Pain and how to overcome it

I recently had an accident in Vietnam. I broke both bones in my left arm, dislocated my wrist and sprained my elbow (I know, it’s a new one on me too). I was in a Vietnamese village with no English-speaking staff and all they would give me for the pain, was paracetamol. This was my home and the location of my surgery for the next five days. The pain could have been horrendous, had I allowed it to be. But as much as we might not believe or realise, pain and suffering can be averted through other techniques, such as meditation. In this situation, I had to use meditation to overcome the pain, because this was the only option I had. It was also the best option I had, regardless of what drugs any hospital may have.


When we experience any form of pain or suffering, we understandably can find it very hard to overcome. Many of us feel that the only way to get through this, is to wait. And whilst time can heal, there are other ways in which you can heal yourself and overcome suffering or pain, regardless of what form it is.

If you're willing to try, follow the steps that I have laid out here and reach out to us if you have any questions or if you require any additional support. Please be assured, it is always possible to be free from pain and suffering if you are open to trying a different perspective. We are all different, so we all respond differently to different approaches. 


First things first, we must accept pain. Many people become their pain. It becomes their identity. As Dr John, a famous New Orleans jazz musician once said, “If you don't roll with it, you will roll under it”. I think the literal translation here is simple: if you don't overcome this problem, it will overcome you and this is when things can become very uncomfortable. This doesn't mean just getting on with life. It means acceptance of what this pain is in your life, but also the awareness that you are not this pain.

This first step is undoubtedly the most difficult for most of us. Accepting a loss, a bereavement, a physical injury or the end of a relationship can be very difficult. But if you can say to yourself "I accept this, this has happened to me”, you are already on the path to healing yourself. This connection and relationship that you create with this pain, is really important. It is a feeling, a perception or a view of yours. It is also just like a cloud. And all clouds pass. You cannot attach yourself to this pain, because just like a cloud, it will soon be gone. Just like you cannot love a cloud. You can look and admire this for a moment. But only, for a moment.

Don't fear the pain that you feel at this moment. Don't fight it. Be with it but do not become it.

Speak with others

It is very common to bottle things up at times of difficulty. Putting on a brave face, being strong for others. These are both understandable, but should be avoided. But sometimes we take this approach because we are too afraid to speak about how we feel. Sometimes we do this because we feel we cannot face this suffering. But if you have already worked through the acceptance phase, speaking with others about this will become easier. And speaking with others, will help you to come to terms with things.

If you do not speak about how you feel, you could create a blockage, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. This can lead to further emotional or physical pain, so it is very important that you choose somebody to open up to and share how you feel with.


Identify the gift

In healing, we say that there is a gift in everything. All pain offers a gift of some sort, but in difficult times, it can be tough to discover this.

Let me give you an example. If somebody were to find themselves exiting a relationship, and perhaps this was not their choice, this person may see the gift in this pain as being new found freedom to do whatever they wish. They may see this as the first opportunity in many years to really focus on themselves and love themselves, after much time of putting somebody else before them.

Another example is a physical example from my experience in Vietnam when I broke my arm.  I was lucky to survive the incident, and the healthcare that I received was very basic. But at no point did I really worry. I accepted it and very soon, I discovered the gift.  For the next few weeks, I only have the use of one hand and arm.  And whilst I accept that it is inconvenient, it's made everything I do a little more mindful, a little slower. Everything I do in my usual routine, now feels like a mini meditation. And funnily enough, the second gift that I least expected is that it takes me a lot less time to get ready in the mornings because I no longer have the option to spend unnecessary time making sure that everything is perfect before I leave the house! Who knew that I would actually save time in the mornings. A broken bone is a small pain that will soon go away. And the gifts that have come from this experience are also small. But the awareness of these gifts, provides a healthy mindset and is an important part of my healing process.

I invite you to take a moment and take yourself back to a time when you have suffered from some form pain. Try to reflect on what the gift was. Maybe you didn't see at the time, but perhaps now you can discover this…

Try this meditation practice

Prepare for your meditation just like normal. Visualise the pain. If it is a person, see them. If it is a part of your body, visualise this. Whatever it is, try to see this.

Once you have visualised what you are going to focus on, start to slow down your breath and continue to focus on the image that you have chosen. On each in breath, see the pain gets closer and closer to you. At the end of each in breath it should feel so close that you are almost touching it. As you breathe out each time, see this pain move away from you. see it move away from you, so far that at the end of your out breath, you can barely see it.

Do this for 10 minutes or so each day. It may feel extremely difficult to do this at first, but after a few days you will start to feel stronger, you will start to feel the peace and the freedom that you have given yourself through this very simple practice.


It's not easy, and it does take courage to be able to tackle pain like this. Whether it is physical, emotional or anything else, even if it feels really, really tough, you can overcome it by following these steps. I’ve used meditation techniques in difficult times, whether it’s emotional suffering or most recently when I found myself having surgery in a Vietnamese village to repair my arm.

