“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
No body wants to be in pain. Having sprained my right knee twice and tearing my shoulder ligament is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It hurt.
The mind makes it worse. It adds negative perception about the pain, which just amplifies the pain.
During my injuries, I became a pessimistic dud. I could not compete in a marathon, go to the gym or meditate. I sat in my bed all day long rotting away. I felt a burden to my family and friends.
All these feelings were unraveling inside my mind. The feelings of “being useless”, “rotting away” or “lazy” were all made up. My mind was making up excuses not to do certain things. Just because I had a knee sprain did not mean I could not workout my upper body. I started to realize how the injury started to plague my mind.
Pain and Mind
The conscious mind develops perception of pain based on experience. This also determines the level of tolerance a person might have when they break their arm or leg. Take a look at any UFC fighter or football player. They constantly get injured but keep playing the game. Kobe Bryant is known for playing basketball through all his injuries. How does he while other players rest?
It’s because he’s constantly been working through the pain. Brock Lesner has taken many punches in UFC but still perseveres through. It’s because his perception of pain is much different from others. I would love to get a little dose of his perception.
Meditation to melt the pain
Researchers examined how 15 volunteers would react to pain by monitoring their brain. The volunteers were prodded with different temperatures. The subjects felt 57% less unpleasant and 40% less intense while meditation.
The volunteers were given 20-minute sessions in mindful meditation. It was a brief form of meditation the researches wanted to test against. The mindful meditation taught shows the subjects how to stay focused on the breath while other things are happening.
The pain points
There are many pain points in our daily lives. It could be stress, family or injuries (emotional or physical). The problem is that these pain points become the center of our universe. The ego thrives off these injuries.
One thing about injuries is that, they always heal. In time everything does. There is no need to focus your entire energy or efforts on pain. Extract away from the pain and focus on the present moment.
Mindful Meditation made easy
It doesn’t have to be difficult. It should be easy and peaceful. Do not set your mind on how long it should be. Start with 5 minutes then move to longer times.
- Sit in a comfortable area.
- Cross your legs and close your eyes.
- Keep your back straight and head erect. You can use a wall for support.
- Inhale deep into your stomach and exhale out through the mouth.
- Hold the inhalation for a count of 3 and exhale.
Thoughts are a part of meditation. Some people get distracted by them and think “Meditation is not working”. Meditation is always working. It is not about neglecting your thoughts but working with them. Do not get attached to them in any way. Just let them be. Like observing a soaring eagle in the sky.
Just observe and let it go.