Self-care for Sensitive Souls
Reconnect with your inner resources
When we’re in pain, we naturally try and do whatever we can to make it go away.
Sometimes that works and then great, we’re back to normal.
But stubborn pain that won't go away is another thing altogether.
It can make us feel burdened and frustrated with the way the pain is affecting our everyday life.
This calls us to a deeper level of self-care.
Fortunately we have just the thing: an innate source of relief for pain and distress.
It's profoundly soothing, freely available to us, and works better the more we use it.
There’s plenty of evidence that the simple practice of meditation can free us from the hold that pain has over us, and bring ease and comfort whenever we need it.
Here's how it works ...
The difference between pain and suffering
First we need to distinguish between two things that are going on when we’re in pain.
Pain is the unpleasant sensory experience that we’re all too familiar with - throbbing, aching, whatever the sensation du jour is like in your body.
Suffering, however, is something different. While pain is a physical phenomenon, suffering is emotional and mental. It comes from our mind, not our body. Suffering is the way we struggle against the pain. We feel fearful, anxious or irritable, and those feelings weave through the pain and seem inseparable from it.
Suffering is us thinking things like, Why is this happening to me? I’m no use to anybody in this state. I’m scared this is never going to stop.
With these thoughts and feelings, we create a web of suffering around the original pain. It’s a natural reaction, but it takes an emotional toll on us.
Often it’s so habitual, we don’t realise we’re doing it.
And if we’re not aware of it, it really only serves to make things worse.
Well, the good news is that since we created this web of suffering, we can uncreate it.
For that to happen, we don't need to give ourselves a talking-to, analyse the thoughts, or vow to think positive. All of that is fine when it helps. But if you're in pain, chances are you don't want to work that hard.
Instead of struggling against it and getting caught up even more, we can quietly let the web dissolve, so it loses its hold on us. So we suffer less.
And this is where meditation comes in.
How meditating softens the grip of pain
Meditation helps us to slow down, soothe our body and see things more clearly.
Here’s what happens:
Your mind grows quieter
Your breathing becomes slower and steadier, calming your nervous system and reducing the physical stress of being in pain
You ease gently out of freak-out mode, into a calmer, more detached perspective
You have a sense of well-being beyond your pain
Relief for life
None of this means that we drop the search for answers, treatment and support for our pain. Though it does make that search more measured and objective.
Meditation gives us a wider perspective. As we learn to relax our struggle against pain, we discover an open, compassionate space within ourselves that has room for everything that life throws at us.
The relief all round, not just from pain, is deep and transformative.
In the Healing from Pain course we look at how to start a meditating practice for relieving chronic pain, and in the process open up a way of being truly well and at ease in ourselves.