11.2 – Guided Meditation – Meditating With Pain
Lesson 23 Chapter 11
So, go ahead and find a comfortable place to sit. You don't have to sit in any special way for this meditation, just sitting normally.
And then allowing your eyes to close. Taking a few moments to settle the body. Just allow yourself to be here. We can take a couple deep breaths together. So, breathing in deeply, and breathing out slowly.
Breathing in deeply, and breathing out slowly. And then, allowing your breath to return to its natural rhythm.
Just allowing the body to breathe itself.
There's no need to control the breath in any way.
Today, we'll be working with pain and discomfort in the body.
Just Learning how to bring our attention to the pain and discomfort, and how to be there with gentleness, and kindness, and compassion, and how to pull our attention back from it, if it's overwhelming.
But first, just connecting with the breath, connecting with the present moment.
Feeling the in and out. Feeling the rising and falling.
Just tapping into the raw texture of the breath.
Whenever you notice that your mind has gotten lost in thought, just acknowledging the thinking mind, and then patiently bring your attention back to the breath or back to sounds.
And then bringing your attention to any spots of pain or tightness in the body, or any physical discomfort at all, even if it's a minor discomfort.
Just bring your attention there and see if you can tap into the physical sensations that you notice.
Letting go of the concept of pain, but tapping into, “What am I actually feeling?”
“Is it hot or cold?”
“Is there a vibration, or stretching?”
Really being curious, “What does this pain feel like?”
Bringing your awareness there.
Seeing if you can be with the pain, or be with the discomfort patiently, just observing with equanimity.
“Ah, right now it feels like this.”
Keep bringing your attention there as long as it is calling your attention.
If it no longer calls your attention, or if the pain goes away, you can just bring your attention back to the breath, or back to sounds.
Wherever you are just connecting with what you are experiencing in the present moment.
Without judging anything as good or bad. Just noticing, observing.
If you have a very strong or intense pain in the body, you can invite your attention to go there and just see if you can be with it patiently.
See if your mindfulness and equanimity are strong enough to be there without cultivating aversion. See if you can just notice the physical sensations.
But, if the sensation is too strong, if the pain is too overwhelming, it's totally fine to just bring your attention back to the breath, feeling the rising and falling.
And of course, the pain will call your attention again, and you can see if you're able to go there.
But again, if it's too strong, just keep your attention with the breath.
Keep routing your attention down.
If the breath isn't strong enough to keep your attention away, you can also connect with the soles of your feet.
Just bringing your awareness down into your feet and feeling that connection with the floor beneath you. And then, finally, if the pain is just excruciating, if it's too overwhelming, it's OK to change your posture or to stand up.
It's even OK to stop meditating.
So, we just want to see if we can be with pain, but when it becomes overwhelming, when we're just cultivating more aversion, then it's fine to take a break.
So, do what you need to do to take care of yourself, to be compassionate, practicing self-care.
Bringing your attention to pain in the body when you're able to, and when it's too strong, connecting with the breath or with the soles of your feet.
And if even that is too much, then just taking a break and coming back to meditation later on.
And to end this meditation, we can take a deep breath together. Breathing in deeply, and breathing out slowly. And in your own time, gently allow your eyes to open.
Bringing your awareness back into the room, back into your body. And congratulating yourself for doing this difficult practice of being with pain in the body.
Tomorrow, we'll be working with the obstacle of doubt and self.
So I’ll see you back here, tomorrow.