One type of meditation that is being recognized by the medical community as a helpful tool in pain management is mindfulness meditation. This technique teaches you how to identify the pain as a distinct entity from you that you are then able to ignore. People suffering from chronic pain conditions are using this meditation as a way to gain some relief. Here is what you need to know about this technique and how it can help you.
Putting the Pain in Its Place
The key to this meditation is to make the pain become an independent part of you from which you can detach. Once you're in the state of being able to see the pain as separate from you, it can be made to have no influence over you. As with all meditation techniques, this takes practice.
Exercise in Separation
- Find a quiet place in which to spend a few minutes doing this exercise.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Become aware of some experience your body is now having. Perhaps you can hear a fan blowing. Or you can feel a cool draft on your arm.
- Focus on that sensation for a few minutes.
- Come up with some adjectives with which you would describe the sensation. Include a variety of physical characteristics such as size, shape, color an texture. There are no wrong ways to describe a sensation. Whatever feels right to you is what is correct.
- For example, you feel the breeze of the ceiling fan on the top of your head. You describe the sensation as a yellow sphere about the size of basketball with a soft exterior that vibrates slightly when you touch it.
You have now described the sensation as a physical object, distinct from you, and you can now manipulate that structure.
Detaching from the Sensation
- Now visualize the object that you've described.
- See it clearly as the object with the characteristics you've given to it.
- Imagine yourself sending the object away from you with the knowledge that as it gets further away, your sense of it becomes less.
- First, send the object away a few feet, stop and evaluate your sense of it.
- Send it out a little further and evaluate your sense of it again.
- Continue this until you no longer have any sensation of the object, in the example, the ceiling fan blowing on your head.
Mindfulness Meditation and Pain Management
When you can describe the pain in this way, you can send it away, become detached from it, and reduce your sensation of it at all. The pain has not gone away, but your body no longer reacts to it. If you have a chronic pain condition, such as lower back pain, do this exercise to find how far you must send the object away to gain relief from the pain. From then on, when the pain flares up, you can do your meditation and immediately send the pain off to the distance where it no longer affects you.