Author Topic: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)  (Read 745 times)

Offline librarian11111

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Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« on: January 04, 2018, 12:24:46 pm »
To all:
I am interested in learning ways of dealing with occasional physical pain in a better way. Is daily meditation/mindfulness the way to do this?
I get occasional tension headaches. But I also have older relatives who have daily physical pain and sleep all day. I want to be able to cope with any future pain issues in a more effective way.
I took a Buddhist meditation class about a week ago.
Thanks in advance for all your suggestions!

--librarian11111

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 10:21:09 pm »
I would like to welcome you! Meditation is a good way to help relieve tension, mindfulness is a good start!

How familiar are you with Buddhism in general? There are a lot of teachings and I don't want to waste your time.

 I  heard a quote once that reminds me of the solution that comes to mind for tension headaches:

"It's better to not have the itch than the pleasure of scratching it"

I wish I could recall the source of that, if anyone else remembers who said it, I would love to know.

Buddhism has a way of changing circumstances for the better. I hope you can find and  apply an understanding that brings your tension level at least to a point where it stops causing you pain. I would like to help in this regard but need to ask questions so I understand. I am not very wise, but others will read this too, and may have much to offer!

I am sorry to hear that your older relatives are in daily pain.  With love and kindness I hope they find as much comfort as possible. On a personal note of experience, spend time helping them find comfort, and enjoy that time. As all things do, the opportunity will pass,  when it does,  the memories and the satisfaction that you have done what was right will be what you are left with.
 
That you noticed it might be best to address aging and suffering related to having a body is a good thing. What made it come to mind?

What gives you tension headaches?
Sorry to be nosey but if you look at my posts I am pretty open... and really wordy...I would like to save you some time :) and if it's worth asking, I hope you don't mind elaborating a little bit more.



Offline lisehull

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 10:42:26 am »
That's a Pema Chodron comment about itching!

Offline librarian11111

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 01:13:45 pm »
Thank you Anemephistus and Lisehull for responding!
Here are my replies to your replies:

ANEMEPHISTUS: How familiar are you with Buddhism in general? There are a lot of teachings and I don't want to waste your time.
LIBRARIAN11111: Not very familiar with Buddhism. I studied with a Native American Shaman practitioner for 5 years. I came to  believe Creator/God wants us to reincarnate again-and-again until becoming enlightened. I have Buddhist books by Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh. But I welcome all suggestions. I want  to reduce my suffering in this lifetime and in  the next!
ANEMEPHISTUS: That you noticed it might be best to address aging and suffering related to having a body is a good thing. What made it come to mind?
LIBRARIAN11111: For 9 years, I endured daily painful headaches as a result of 2 things: untreated sinus problems (had 2 sinus surgeries to fix that); and chronic mild-dehydration. My Shaman mentor helped me figure out that these were the untreated causes of my pain.
ANEMPHISTIS: What gives you tension headaches?
LIBRARIAN11111: I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder as a teen (I'm about to turn 50 later this month. Yikes!)
I've done the therapy thing. But now I'm trying to attain balance in other ways.
ANEMEPHISTUS:Sorry to be nosey but if you look at my posts I am pretty open... and really wordy...I would like to save you some time :) and if it's worth asking, I hope you don't mind elaborating a little bit more.
LIBRARIAN11111: No need  to apologize for being "nosey." I'm here to learn how to better myself. BTW, I don't mean to offend anyone with my reference  to Creator God and Shamanism. But I do believe in Karma and I do believe in reincarnation. I just  don't know how to live a more balanced  life (I don't drink; smoke; or do drugs. But life is still a balancing act for me.)
LISEHULL: That's a Pema Chodron comment about itching!
LIBRARIAN11111: At the meditation center I went to last week, they said to ignore itches when one is meditating. Not sure why. But I'm practicing nonetheless.
Hope to hear your responses to my responses soon. And thank you both!
--Librarian11111

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 09:29:22 pm »
I am not a guru, a sage, a wise person or a layperson, please keep this in mind as my experience and understanding is limited. I don't want to over represent myself but I sometimes write in a way that conveys confidence which I try to limit but I forget sometimes to watch myself.

