Guest Author - Tracy Hamilton
The mind feels pain and reacts to discomfort in the body. It seems that we are all reacting to transient things and causing ourselves a lot of emotional pain.
When you really look at the nature of life, it is apparent that it is impermanent, with everything always changing. Through my meditation practice I have learned to detach from the pain and observe it instead.
How often have you sat in discomfort and reacted to it? Even if it is just having pins and needles and moving your leg to stop the sensations. When we are in pain we tend to resist it and tense ourselves against it.
When you are resisting and in tension you make the symptoms worse. Everything intensifies and starts to feel unbearable. You can feel anxiety build in your body, you can feel the strength of the reaction that is in you and a sense of being out of control can overwhelm you. On the other hand if you relax into it, and allow your breathing to become longer and deeper, the pain can dissipate quicker.
Let me give you an example. If you are exercising and the instructor asks you to hold a position, the longer you hold it the harder it becomes. The breathing becomes laboured, or worse still, you hold your breath. You tense your body and resist relaxing into the position, and therefore increase the pain you are experiencing. Can you relate to that?
This also happens when we resist our thoughts. The body goes into tension and we can feel stress build up within us. It is really interesting to watch the pattern that we create depending on how open we are to the experience we are having.
On the other hand, when you breathe into the experience and allow it to happen, you are more relaxed and able to move further into it. Whether that be pain physically or emotionally. The ability to relax creates a space within you that allows the process to unfold.
Next time you feel yourself resisting something that is happening to you try breathing into it and observing it instead of being caught up in it, identifying with it, and tensing yourself against it.
You may be amazed at how different it feels. I learned this through sitting in pain and silence for 10 days from 4am til 9pm every day. The training is to realise that everything will eventually change, and to remain equanimous throughout the process and not react to it. When you can sit in pain and not react it is possible to become more resilient, more able to cope with what comes and more able to flow with what life brings you.