.



  1. Pingback: PTSD: CHANGING YOUR FOCUS – Healing Veterans one step at a time

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