Quote
Not very familiar with Buddhism. I studied with a Native American Shaman practitioner for 5 years. I came to  believe Creator/God wants us to reincarnate again-and-again until becoming enlightened. I have Buddhist books by Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh. But I welcome all suggestions. I want  to reduce my suffering in this lifetime and in  the next!


I am a very thankful person for the effort Master Thich Nhat Hanh put into his transmissions and books. He has had a powerful influence in in my life and I love him with gratitude and kind thoughts. I therefore feel the same towards the Buddha.  I apparently I have at least a quote from Pema Chadron in my head (thank you Lisehull! I incorrectly thought it was an old zen quote) but I know little more than what a cursory Google search has provided about her. If you read books for understanding, in the beginning, I learned the most from "The heart of the Buddha's teaching" by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Quote
I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder as a teen (I'm about to turn 50 later this month. Yikes!)
I've done the therapy thing. But now I'm trying to attain balance in other ways.


I have a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder which manifests as anxiety/panic  in the fall and spring. I have migraines and I work in a maximum security prison as a fairly  high level security supervisor over officers and inmates. I have some experience with answers for myself on this front and would be happy to  try and convey them. I am not always good at applying them... Which may mean that they are not all very good :) but I can relay where I started that helped.

No apology is necessary for having the belief of a deity, I in principle disagree that a creator being exists but this does not prevent us from looking for answers together and with everyone else on the board! I was not in a form I recall at the beginning of the universe so I can't say for sure  unless I take my faith into account,  which is silly since you have faith too! With love and the intent of humor: We could argue forever!

Meditation is a good practice, mindfulness is a requisite state for other forms of meditation. High levels of meditative absorption can remove body sensations, I can barely get to a state in which this is possible and then only after great effort. Funny perhaps but it is actually easier when I am in a moderate amount of pain. I think it is because my efforts are more focused then.  since you have said that you are not very familiar I would like to suggest a few topics in addition to the above mentioned book.

The four noble truths
The eight fold path
The monkey mind (I wish I had used this understanding earlier in my path)
The fundamental types of meditation

https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/four-noble-truths

https://tricycle.org/magazine/noble-eightfold-path/

https://tricycle.org/magazine/vipassana-meditation/

www.pocketmindfulness.com/understanding-monkey-mind-live-harmony-mental-companion/

Other members will certainly have more thoughts on these topics! I hope they add more to the conversation! Some of them have very good insight and knowledge of the sutras, mine is only so so as I tend to rely on experience about applying what I learned but am poor at recalling the words used to convey my understanding.





Offline librarian11111

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 08:53:39 pm »
Anemephistus,
Thank you for your recent reply. I was in need of more resources for meditation/mindfulness--and I appreciate your posts.
I might not be posting for a few weeks as I have some homework now! But I probably will return in time with more questions.

Thanks,

Librarian11111

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 01:28:42 pm »
I wish you the very best and hope to hear about your thoughts when you are ready to share them!

Offline Rahul

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 09:09:30 pm »
Be aware of the pain, and how you react to the pain, what thoughts/emotions arise in your mind because of the pain. Watch the pain and the mental games surround the pain as they play out. This will help us understand that the pain actually arises twice: first in the form of the physical painful sensation, and then as our response (grieving, anger, anxiety, thoughts like 'i'm in pain', 'this is unbearable', etc.). You would realize that nearly half of the pain is how we interpret the pain and how we mentally act out towards the pain.

Mindfulness exposes a lot more. Be mindful. As much as you can!

Offline librarian11111

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 03:50:29 pm »
Rahul,
Thank you for your reply to my post.
I will start recording my thoughts/emotions that arise in my mind when I have pain (usually grieving and anger at myself for letting myself have a stress induced headache when many others wouldn't.)
To be continued...and thanks again.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 09:50:57 pm »
It is true that mental state can prevail over physical state. While you are not in pain, you could practice building an equanimous mental state that pain can't affect or touch. While meditating, visualize yourself as an indestructible impertubable superior being that is beyond the reach of the pain. Visualize yourself as being as a soul or light above and beyond your mortal body. Stop identifying yourself with your body, the body is merely a temporary abode, not your self. Breathe deep yet comfortably and visualize yourself as a fire or light in your chest: glowing, glorious, indestructible, unaffected by the blood and bile and nerves and flesh and bones and anything that happens within the boundaries of the body. Feel the profound peace, freedom and stability of your true self that is not bound by the body.

