Written by:

Updated on:

August 24, 2016

Tara Brach holds a Q&A session about Pain and Recurring Thoughts during meditation. There are times when pain is manifested due to bringing awareness and mindfulness into those particular thoughts.

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Physical Discomfort in Meditation

“Whatever we don’t include in mindfulness actually grabs our identity.” Brach explains how when it comes to pain, what usually causes the associated tension are the thoughts and ideas we attach to the experience of whatever nerves may be firing. If we experience pain and wish it weren’t happening, we need to include this thought, or this wish, in our mindful awareness. By adding an element of loving kindness to this witnessing, we soften the sensation that is present.

Recurring Thoughts as Visitors

When recurring thoughts continually crop up for us, Brach explains that we can continue to notice what is rising by naming or labelling the nature of the thought. This labeling helps us to clarify for ourselves that what is arising is simply a thought. After naming the thought, we can refocus our attention on our direct experience. If there is an emotion attached to the recurring thought, we can dive more deeply into the heart – into what is calling for our loving attention. In the same way that we harness loving kindness during experiences of physical pain, we can offer compassion to any emotionally charged thoughts we may be experiencing.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]