RamDev and Christiane Wolf share a conversation about how pain does not cause suffering, how mindfulness can help us deal with chronic pain, and the connection between grief and pain.
Christiane Wolf, MD, Ph.D., is a physician turned mindfulness and compassion teacher and a senior teacher at InsightLA. She trains teachers and teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion to groups and individuals in the US and across Europe. Christiane is the author of Outsmart Your Pain: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion to Help You Leave Chronic Pain Behind. Learn more about her at christianewolf.com.
Pain Does Not Cause Suffering
RamDev and Christiane begin their conversation by talking about how pain does not cause suffering, rather it’s the resistance to pain that causes the suffering. Pain is mandatory, but suffering is optional. They discuss how medicine is mostly used to treat fear of pain, not pain itself, and how physical pain often translates into emotional pain.
“So that is one thing that I see, is just like having something physically going on, physical chronic pain or chronic illness, usually comes with quite a lot of emotional distress too.” – Christiane Wolf
Joseph Goldstein explores pain and the present moment in Insight Hour Ep. 114
The Mindfulness Buffer (15:45)
RamDev and Christiane touch on how there’s still a fear of death involved with holistic medical practices, the difference between letting go and letting be, and how our underlying fear of death is about a lack of control. Christiane talks about how mindfulness can be a buffer for chronic pain, while RamDev shares his concept of the Tantric Three Step.
“But it does go to show that pain is a little more interesting and complex than we think it is. I mean, almost always, pain is changing moment to moment to moment, it’s not a monolithic lump. To be able to be with the changing quality, to let the change arise in the spaciousness of an open mind, is where healing happens.” – RamDev
Jack Kornfield opens our hearts to the vast spiritual mystery of death in Heart Wisdom Ep. 134
Grief and Pain (30:25)
The conversation turns to equanimity and compassion, how sadness and joy, destruction and creation, all go together. They explore grief, and Christiane talks about the interaction between grief and pain. RamDev brings up his work with conscious dying, and they discuss how it’s not about helping people die well, it’s about helping them heal.
“First, we fear grief as an emotion because it can take us so over and it can take us so apart.” – Christiane Wolf