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Mindfulness Meditation Exercise: Pain

Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is out of balance.  It is the body’s way of signaling to us that we need to take care of it.  The body acts as a wise guide and reminds us to inhabit the body not just the mind.  Your body will inform you of what it needs.  More sleep, more rest, more movement. if you pay attention to it.

Some pain is temporary and some life long.  There may be different stages of intensity of pain…acute, mild, strong, intermittent.  We treat it all the same in our meditation…as pain.  Not identifying with it as “me or mine.”

In this practice, you will experiment with exploring your experience to pain.  Using the acronym PAIN as a guide for this meditation, you will follow 4 steps to sitting with PAIN.  First, Practice observing pain in the body…picturing it, Second: Accept it; Third; Invite it in…not resisting it, and Fourth: Nuturing it.

Let’s begin by finding a comfortable seat or posture either sitting in a chair, on the floor, or lying down.

  • Gently begin to close your eyes, or if you prefer, have your eyes open with your gaze downward and soft.
  • Begin to establish a sense of presence within your body.  Feeling the weight of your body sitting her.  Allowing your eyes to soften, your jaw to release.  Inviting your arms and legs to become heavy at peace.
  • Beginning to feel the natural rhythm of your breath moving in and out.
  • Not altering your breath in any way.  Simply feeling it moving in and moving out.  Notice where you feel the breath most easily in your body and reside here.
  • Continue breathing this way for a moment and notice how you feel.
  • Taking a moment to enter your body.   Gently scanning it from head to toe, taking up residence in your body.
  • Now begin to picture where Pain is located in your body.   Observe what Pain feels like in your body.  Going down into the pain and gently spreading out.  Notice it’s shape, its volume, it’s texture?  Does it feel electrical, sharp, dull or throbbing (solid).  Does it move around or is it static?
  • Maybe the pain intermittent or constant.
  • Begin relaxing around it
  • Soften the edges of the pain
  • Treat the mind kindly with a gentle attitude if you notice thoughts of aversions, judgment or blame arising.  Coming back to the breath.

Now moving into Acceptance.  Accepting the pain.  Allowing it to be there just as it is.

  • Noting – this is just a feeling.  It’s not who you are.
  • Not fighting the pain or struggling against it.
  • Loosen your hold on the pain or whatever the mind has latched on to around it.
  • Accepting and coming back to the breath.  Allowing your body to soften.

And then gently begin to invite in the pain as you breath in and out.

  • As you are inviting the pain in you are no longing fighting it, you are allowing it to teach you what’s its life is like inside of you.
  • You are inside being the sensation.
  • You are not trying to figure things out logically…you are simply observing the pain.
  • Breathing in…inviting it in  – breathing out letting go of resistance. When you let go of resistance to pain it diminishes.

Now moving into Nurturing.  Nurturing the pain with breath…cultivating tenderness toward the pain.

  • As you feel pain let your attention flow there and abide there.
  • Breathing in…filling the sensation with breath and as you breath out….allow it to soften.
  • Breathing in…filling the sensation with breath and as you breath out….allow it to soften.
  • Notice if the level of pain changes when you do this.
  • Continually allowing your breath to move into the pain, nurturing it.
  • Releasing any aversion to the pain.
  • Now notice parts of the body that are not in pain.  Where are the parts of the body that feel comfortable?
  • Widen your attention to include those areas and appreciate them.
  • Spend a few moments here…feeling pleasant sensations in other parts of your body.
  • Widen your attention further to include others that may be in pain, known or unknown to you, may they too cultivate tenderness toward pain in a non harming, gently way.
  • Inhaling deeply and as you exhale, widening your attention to include the sound of the bells.  Gentle tracking the sound of the bells all the way to the end and when you are ready begin to softly open your eyes, having your gaze downward and soft, letting light in.

As you complete this meditation, you may still notice sensations of discomfort but maybe the sensations are no longer a problem to be solved.   As you accept and invite in pain you may notice sensations begin to soften and fade.

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