Please let us know if you try this technique and if you have any questions. As always, if you require further support, please do get in touch.

Philip x

Further resources on dealing with pain and suffering

Eckhart Tolle, Sadhguru and Mooji

Eckhart Tolle – The End of Suffering

Mooji – How to Use Pain to Find the Way Home:

Blue Monday Survival Toolkit

Today has been labelled Blue Monday.  Here at Haelan we totally disagree in creating labels as when you label something, it becomes so.  We have taken the opportunity to look Blue Monday in the face and blow a raspberry at it by creating our Haelan Blue Monday Survival Toolkit!  We believe that every day has the potential to be a positive one regardless of the detail of the day.

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1. Start the day saying something positive about yourself and in turn say something positive to someone else in your life

2. Get involved in some sort of exercise and get your body moving.  Whether it is centering yourself with Yoga or Pilates, going for a walk or a run or sweating profusely at the gym...we believe that moving the body encourages a positive feeling.

3. Look at something you have in your life that you appreciate or remind yourself of a positive moment in your life and relive that feeling of gratitude.

4. List your favourite pieces of music, pop it on nice and loudly and dance around like you have never danced before.  Create a kitchen disco and bop until you drop!

5. Create a positive mantra for yourself for the day and then repeat it throughout the day.  It could be I Am Strong or I Am Beautiful or I Am Good Enough...

6. Inject some colour into your life.  Wear black and you may feel more sombre.  Wear yellow and you may feel more bright.  Look at where you can bring colour into your life through the colours you wear, the things you buy and items you surround yourself with.

Have a happy, positive day and bright blessings to you all.

Rebecca X


Q&A Session - Introduction to Meditation with Philip Storey


Here at Haelan Therapy, we are excited to announce that we are launching a brand-new meditation course starting in January 2018.  Haelan's founder, Rebecca Kelly sat down with our resident meditation teacher, Philip Storey to talk about what the course will cover, what students can expect to gain from coming along and why it's a little bit different to some of the other options out there. Here's what they discussed...

Rebecca: What prompted you to start an introductory course for meditation?

Philip: So many people want to meditate. However, knowing where or how to start can be the biggest obstacle. A lot of people start practicing alone with apps or through reading books, but find that challenges come up along the way and they may not have an outlet to ask questions or the support to get back on track. It's when people arrive at these obstacles, where support and community can really help. I wanted to create something where people can really come and focus on learning and practicing meditation with others, in a small group because in my experience this is how we get the most from exploring meditation.

Rebecca: What does the course cover?

Philip: This introductory course covers everything you need to learn and explore meditation. Students who get started with meditation make it a routine in their life that they really look forward to each day.  We are going to explore the fundamentals of meditation including techniques for preparing, sitting and breathing correctly. Each week we will learn and practice a new form of meditation that each of us will continue to practice at home for the duration of that week.  When students graduate, they will have a toolbox of new skills and experiences with meditation that they can dip into as they continue their practice thereafter.

Rebecca: What can students expect to gain from the course, beyond simply learning more about meditation?

Philip: Those that attend, will begin to understand themselves better. Students often say they feel more connected with themselves, they feel calmer when going about their everyday lives. Many say that they start to understand some of the emotions that come up in their lives and feel as though they are able to deal with things that challenge them, more easily. 

Rebecca: Why is this course different from other courses?

Philip: There are lots of things that make this course little bit different.  Firstly and most importantly, this course is conducted in the healing environment of Haelan Therapy. This means that we follow the same healing methods that you will encounter with any other Haelan experience, providing a safe and open environment for you to explore meditation and any feelings or emotions that come up along the way.

Secondly, the structure of the course is relatively unique. We will learn and practice together in a small group each week and each student will be given a meditation partner that rotates each time we meet. The purpose of this is to enable each student to have a personal, one-to-one and group experience of meditation each week. Further to this, each student is invited to join the course community online. This means that each attendee can continue to work with the group, share their progress and experiences and ask me and the other attendees questions whenever they arise. Once the course finishes, attendees will be able to remain in this community and join the Haelan meditation alumni online community to further and deepen their meditation practice.

Rebecca: Who is this course for and who will benefit?

Philip: The introduction to meditation five-week course is designed for most levels of meditation experience. You don't need to be able to sit in lotus pose or be a yogi! All you need is an interest in meditation. You don't need any experience with meditation either - I will guide you every step of the way.   Students that will benefit most are those that are new to meditation, those that would like to make meditation a daily practice and for those that have meditated previously, but for whatever reason it isn't part of your daily routine any longer.

Rebecca: When is it, how much is it and how can people sign up?

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Philip: The course starts on Sunday, January 21st at 6pm and runs for five weeks at the same time and day each week. It’s just £45 for the entire course. To sign up CLICK HERE or to enquire CLICK HERE. We’d love to see you on the course.