Comments on: Meditation and pain management https://www.wildmind.org Explore Meditation Online Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:10:08 +0000 hourly 1 By: Vidyamala https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-2#comment-774020 Fri, 15 May 2015 17:43:37 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-774020 Dear Jennie I am sorry for not replying before now to your post. It sounds like you have a very tough situation and I do feel for you. I was in a similar place many years ago and know how it can really eat away at one’s confidence and self-worth. I would recommend you try working your way through our 8 week programme ‘Mindfulness for Health’ which is a very systematic way of trying to find ways to cope with the mental, emotional and physical aspects of chronic pain. You can do it using my book which is available in the US as YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAIN https://us.macmillan.com/youarenotyourpain/vidyamalaburch and in the UK as MINDFULNESS FOR HEALTH https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/mindfulness-for-health-book
You can also join an online group with a forum which people find very supportive: https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/online-courses/group-online

I wish you all the very best

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By: jennie may https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-2#comment-773851 Tue, 05 May 2015 22:30:01 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-773851 Continued …
But I struggle to stay in the moment as anxiety and depression take hold. Some days are better off spent alone in bed as it hurts to much to walk or think and I get fed up of saying the same things over and over to my family and friends about the pain. When I can cope with the pain and get out I attend a mindfulness class but struggle to sit. The same goes for yoga. No matter how hard I try I will always ache/hurt to much to go back. Please help if you can. Jennie😊

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By: jennie may https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-773850 Tue, 05 May 2015 22:20:44 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-773850 Hello Vidyamala my name is Jennie and I have had chronic back pain for four years. I am now 31 and just about managing to keep my job. I am scared of my future as the thought of carrying a child on top of the back pain I experience is very daunting and yet I cannot see my life without children in it. I have not been diagnosed with an illness but I am taking nerve pain medication called Prrgabalin of which doesn’t seem to work. I have tried mindfulness and meditation and I am awaiting a course in cbt pain management. I find that mindfullness helps

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By: Karen Hall https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-770175 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:26:08 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-770175 Dear Kym, Vidyamala has a new book out – follow this link to read some reviews but more importantly, scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find some links a selection of short guided mindfulness practices you can use to help manage your pain. There are also links on where you can get the books in a variety of formats. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250052674 Once you have access to that, you’ll find lots of suggestions about how to practice even when living with chronic pain. If you would like to learn more try https://breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk./

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By: vidyamala https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-770173 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:38:02 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-770173 Hi Kym many thanks for your post. Sorry to hear about your pain. At risk of being self-promoting I think the best thing is for you to get a copy of my book YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAIN which has just been released in the USA. It is an 8 week programme and goes into lots of different ways to work with pain in meditation. It is available from Macmillan here: https://us.macmillan.com/youarenotyourpain/vidyamalaburch and of course amazon.com Good luck! best wishes Vidyamala

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By: kc https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-770012 Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:28:40 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-770012 well, I thought I had a lot of pain till I read some of these emails! I have a history with meditation but now I’m older and having arthritis and degeneration in my neck and upper back. Sitting on a zafu sometimes is ok and other times I have a lot of pain which makes it pretty unbearable. It sounds like you are suggesting a kind of mindfulness on the pain itself. If you could email me some useful advice I would be grateful. I really want to continue practicing but I’m really wondering if i’ll be able to do floor sitting. thanks, kym.

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By: kai https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-755704 Sun, 02 Nov 2014 02:03:35 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-755704 Hi Vidyamala,

Sorry as well for my own late reply. I’m sorry to hear about your friend passing.

“Zazen” literally means “sitting zen.” When I practiced with a group, we generally sat for 25 minute periods followed by 10 or so minutes of walking meditation. I think the format would look familiar to most western vipassana meditators. Zen meditation typically falls into two camps – koan study, and shikantaza, or “just sitting.” I’ve heard various descriptions of what “just sitting” means, exactly, but my current practice is effectively breath awareness, or “becoming the breath”, and watching thoughts and experiences come and go. It’s another form of mindfulness meditation. I’ve also seen metta meditation and chanting worked into the practice before.

