Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Dr. Irene Conlan on February 20, 2014, for her self-empowerment radio show on Voice America. Many subjects addressed in Leap of Faith were discussed. The show flowed effortlessly due in large part to Irene’s excellent questions, and a lot of information was shared.  If you want to listen to the interview, the link is //

Irene began one of her questions to me with a quote from my book that although pain in this life is unavoidable, suffering is optional. She asked what I would say to one of my patients who was in pain with terminal cancer who was afraid of dying.

First of all, I would prescribe as much medication as was needed to control the pain. If stronger medication, or more intensive care was needed, I would bring in hospice to assist us.

Regarding the pain, I would say to my patient that although you have pain with your illness, you have a choice how you react to the pain.  You can choose fear, feel like a victim of circumstance, or blame somebody (even God). That is suffering.  Or you can choose to come from the opposite of fear — love. Make every effort to pro-actively pursue healing, receiving help from professional practitioners, but also doing all you can do to improve the quality of your life and practice various ways of self-healing.

The more positive approach is more likely to result in healing. We are all capable of creating our own reality, affecting the outcome with the power of our thoughts and intentions. Attitude makes all the difference.

To find solace as we are coping with the challenges of any serious illness, it is important to look at the metaphysical aspect of the situation as well as the physical. This is earthschool. We are spiritual being having a human experience. All of life’s difficulties are opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.

Looking inward will allow you to make sense of the deeper meaning behind the pain or illness. I recommend that during those moments of quiet, perhaps in the middle of the night, to take ten slow deep breaths, in and out with eyes closed (to achieve an alpha state of relaxation). You then ask yourself (actually it’s your Higher self, or soul), “What lessons am I supposed to be learning with this illness?” Asked silently or out loud, the answer will be an instant thought in your head.

Our lives have meaning — our soul’s growth. Our individual soul grows by grappling with life’s challenges – anger, pride, jealousy, fear, impatience, etc. Rather than feeling the negativity of “why me”, or “am I being punished,” releasing fear and dwelling more on the positive, facilitates our souls ascension to a higher place, climbing our individual spiral staircase closer to God.

Although fear can be prominent during times of pain and illness, we can use the power of our will to actively choose love over fear. Feel the love you have for those close to your heart. Love the life you’ve been given and all your many blessings. Experience gratitude.

Cancer provides the blessing of having time to appreciate all who we love, to make amends, forgive or ask for forgiveness, to say a proper good-bye.

Cancer forces us to deal with the issue of our own mortality. What happens when I die? Stories told by those who had near-death experiences report how wonderful and peaceful it is when we cross over to the next dimension. Don’t be afraid. Hopefully…eventually…we chose acceptance rather than suffering.

One Response for " Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional "

  1. Shelly Pierson Shelly Pierson January 20th, 2022 at 9:32 pm 1

    Hello Dr. Millman,
    I wrote you a letter a couple of years ago to thank you for your influence on my career change to become a past life regression therapist. I have written a beginner’s guide to past life regression and there is a piece in there about you that I would like your permission to use. If you approve, I would also like you review/modify this piece if anything is incorrect. Thank You! Shelly (775) 848-6955 (I am also a friend of Steve Jacobs)

    “Two months later I attended a talk by a local Physician, Dr. Jeffrey D. Millman, and he discussed his belief of reincarnation and his experiences with past life regressions, specifically how meditation and past life regressions helped him in his current life. Dr. Millman also mentioned several books that changed his life: Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss, Journey of Souls by Michael Newton, PhD, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead (various authors). I quickly bought and read those books and soon found my interest in past life regression growing as more books, speakers, and workshops continued to present themselves to me.

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