Wisdom traditions, including the yogic path, hold that we are whole already, just as we are. If you feel pain or any other kind of misery, you might beg to differ with this idea. But let's play with it to see where it takes us.
The word "health" means to restore to a state of wholeness. If we are whole already, in spite of our misery, what does this mean? What are the barriers we have within us against love, against health - and how can we remove them?
The answer to this reminds me of something I once read about Michelangelo - how, when he was creating the statue of David, he said that the statue was already present in the marble - he was just chipping away the pieces that didn't belong.
Both yoga and science agree that present pain and suffering are a result of past trauma, loss, grief, illness and stress.* In yogic terms, suffering can manifest through samskaras, or deep behaviour patterns, both mental and physical, that keep us from fulfilling our full potential. When we meditate and practise yoga, we learn to recognize our behaviour patterns, or habits. As we become aware, we can learn to shift our habits, and create new patterns that are healthier and more attuned to our deepest needs. (Remember your New Year's resolutions? You may already know a few habits that you'd like to shift.)
Just as we can practise bad habits, we can also practise good ones. Practise relaxing, and you will learn to relax. Practise compassion and love for yourself and others, and you will start to feel it more and more. (Have you let some of your New Year's resolutions slip? This is a good place to start practising compassion for yourself!) The transformational healing happens bit by bit, as you become aware of habits that do not serve you, and begin to practise ones that do. And so the healing comes from within, from your innate state of wholeness. As you remove what doesn't belong, your true self emerges.
*Kelly McGonigal, PhD., Yoga for Pain Relief
Donna offers a holistic perspective on the relationship and healing of physical and emotional pain.