The emphasis on sitting, per se, is somewhat problematic. I think that over the last month I’ve arrived at a better physical configuration for meditation, which is to be reclined on an oversized cushion, head supported by a pillow, at about a 30-45 degree angle from vertical. This does afford a certain opportunity for increased relaxation, as you noted, which it seems can facilitate both a deep meditative state and a fast track to falling asleep, if not careful. At any rate, it’s what I have to work with, and I’m thankful that I had several years’ practice sitting upright to have a baseline for comparison. I think the ‘crash landing back in the body’ is a great description, and I am inclined to agree that I should avoid going to extremes at this point if possible. Thanks for the feedback, and gassho!

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By: Vidyamala https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-750052 Sat, 11 Oct 2014 12:31:40 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-750052 Hi Kai I am v sorry for not replying sooner. I have been away and then a dear friend died suddenly. I am interested in your post. When you say sitting zazen does this mean you have been following zen approach? I haven’t followed zen myself but get the impression that sitting still for long periods is recommended? If this is the case, then I feel you could follow your new approach of relaxing the body as much as possible during meditation to see what effect that has. You could even focus on body scans for a while which have very little ‘effort’ involved. I would also recommend that you allow yourself to move during meditation if you feel pain building. One can get good at sitting through pain in meditation, as you say, but then the tension that has built in the body will spill over into daily life – sometimes I refer to this as ‘crash landing back in the body’ and it can be counter productive. So i would follow the meditative relaxation approach and see how it goes. I’d be interested to hear!

Thanks again for writing

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By: Kai https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-747603 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:43:46 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-747603 First off, thank you Vidyamala for your years’ worth of replies on this page. I’ve been very touched reading through them.

I did sitting zazen for a number of years before my neck and back pain progressed from a periodic nag to a full-time ordeal. Unfortunately any of the various unsupported sitting postures that I’ve tried lead to quite a bit of extra pain, which can persist for anywhere from several hours to several days after a sitting period, despite medication, stretching, exercise, massage, injections, acupuncture, etc., etc. This led me to stop meditating for a number of years, but I’m at a point in my life where I’m very interested in taking it up again.

There is another excellent page on this site about lying postures for meditation, and I’ve played around with various configurations and been quite successful with them at times. I’ve found that even meditating for half an hour with my body *actually relaxed* can result in a meditative state that I would previously only achieve after many long hours of sitting upright, which is an interesting observation itself. Nonetheless, there are periods of time where no matter what I do, being still for any length of time, either with or without my neck supported, causes a considerable amount of pain that I would not have otherwise experienced. When one of these periods starts, I am constantly debating whether it is worth it to sit through the pain, and worry of this sort is a huge obstacle to meditation and can be very hard to dispel when the act itself is the cause of worry. I can actually sit with extreme pain quite peacefully, the problem is dealing with it off the mat. With work and family, pain creates a distraction from trying to be mindful and compassionate, and tying the proximate cause to meditation is problematic.

I feel like I am performing a complex and laborious balancing act between peace of mind and exacerbated pain. Just curious if you have any more light to shed on the matter from your personal experience.

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By: Vidyamala https://www.wildmind.org/applied/pain/comment-page-1#comment-570320 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:06:14 +0000 https://test.wildmind.org/meditation-and-pain-management/#comment-570320 Dear Kerry
I can understand your concerns and your questions. I would like to reassure you that Breathworks is a Community Interest Company (CIC) registered in the UK which means it is not-for-profit company. This type of organisation is also known as a ‘social enterprise’ which means it is part of the voluntary and non-profit sector. We also have bursary funds available to people who are experiencing hardship as part our sister charity ‘The Breathworks Foundation’. Like you, I believe wholeheartedly in Buddhist values such as generosity and non-attachment and have tried to live by these in my own life and in the establishment of Breathworks. I hope this clarifies things for you. Thanks for raising your questions.

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