A friend of a friend has chronic pain and asked for a group healing session this weekend, and I was invited to join. It felt very good to share the intention for healing, and for it to happen in whatever way may be most helpful (shift in health, shift in how he relates to the pain etc.)
It also reminded me of some resources I find helpful and interesting:
Shinzen Young‘s guided meditation to invite a shift in how we relate to and experience pain:
Break Through Pain – a book
A guided meditation on YouTube – part one.
The Work – taking stressful thoughts on pain and health to inquiry.
Body in ruins – a dialog with Byron Katie.
A list of certified facilitators in The Work.
Tension/Trauma Release Exercises. Neurogenic tremors (shaking) helps release tension which may shift our relationship to and experience of pain.
A testimonial on Vimeo on TRE reducing pain associated with fibromyalgia
The main TRE website.
Meditation and pain. And finally a study on meditation and pain.
Own experience. Basic physical experiences such as hunger, tiredness and pain are very interesting to explore in this way, and I notice I prefer to do it while the sensations are quite subtle and then move on to the stronger ones if or when they visit.
With hunger and tiredness, I find that certain beliefs tends to trigger and/or fuel the experience of hunger or tiredness. For instance, the thought that I’ll have food soon tends to trigger hunger. And thoughts such as I need to be rested, I won’t get enough rest tends to trigger an experience of tiredness.
Not surprisingly, resistant thoughts to the hunger, tiredness or pain tends to make the experience unpleasant. These may include I need food, I can’t function without food, I need sleep, I won’t function without more rest, I need to be rested, and pain is terrible, I can’t function with this pain, this pain is all-encompassing, pain means something is wrong, pain means something terrible will happen.
Labeling the sensations, and taking these thoughts as true, also has a role. Believing labels – even simple ones such as hunger, tiredness and pain – does a couple of things. It solidifies the experience of hunger, tiredness or pain, making it seem more real and substantial, more like a thing. And it triggers additional thoughts and stories about what it means.
So it can be quite interesting and helpful to investigate each of these types of beliefs. They each help to find what’s really there, in immediate experience, and not just what appears to be there when I believe certain thoughts about it.