Pain is Only a Problem if it’s a Problem.
“Life is Pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling you something.” – Princess Bride
I am glad you brought this up because there is something that I have been wanting to ask you.
In the meditation course, from the first relaxation exercise on through the other exercises you direct us to focus our attention on the pain, wherever we find it.
I understand the principle. But for me I find that in my usual meditation routine I begin with a brief body relaxation/awareness and then go directly to the breath. As soon as my focus is on the breath all sensations of pain disappear. When I tried to do as the exercise suggested and focus on the pain itself, I found that the pain grew much bigger and lasted much longer before finally being absorbed by the meditation.
Because I do have a lot of chronic pain it is so much easier for me to just go to the breath and let go of the pain right away. Am I missing an important step in doing this?
You’re doing the right thing Leena. I think the reason I am frequently referring to pain in the exercises is because most people when they meditate, particularly in the first stages, experience a fair amount of pain either as anxiety of one kind or another, or body pain arising from the crosslegged posture in combination with no distractions. So at any one time they need to know what to do with it.
So my references to dealing with pain in the MP3’s refers to these things ONLY if they are distractions.
If they are NOT a distraction, then there is no need to apply any attention to them at all.
So, a general rule is, if you’re sitting calmly, and you’re wide awake and peacefully aware, then nothing is wrong – just keep going with that.
But if anything, be it pain, thinking or anxiety of any kind, is capturing your attention and creating agitation, discomfort and thinking, then obviously you’ve lost your way and that’s when you need to apply one or other of the methods you’re learning in the Audio Course.
In this, you’re a bit like a shepherd herding a flock of sheep – when the flock is headed in the right direction, no need to do anything except follow them. But when the flock strays off course, then you need to prod them back onto the path – and in meditation the methods are the prod you use.
So if the chronic pain you usually experience recedes when you meditate, then, no need to pay any attention to it at all. All is good. It’s only when and if the pain pokes into your concentration and begins creating reactions, that you need to deal with it.
So in your case, if stillness arises naturally from attention to the breath, then that’s what you do.
The meditation methods as they appear on the MP3’s are only to be applied if you’re having trouble.
‘BEING STILL – MEDITATION THAT MAKES SENSE’, Roger’s new book, is available now.
(The audiobook includes all the exercises, as well as ebooks of Being Still, to fit any device.)