Nov 02, 2010
“You don’t have to get through until morning. You only have to get through the present moment.”
That thought transformed Vidyamala Burch’s relationship with her pain. A catastrophic car accident had left her with permanent damage and permanent pain – and that was on top of an incident during life-saving practice that had already damaged a vertebra.
Following one procedure she was required to sit upright for twenty four hours. During the ordeal she felt “impaled on the edge of madness.” It was as though she could hear two voices arguing inside her. “I can’t bear this. I’ll go mad. There’s no …
Jun 01, 2010
“Mindfulness for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Vidyamala, a long-term pain sufferer, rejoices in a new offering from Jon Kabat-Zinn, but experiences regret it wasn’t available years ago.
I was delighted to to be asked to review this new offering from the founder of mindfulness in healthcare: Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a two-CD audio book combining extensive background information with guided meditations.
Disc One (session one)
The first CD (or session as the CD is labeled) is entirely taken up with short lectures on various aspects of applying mindfulness to chronic pain of any sort. I listened avidly and welcomed everything he had to say and feel. Jon comes across with …
Dec 29, 2009
Marcus Aurelius: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself…”
We can’t choose what happens to us in life, but we can choose how to respond to it. This piece of practical wisdom is found in the Buddhist tradition, but was also a cornerstone of Stoic philosophy. Bodhipaksa explains how we can untangle ourselves from the stories we tell ourselves about our experience.
Marcus Aurelius is my favorite Stoic philosopher. The Stoics, if you’re not familiar with them, were a school of philosophy who started about 300 BCE and who continued teaching until 529 CE, when the Christian emperor Justinian I banned pagan philosophies.
Although we use the word “stoicism” to mean something like to “grin and bear it” or to “suck …
May 21, 2008
There are three main approaches that can help make meditation enjoyable and sustainable when meditating with pain.
1. Learning to deal with resistance
The first hurdle is actually getting down to meditation. Even after meditating for 20 years I almost always have to overcome resistance — and I’m not alone. This tendency is especially pronounced if you’re living with pain. When you meditate you turn towards your experience in an honest and open way, including your pain. That takes courage, but often I don’t feel so brave and when I contemplate meditating suddenly I find many other things that need doing instead. I’ll make that phone call, I’ll have another cup of tea, I’ll check my …
Mar 25, 2007
A student asks: Sometimes when scanning my body during mindfulness practice, I come across some pain or discomfort…
A student asks: Sometimes when scanning my body during mindfulness practice, I come across some pain or discomfort. Do I try to stay with it until it goes away? And if it doesn’t go away, do I move on?
Sunada replies: Well, first of all, if the pain seems to be an indication of something wrong – like an aggravated injury –- please do something to address it right away! You’ll have to be the judge of what’s really going on, of course.
But otherwise, mindfulness is about getting to know ourselves and our world better, not to escape into a feel-good state or to get rid of unpleasant/painful things. It’s a useful practice to …