Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

My Week of Meditation: Day 5

Hello.  I am once again sharing one of my morning meditation practices -Day 5. 

The process has been to do my practice with the intention to sit for a little longer after my meditation to reflect 'gently' on the tone or theme or insight that might be useful to share.  

I am not dissecting or analysing my experience .. just reflecting on what may be of use.  I have noted (through the power of analytics) that these posts have proved popular .. and at the very least, I hope to share that each and every time we meditate our experience is unique and insightful. 

My practice this morning .. was one of insistent, whingeing and irrepressible pain  

Not BIG pain just a demanding and consistent distraction.  My body felt out of balance. When I woke up I had no idea .. but once I got still, really still in body and then quiet in mind, my body started to talk loudly to me.

Did I realise I had a growling tummy (no) or that the back of my neck was growing tighter and sorer by the minute (no) or that suddenly I had this insatiable need to itch my leg (no).

I woke blissfully unaware of my body .. however in the quiet still vacuum of my meditation, the awareness of my body became louder and louder.

Now this is where beginners often get to a cross-road.  Do you stop and scratch, shift, move or jump up and run? 

The general answer is JUST SIT

Pain is often hidden within us, balanced out by the cocktail of stress hormones that we live on each day.  When we get still and quiet, when the stress decreases and we start to truly relax, those aches and pains suddenly announce themselves. But they have been there all along.  Somewhat like a child that has been ignored for long enough.. they toss a little tantrum!

Now, if pain is sudden, loud or high on the 1-10 scale, I would suggest that you consciously acknowledge that you are going to finish your meditation practice, and then take the action you need to assess and manage the pain.  

There are no medals for pushing through

When there is loud pain - finish.  You can come back and meditate another time when you are feeling better.  Be gentle with yourself (this is a lesson in itself).  

However if you are noticing just little niggles of pain.  Sit.  The mind/ego can have a wonderful time playing with our focus and commitment to meditate, throwing all sorts of fascinating, crazy thoughts and ideas into our head, or letting us know the body needs attention .. but in general a little itch or discomfort will sort itself out if we just bring our focus back to our meditation and relax.

This is part of why we meditate 

To become more aware and awake to our immediate experience - whatever this present moment holds.  We are cultivating our ability to be attentive and open and accepting of all that is, in this moment.

I consider these little annoying aches and pains ~ like little tests.  The Buddhist school I attended used the term 'chaff for the mill' .. opportunities to refine our focus, notice distractions and be true to our commitment to return to our practice/breath/mantra.

If we really observe our immediate experience, we can sit with the itch and find fascination in the ebb and flow of its intensity, the fact that it moves and almost has its own personality.  Sometimes hot and then cold, disappearing and returning, moving, vibrating, tickling etc etc

The itch has provided us with a moment of true awareness of our present moment.

And if we accept that the itch 'just is' and then return our attention to our meditation (for me, the breath) then the itch tends to lose its power over us. By not feeding the itch (the thought, sensation, emotion) we lessen its impact.

Most pain is momentary .. there is very little pain that is constantly 'on', there are in fact gradients and constant shifting occurring.  I have read that 1/3 of our pain is our reaction to pain.  "I don't want it" or "Why me" or "This is so unfair".  So once we let that part go, we are certain to feel at least a little better.

Pain in meditation is actually a really useful lesson because it teaches us about adapting and sitting with CHANGE.  We learn to sit with slight discomforts and over time this strengthens our ability to sit with some of the other curve-balls that life can throw us.

If I can sit with my itch, let it be and let it pass .. I am stronger for the experience.

How are you going with your meditation?

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