This morning when I sat to meditate I started with a simple body scan. Starting from the very top of my head I scanned down through each part of my body checking how it was feeling and relaxing my body with each out breath. When I reached my toes I then held the whole of my cody in my attention.
As I sat with an awareness of my whole body my attention was drawn back to my head. I had a headache and somehow I hadn’t really noticed until I stopped. Often we can be so caught up in our experience that we don’t pay attention to the feelings in our body. When we slow down often things become more obvious and we can regain some balance.
I continued my meditation by seeking to focus on the direct experience and then my reaction to it. The direct experience was a dull ache at the back of my head. When I first noticed it my reaction was definitely resistance. Despite the body scan I was tense still in this area.
Noticing that I was resisting was enough to change my reaction. I was gentle with my self and bathed that area with my attention. This repeated itself a few times before it was relieved. This really restored some balance and as this area relaxed my headache went.
Mindfulness has been shown to be more effective than morphine for pain relief and from experience I certainly know it to be a great pain reliever.
Getting to grips with some simple techniques can really change your approach to dealing with aches and pains. It is such a lovely freeing ability to be able to sort your own body and mind out.
In many ways mindfulness is a life skill. The technique of noticing the direct experience and separating out your reaction works just as well in real life as it does in meditation.
At the same time as I was meditating, Noah, my 3 year old shouted me and was wanting his porridge. I noticed the experience. Then my reaction. Frustration was my reaction and once I noticed this it immediately took the tension out of the situation, it was was the perfect opportunity to be mindful and to be kind and patient. I sorted out his porridge and then returned to my meditation feeling pleased with the way I had dealt with it.
So try out this process. Notice the experience and then notice your reaction to it. You will be amazed at how much your reaction influences the experience. Once you have an awareness of your reaction the intensity of the experience will be reduced and you will cope with the situation so much better.
Come on a Revitalise Day to see how you can handle your life experiences, pain and distraction during meditation more effectively. The techniques are simple, the key is to practise often.