A Meditation for pain

A meditation for dealing with and managing pain. By Jill Lawson

Pain is a fact of life, especially as we age. If it isn’t our cranky knees, hips, or lower backs, it might be an abscessed tooth, a kidney stone, or arthritis that steals our joy. Painkillers, pain reducers, and pain avoiders are what we want when confronted by pain. While pain is not to be ignored, the adage ‘no pain, no gain’ doesn’t sound great when agony has the best of us.
Luckily, we have options to manage our pain, but sometimes choices such as taking pills or spending an exorbitant amount of money on alternative treatment such as massage therapy or acupuncture isn’t for us. Studies show mindfulness meditation can help alleviate our suffering when it comes to the discomfort we all experience.
If you are in pain, it is important you visit your doctor.  However, if you have already tried pills, natural remedies and
treatments to no avail, the following meditation is for you.

Do it now

Try to get as comfortable as you can considering the state of discomfort you may be in. Adjust the position of your body as often as needed throughout this meditation. Don’t feel like you need to sit in lotus whilst meditating, especially if your knees won’t have it. Use your breath to release anxiety about your pain. Understand your pain is a real, yet temporary part of your life.
To begin, bring your attention to the place or places in your body that hurt. In your mind’s eye, imagine the source of your pain tracking through nerve fibres, to the spinal cord and then to the brain where the pain is processed into sensations, thoughts, and emotions. While you may feel pain in your big toe, you are actually receiving the sensory input in your brain. I am not saying your pain is all in your head, I am simply stating the body’s method of perceiving pain. Knowing this is helpful in making friends, rather than enemies, with your pain. Once you realise the sensation of pain is processed in your brain, it makes it easier to manage.
Now, get to know your pain a little better. What is it teaching you? Understanding your pain allows it to soften. Let it be. Give it space and time. As you adjust to your new relationship with pain, may you soon return to a joyful existence, even alongside life’s unavoidable discomforts

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher enjoying life on the island of Maui in Hawaii (jilllawson.net)

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