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Tormented x 2

Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
edited June 2015 in Meditation

I would like to share an article I wrote before joining this community. It is a bit long winded as is all of my articles. Hopefully your time will not be wasted here. I hope that some part of it may be useful for you All.

Thank you for your time.

Tormented x 2

Is it possible that meditation can help us with pain management?

How is this possible?

And what exactly is meditation?

Meditation is our natural state. It's a state of being. Not being this or that. Just simply existing and flowing with life however it flows.

As a byproduct of our worldly life we have attached so many ideas and beliefs to the world in which we live; the objects which occupy it; along with our experiences of It. We label, define, describe, judge and have desire, aversion or indifference towards every object that appears to our senses.

We must realize that those characteristics; the way we define objects is of human creation. All things visible, invisible, known or unknown have had labels attached to them. Even when something is completely unknown to us. We call it unknown. Unknown is also a label. Even referring to it as an object is also labeling. Anything said is mind created. It does not exist outside of this little mind.

All things naturally exist without name, definition or description. We attach names, definitions and descriptions to them. We, because of a need to communicate about our world have defined all which appears in it.

Why is this important to know? Because our suffering is mental. There may be physical pain in the body But the real suffering is from the minds incessant judgment and commentary about the pain and sickness.  So when we are in physical pain there is great discomfort. And that discomfort is increased many times by minds commentary and storytelling about pain or illness.

For example. Why me? I've always been a good person. I always try to help people. Why Is God punishing me? I'm spending too much time hospitalized. It's causing my family to suffer. It's causing financial problems. All income is dependent upon my husband or wife because my chronic pain doesn't allow me to function in a normal job. My kids cry because they see me sick all the time.

Because of how mind thinks one is always worried, stressed, maybe there is even fear of death. So why is this? Mind's perception of the situation is the issue. There may be overwhelming physical pain in the body, but the mental anguish created in the mind due to this pain increases our suffering. So we are tormented times two. In the body and in the mind. But it is only perceived as torment by mind. Not by the body. The tormented attitude is all mind.

How we think or what we believe about our pain and sickness is what causes the mental anguish. If the pain was just in the body It would be more tolerable. When we are in pain there is discomfort. Then when the pain is gone there is no more discomfort. But when we weave stories around our pain and discomfort it's not like this. Even when there is no physical pain we suffer in mind because of past thoughts about pain, the possible resulting financial situations and suffering because of this pain and desire not to have pain again.

So the issue is dealing with the pain, not ignoring it, and remaining even minded. I tell you this from personal experience that it is possible. Meditation practice is training to accept what is by lessening minds incessant need to name, define, describe, judge, like and dislike objects. By doing this We become more even minded in our everyday life. Our life may shift 360 degrees. After all, we know our world through this mind right? All things must pass through this mind via the senses.

So It makes sense that our change in attitude; in perception regarding the objects of our perception will also cause a shift in our lives. We know the pain as pain and stop weaving stories around it. It is those stories that cause the perceived problems.

Even when that pain is debilitating If we are even minded, our body may not function as it use to but our mind can be at peace about this situation. Our functionality may be reduced but we can still live a good life. Living a good life is mental not physical. We could be in perfect health with an apparently endless supply of money flowing from our pockets and still be miserable. We don't have to live miserably. Misery is a choice. That misery is not caused by issues in the body. They are caused by the epic tales we weave around those issues; the resulting pain and Our life as a whole.

DhammaDragonBunkspegembarammodantepw

Comments

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    The Buddha talked about the two arrows: the first one being the anguish inflicted by dukkha, and the second, the anguish inflicted by oneself for not accepting dukkha.

    Acceptance, choosing to dwell in equanimity no matter which direction the wind blows, is to me the key of the Buddhadharma corpus.

    Tony_A_Simien
  • NeleNele Veteran

    Do you feel there is a difference between using meditation to deal with physical pain (illness, dying, physical addiction) versus using it to deal with mental anguish, of any sort? Are there different techniques? Could one be easier to "accept" using meditation, than the other?

    Tony_A_Simien
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Nele said:
    Do you feel there is a difference between using meditation to deal with physical pain (illness, dying, physical addiction) versus using it to deal with mental anguish, of any sort? Are there different techniques? Could one be easier to "accept" using meditation, than the other?

    Very good question.

    Continuous Meditation practice eventually leads to acceptance. That is acceptance of ALL physical and mental conditions.

    We all have issues which are superficial And some deeply rooted. The superficial is the first to go. Then we work on those issues which has deeply scarred our consciousness. They of course take the longest.

    So whatever method one chooses; if it feels right for you; whichever the mind is attracted to; this is the one you choose. If mind has great distaste for it then it's not for you.

    Simply do your best. It takes much effort continuously in the beginning before one notices any results. Don't give in to mind's desire to quit. You will eventually see results.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited June 2015

    All things naturally exist without name, definition or description. We attach names, definitions and descriptions to them. We, because of a need to communicate about our world have defined all which appears in it.

    That is how some would define nama and rupa.
    Rupa is appearance and nama is naming or labelling.