With each breath in, visualize the light, hold it for a second or two, and then release the breath. With releasing the breath, you will feel very peaceful. Continue this for 5 minutes and you may feel immensely peaceful, don't mind if you start feeling drowsy because the relaxation it brings may make you fall asleep. If you feel drowsy, just let yourself lie down and take a nap without any resistance or efforts to stay awake. Rather enjoy the peaceful nap, it will bring great benefits to the body and the mind.

Practice and develop this mental state. It will free you from the effects of the pain, tiredness, lethargy, etc. The degree of freedom depends on the strength of the mental state you developed. Be punctual, even if you do it for 5 minutes a day, do it regularly to see the effects. Of course, the rigorous you work, the better the results.

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 10:57:54 am »
 I don't think I have heard of this type of visualization before for this purpose. I am not very well versed in these things so I am curious, where does that image come from Rahul? To be clear, I am being genuine, it seems strange to me but so did everything at one point or another so I am curious.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 08:19:44 pm »
The idea of indestructible soul comes from Vedic philosophy. In several scriptures Vedic sages advocate being aware of our true nature: the soul, that "the weapons can't hurt, the fire can't burn, the water can't wet, the wind can't dry". The soul is beyond and above all the elements and forces that we experience. They compared the body to clothes: just like one throws away old worn clothes to put on new ones, the soul discards the body when it's old, in order to get a new one. If one meditate, contemplate on this, one will stop identifying himself with body, which relieves of a lot of hurt that arises due to attachment with the body. Meditating on the indestructible nature of ourselves will give immense strength and equanimity that helps overcome any adversity and stay calm... The breathing technique I mentioned is one type of 'pranayama' technique. Controlling breathing requires some efforts, and this effort helps keep the mind focused and away from random thoughts. The pranayam exercises bring great relaxation. I have practiced and I can tell you it give immense peace and relaxation, that can overcome any anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness, etc. Personally, I have experienced that in such controlled breathing, while breathing out, it brings a sweeping relaxing feeling. It bring instant relief to even the beginners: for example, a friend of mine was about to appear for a job interview and he was really nervous, feeling heavy to breathe, etc. I suggested him to just sit down in a cafe, have some tea, and practice controlled breathing for a few minutes. Later he told me that it worked like miracle.

To sum up, I suggested this from my personal experience and some knowledge of Vedic scriptures and yoga techniques.

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 09:51:14 pm »
Controlled breathing is certainly a good technique! The visualization you describe seems like it has an image of a ultimate "self".

I mean no disrespect but I am not certain that it fits the understanding that I have seen and heard insight on of that perticular subject. However I do not want to hijack the new person's thread for the full discussion so I thank you for the detailed  explanation!  We should probably  move the subject if we wish to expand further since self/no self is a big topic.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 03:41:41 am »
Controlled breathing is certainly a good technique! The visualization you describe seems like it has an image of a ultimate "self".

I mean no disrespect but I am not certain that it fits the understanding that I have seen and heard insight on of that perticular subject. However I do not want to hijack the new person's thread for the full discussion so I thank you for the detailed  explanation!  We should probably  move the subject if we wish to expand further since self/no self is a big topic.

Self no-self is a confusing topic. I haven't heard any consistent explanation. Suppose if it means there is no self. However, there was something that is born again and again in this cycle of samsara. Buddha recalled several past lives, in fact so many that he couldn't see any end. So Buddha was born again and again, and so at least 'something' continued to exist and wasn't dead because of the death. This something is what vedic tradition calls the soul.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Pain and coping skills (meditation? Mindfulness?)
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 04:11:02 am »
Self no-self is a confusing topic.

Yes it is, at least in the begining.

It can be especially confusing when an explanation is asked of a furum like this, because if there are 12 people on the board, then you will most likely get 12 different explanations and that can be very confusing.  The confusion can be increase with the possibility that there may not be a correct explanation in the bunch.  And even if there is one, how do you know which explanation is correct?

Thankfully, I have a pretty good handle on the topic so there's no confusion.   It's not a question I have to ask of this group.

I've found one thing is salient.  Most people get into the subject of self way before they should.





 


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