    There are appearances and then naming. Things are constructed from the sense experience and then given names. Eg. Is a bell real?

    Deny the reality of things
    and you miss their reality;
    assert the emptiness of things
    and you miss their reality.
    The more you talk and think about it
    the further you wander from the truth.
    So cease attachment to talking and thinking,
    and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

    To return to the root is to find the essence,
    but to pursue appearances or "enlightenment" is to miss the source.
    To awaken even for a moment
    is to go beyond appearance and emptiness.

    Changes that seem to occur in the empty world
    we make real only because of our ignorance.

    Hsin Hsin Ming

    Tony_A_Simienlobster
  • @pegembara

    Yes exactly.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Tormented x 2

    You are using and advocating one pointed concentration for physical pain relief?

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @lobster

    One could say that when there is no mind everything has one taste. So in those terms yes there is one pointedness during daily life.

    As far As pain relief, there is physical pain happening with the body. My job keeps me constantly walking and standing 8 out of the 9 hours I'm at work. The pain is there but it doesn't trouble me. Most times There is no recognition of it being there. I don't suffer because of it. It doesn't disturb me. I am fully aware of it but it's just another sensation. Sometimes very intense sensations. But It's nothing life threatening.

    I don't advocate or use meditation for pain. Pain relief happened as a result of my meditation practice. My interest in spirituality started out as an interest in the martial arts. Or more specifically the authentic techniques used to cultivate the power behind the moves; One's chi. I'm not a martial artist by the way. But my discovery of chi or prana (by literally feeling and directing it through the body; sometimes it felt like my entire body was on fire; a cool fire) made me realize there was something real about meditation. So because my experiences were concrete and not just wishful thinking or my imagination I dedicated my life to it. And here I am 5 years later.

    lobster
  • @pegembara said:Is a bell real?

    If a bell falls on your head does it hurt?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^^ You had a head?! You were lucky ...

  • We could only dream of bells.... ;)

  • PöljäPöljä Veteran
    edited June 2015

    A quantum physicist may say there's a bell when you are observing it. In fact, a few secs later you may remember wrong it was a bell although it was a pot that hit your head. Pot -> misinterpretation of reality. Better live in the very moment and not to worry the hazy past.

  • TNH invented the mindfulness bell, but whether that resulted from being hit by a bell I'm not sure. ;)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Saved by the bell :3

    Must behave.

    This here Buddhism is very, very, VERY serious [thus have I heard] :p

  • PöljäPöljä Veteran

    I have chronic pains (i.e. seriously injured knee) I normally don't notice. If I start to observing them I feel them for sure. Haven't taken any sort of strong painkillers for years.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Pöljä does that mean you sit in a chair to meditate or or otherwise effect your practice?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @pegembara said:
    is the bell real?

    Of course the bell is real. It's just not really a bell.

    pegembara
  • @ourself said:It's just not really a bell.

    What is it then?

  • PöljäPöljä Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Pöljä does that mean you sit in a chair to meditate or or otherwise effect your practice?

    Thanks for asking!

    My personality is very introvert - so much it could be described as belonging to the autistic spectrum (AS). One of my sons (3 + 1) is much more autistic than me, because he cannot survive from the everyday duties without the help of others.

    I don't need to sit in a chair to be... focused and "alienated" from the fuss and noise around me, although I do like sitting a lot in my garden (I'm divorced). I have my own world of miracles and painful regrets. And now, in my middle-aged years, I'm perhaps thinking too much humanity, science, philosophies and religions!

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    What is it then?

    It's something we've made out of metal and wood, shaped in such a way as to produce certain soundwaves when jostled.

    We call it a bell for convenience.

    Tony_A_Simienpegembara
  • Interesting. I used to get terrible, incapacitating migraine headaches with full blown dry heaves, etc. Started when I was a teenager. Never figured out what would set them off, food or stress or whatever. I'd wake in the morning with a bit of headache and know by the end of the day, no matter what, I would be hugging the toilet while my head felt like it was exploding. Happened sometimes several times in same week and then not for another few months.

    When I started meditating, the attacks gradually came less frequently until one day I realized it had been a year or so since the last one. Now it's been maybe twenty years so I think it's safe to say those are thankfully a thing of the past.

    Maybe the meditation helped cure whatever was going on, or maybe I just outgrew them. I'm just glad it's pain I don't have to deal with anymore.

    Tony_A_SimienlobsterDavidHamsaka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    But my discovery of chi or prana (by literally feeling and directing it through the body; sometimes it felt like my entire body was on fire; a cool fire) made me realize there was something real about meditation.

    OK thanks for telling us. <3 'Cool fire' tends to always be present.
    Imagination when directed is a wonderful thing. Whether it has anything to do with Buddhist meditation is another thing ...

    So because my experiences were concrete and not just wishful thinking or my imagination I dedicated my life to it. And here I am 5 years later.

    Indeed. No doubt. You might question the concrete. No doubt we will be hearing about 'chakras' shortly ...
    Where will you be five or ten years from now if anywhere?

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:

    No, it's a hard thing that makes sounds? When hard things ie. Earth element falls on your head, another hard thing, will it hurt?

    While sitting and doing meditation on elements ( earth, water, fire, wind), something fell on your head you would feel it. If you don't see, hear or feel/touch that object you cannot say a "bell" fell on your head. You experience a sensation that arises and passes - not the story of a bell dropping on your head!

    You are sitting peacefully observing your breath.
    If you received a message telling you that someone you loved had died, would you be emotionally affected? Later you received another message telling you it was all a mistake, would you feel it? Just some sound vibrations enter your ear and you get transported to heaven and hell.

    How is it that you can be affected when nothing actually happened in reality right here and right now? Ain't it strange, this? Most people would not find this behaviour "abnomal" though.

    Ajahn Chah would say don't cry at funerals. If you want to cry, do so at births because with birth as condition comes death. They are 2 sides of the same coin.

    Empty things can cause hurt if you don't know their true nature!

    Tony_A_Simien
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @lobster

    No doubt we will be hearing about.
    'chakras' shortly ...

    I don't play with chakras. That's not necessary for me. Mind is the source of perceived suffering. Therefore focus on Mind is the priority.

    Imagination when directed is a
    wonderful thing.

    Because it may not be in one's experience, does not mean it isn't so. Because one may only be able to imagine it, does not mean it isn't a physical reality for another.

    Whether it has anything to do with
    Buddhist meditation is another thing ...

    As far as mental development all traditions and methods are valid. Buddhism, Advaita, Taoism they are merely terms. What is most important is their function. Which is no different than Buddhism. The aim is discovery of one's True nature (Buddhism), The Self (Advaita) or Original Spirit (Taoism). The differences are only superficial. The language used to express the same views are different; their rituals and ceremonies are cultural, that is all. Even some aspects of Buddhism are different depending upon the culture. But the heart of their meditative practices is the same. Discovery of our True Self.

    Now if the owners or moderators of this forum; wish me to restrict my discussions to Buddhist related methods please say so. I have no wish to offend; or break any community rules.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    go ahead, no problem. If anything jars, we'll address it as pertinent.
    sofa sogud.... ;)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Tony_A_Simien said:
    Because it may not be in one's experience, does not mean it isn't so.

    LOL
    Nor does experiencing internal energies, demons or thoughts make them 'real'.

    Discovery of our True Self.

    :)
    There is no self in Dharma. True or not. Energy movement is of no more significance than arising thoughts or burping.

    I find no fault in what you say. You have integrity and genuine and useful insight. [pardon me ... must be something I ate ...]

    Tony_A_Simien
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Lobster

    Energy movement is of no more significance than arising thoughts or burping.

    Really, if It were not for that insignificant energy one's body would be dead.

    lobster
  • @ourself said:

    Sure, "bell" is a label, but there is something to label.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Really, if It were not for that insignificant energy one's body would be dead.

    Indeed. What of it. :p

    ... and now back to the burping ... and other insignificant arisings ... o:)

    So you should view this fleeting world --
    A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
    A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
    A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

    http://buddhism.about.com/od/theprajnaparamitasutra/a/A-Bubble-In-A-Stream.htm

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    Hello @Tony_A_Simien ! Nice article and welcome to the community! :)

    I've noticed myself how thinking always affected my physical pain even before I was a buddhist or had any clue what meditation was.

    Because of high anxiety levels, I'd have stomach aches every single day when in school. Seeing all those groups of people which I didn't really wanted to join & subjects I didn't really wanted to learn always made me suffer mentally, and this suffering was converted to physical sensations (stomach aches).

    They used to be so strong I would have to go back home sometimes and spend long minutes in agony. One day the pain was really hard to bear and I took my shirt off and put it on my head, for some reason. When it was all dark, the surrounding sounds were decreased and so the overall lightning. All I could actually focus was on my breath and physical sensations.

    And then, when that was my focus, the pain would gently start vanishing. But well, once I took the shirt off the thoughts would come back: "how long will this pain endure? What if people are worried about me? Will I have to go through this every single day in my life?" and then the pain would increase as well.

    Nicely noticed! :)

  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @dantepw said:
    Hello Tony_A_Simien ! Nice article and welcome to the community! :)

    Thank you for the welcome and Thank you for sharing.

    lobster
  • Aloha and mahalo Tony_A_Simien. It is an interesting string - plucked here and there by the usual crew - a good presentation.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Sure, "bell" is a label, but there is something to label.

    You will get no argument from me there.

  • @pegembara said:You experience a sensation that arises and passes - not the story of a bell dropping on your head!

    It still hurts though. The story is optional. Same with dropping a "brick" on your "foot", it hurts regardless of whether you apply the labels.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited June 2015

    Heck, most times we don't see it coming before it hits us so labeling comes after the fact.

    If I have time to label a brick, I have time to try to block it at least.

    Earthninja
  • @Lionduck

    Aloha and you're welcome.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    It still hurts though. The story is optional. Same with dropping a "brick" on your "foot", it hurts regardless of whether you apply the labels.

    You know the story of 2 arrows. Pain may well be inevitable but suffering as a result is optional.

    Which type of suffering do you suppose the 1st Noble Truth refers to?

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